IVF Treatment

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure made famous with the 1978 birth of Louise Brown, the world’s first “test tube baby.” This type of assisted reproductive technique is often used when a woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked or when a man has low sperm counts.

IVF is a complex clinical procedure that helps to achieve conception by treating the existing infertility or genetic problems.

IVF is a time-consuming, costly and an invasive procedure, which takes around 2 weeks for the completion of a single fertilization cycle.

Indications for IVF

The most common indications for IVF include:

  • Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes

  • Ovulation problems

  • Premature ovarian failure (loss of normal function of your ovaries before the age of 40)

  • Severe Endometriosis (presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterus)

  • Presence of uterine fibroids  (benign tumors in the wall of the uterus)

  • Male factor infertility, including low sperm count and low sperm motility

  • Presence of a genetic disorder

  • To preserve fertility for patients with cancer or other health conditions

  • Unexplained infertility

IVF Procedure Stages

The stages involved in IVF treatment are:

Ovulation Monitoring

  • You will be monitored for signs of ovulation (release of an egg).

Ovulation Induction:

  • Dr Alexander may also ask you to take medication to stimulate the ovaries and improve egg production and chances of pregnancy.

  • The doctor may administer fertility drugs to boost the production of your eggs.  

  • UIs are usually performed a day or two after ovulation is identified.

Egg retrieval:

  • During the procedure you will lie on an examination table. A hormone called human gonadotropin hormone is injected to release the eggs.

  • Your doctor will perform a follicular aspiration, a minor surgical procedure to remove the eggs from your ovaries.  

  • A probe is inserted through the vagina and into the follicles under ultrasound guidance.  

  • Each follicle in the ovary is pierced in order to retrieve the egg.

Semen is collected

  • Semen is collected from your partner at the clinic.

  • The sperm sample is washed to select only the best sperm that look normal and highly active, from the low quality sperm.

  • There are higher chances of conceiving if a highly concentrated sample of healthy sperm is used.

Egg Fertilization:

  • The mature eggs are placed in a culture dish with the man’s sperm

  • The eggs are mixed with the sperm in an environmentally controlled chamber to facilitate the process of insemination.

  • After about 40 hours, the eggs are examined to see if they have become fertilized by the sperm and are dividing into cells.

Embryo Culture:

  • Division of the fertilized egg forms an embryo.

  • The development of the embryo is monitored and within 5 days, a normal embryo has several actively dividing cells.

Embryo Transfer:

  • Embryo transfer is performed 3 to 5 days after egg retrieval and fertilization.

  • A thin tube containing one or more embryos is inserted into the vagina through the cervix and into the uterus.  

  • After transfer, if an embryo attaches or sticks to the womb lining, pregnancy is the result.

  • The egg is fertilized a few hours after insemination.

If the chance of fertilization is low, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be used where the sperm is directly injected into the egg.