What is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?
Obstetrics and Gynecology

What is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?

    In vitro fertilization (IVF), widely used in the field of medicine, is a reproductive technology developed to assist couples experiencing difficulties in conceiving naturally. The procedure begins by stimulating and collecting matured eggs from the woman's ovaries using special medications. Next, the man's sperm is collected and the highest quality sperm cells are selected in a laboratory setting. These selected sperm cells are then combined with the eggs, and fertilization takes place in the laboratory. Subsequently, the fertilized embryos are cultured in the laboratory for several days, and the healthiest embryos are transferred into the uterus. After this stage, the embryo is expected to implant in the uterus, and the process of pregnancy begins. IVF represents a significant ray of hope for couples with a low chance of conceiving naturally.

    Stages of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Treatment

    IVF treatment involves a series of stages in a complex process. Here are the basic steps involved in IVF treatment:

    1. Ovarian Stimulation: In this stage, the woman's ovaries are stimulated with special medications called gonadotropins to produce more eggs. The condition of the ovaries is monitored through ultrasound imaging and blood tests.
    2. Egg Retrieval (Oocyte Aspiration): Following ovarian stimulation, a surgical procedure is performed to retrieve the matured eggs. This procedure is usually conducted under ultrasound guidance, where a needle is used to collect the eggs from the ovaries.
    3. Preparation of Sperm Sample: A sperm sample is obtained from the male partner and prepared in a laboratory setting. The sperm sample may be collected from semen or directly from the testis or epididymis. The sperm sample undergoes special processes to select the best quality sperm cells.
    4. Fertilization (In Vitro Fertilization): The collected eggs are combined with the prepared sperm sample in a laboratory environment. Fertilization is the process of artificially facilitating the union of sperm and eggs, mimicking natural conception. Embryos are formed as a result of the eggs being fertilized by the sperm.
    5. Embryo Development: After fertilization, the embryos continue to develop in the laboratory for several days. The division and development of the embryos are closely monitored.
    6. Embryo Transfer: The healthiest and most viable embryos are selected for transfer into the uterus. Embryo transfer is usually performed using a catheter, and the embryos are placed into the uterine cavity. The transfer aims for the embryos to attach to the uterine lining, initiating the pregnancy process.
    7. Pregnancy Test: A few weeks after the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test is conducted to determine if conception has occurred. This test can be a blood test or a urine test to detect the presence of pregnancy hormones.

    These stages generally encompass the core processes of IVF treatment. However, it's important to note that each couple's treatment journey can vary.

    What is the Success Rate in IVF Treatment?

    The success rate in IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) treatments varies depending on several factors and can differ for each couple. Success rates are influenced by factors such as the experience of the fertility clinic, the age of the couple, the quality of eggs and sperm, the number of embryos transferred, uterine conditions, and other medical factors.

    Generally, IVF success rates have been increasing worldwide. Couples at a younger age may have a higher chance of success with the treatment. On average, the success rate for each IVF cycle can range from approximately 30% to 50%. However, this rate can vary depending on the stages of the treatment, the characteristics of the couple, and the techniques used.

    Factors Affecting IVF Success Rates

    Several factors can influence the success rate of IVF treatments, and some of the most significant ones include:

    1. Woman's Age: The woman's age has a significant impact on the success of IVF treatment. Younger women generally have higher success rates because their ovarian reserve is higher, and egg quality is better. As women age, their ovarian reserve declines, and the quality of eggs may decrease, affecting treatment success.
    2. Male Sperm Quality: The quantity, motility, and morphology (shape) of the male's sperm also play a crucial role in IVF success. Poor sperm quality can lead to difficulties in the fertilization process.
    3. Egg Quality and Quantity: The quality and quantity of the woman's eggs used in IVF are of great importance. Higher quality and a greater number of eggs can lead to better fertilization and embryo development results.
    4. Timing of Embryo Transfer: The timing of embryo transfer is essential for a successful IVF treatment. The transfer should be done at the most suitable stage of embryo development.
    5. Embryo Quality: The quality of embryos significantly affects treatment success. Transferring healthy and well-developed embryos can increase the chances of pregnancy.
    6. Uterine Conditions: The conditions of the uterus are important for embryo implantation and successful pregnancy. A normal uterine structure without any abnormalities can influence treatment success.
    7. Fertility Clinic and Experience: IVF success rates are also related to the experience and technological capabilities of the fertility clinic. Treatments performed by experienced and skilled teams generally have higher success rates.

    Besides these factors, an individual's and couple's overall health, weight, hormonal balance, chronic illnesses, and lifestyle factors can also affect treatment success. It's essential for couples to discuss their specific situation with a fertility specialist to understand their chances of success with IVF treatment.

    In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and Genetic Testing: Embryo Selection

    Genetic testing during In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment can play a crucial role in embryo selection. Here is some information about the genetic tests used in IVF and embryo selection:

    1. Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT): This test is used to determine the genetic status of embryos and facilitate the selection of healthy embryos for transfer. PGT allows couples to make more informed choices in selecting embryos in cases of carrying a risk of genetic diseases, chromosomal abnormalities, or recurring pregnancy losses.
    2. PGT-M (for Monogenic Diseases): This test aims to detect specific genetic diseases that one or both partners may carry. By doing so, healthy embryos can be chosen, and the transmission of genetic diseases from one generation to another can be prevented.
    3. PGT-A (for Chromosomal Abnormalities): This test evaluates the chromosomal structure of embryos, enabling the selection of embryos with a healthy chromosomal profile. PGT-A may be preferred in cases of advanced maternal age, recurring pregnancy losses, or repeated unsuccessful IVF attempts.

    The use of genetic testing allows for a more precise and informed approach to embryo selection, reducing the risk of genetic diseases and increasing the chances of a healthy pregnancy.

    Frequently Asked Questions About In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

    We have provided answers to some frequently asked questions about in vitro fertilization (IVF) that you may be curious about.

    What is the risk of miscarriage after conceiving through IVF?

    The risk of miscarriage for women who conceive through IVF may show a slight increase compared to those who conceive naturally, but this increase is generally small. The risk of miscarriage can vary depending on several factors, such as the woman's age, overall health, and embryo quality.

    Are IVF pregnancies risky?

    IVF pregnancies are generally considered to be slightly more at risk compared to pregnancies conceived naturally. However, IVF pregnancies usually progress safely, and there is a high chance of delivering a healthy baby.

    When can I return to work?

    The time to return to work after IVF treatment can vary depending on the specifics of the treatment, your individual recovery process, and your doctor's recommendations. Typically, women undergoing IVF treatment will need some rest and recovery time.

    The resting period after embryo transfer usually ranges from a few days to one week. During this time, your body is given time to adjust and accommodate the embryo that has been placed into your uterus. Your doctor will provide recommendations regarding the resting period after embryo transfer.

    The duration to return to work can also depend on how stressful or physically demanding your job is. For example, if you have an office job, you may be able to return to work a few days after the embryo transfer. However, if you have a more physically demanding job, your doctor may suggest a longer rest period.

    Do fibroids decrease the chance of pregnancy?

    Fibroids are tumors that develop within the uterus. The impact of fibroids on pregnancy chances depends on the size, location, and number of fibroids. In some cases, fibroids can affect pregnancy, while in other cases, they may have no impact on pregnancy. Some scenarios where fibroids may affect pregnancy chances include:

    1. Large Size: Large fibroids can occupy space within the uterus, which can hinder implantation and the embryo's ability to attach to the uterus. Additionally, large fibroids may disrupt the uterine cavity or affect the function of the fallopian tubes, making pregnancy more challenging.
    2. Location: The location of fibroids within the uterus can influence their effect on pregnancy. Fibroids located close to the uterine cavity or cervix may impact pregnancy.
    3. Number: The presence of multiple fibroids may affect pregnancy chances, especially if they occupy a significant portion of the uterine cavity or interfere with its normal function.

    However, in most cases, fibroids do not impact pregnancy, and many women with fibroids can have successful pregnancies.

    What is Infertility?

    Infertility is the inability of a couple to achieve pregnancy despite regular sexual intercourse. It is generally defined as the failure to conceive after one year of regular, unprotected intercourse. Infertility can affect both women and men and can arise due to various reasons.

    Infertility can be caused by several factors:

    1. Female Factors: Female infertility can be caused by ovulation disorders, blocked fallopian tubes, hormonal imbalances, abnormalities in the uterus, or conditions such as endometriosis.
    2. Male Factors: Male infertility can result from sperm production or quality issues, hormonal problems, blockages, or genetic factors.
    3. Mixed Factors: Infertility can sometimes be a combination of both female and male factors. For example, a woman's ovulation issue combined with a man's sperm quality problem can lead to infertility.
    4. Unknown Causes: In some cases, the cause of infertility cannot be identified and is classified as "unexplained infertility."

    Infertility can have emotional, physical, and social impacts on couples. When diagnosed with infertility, a medical evaluation is performed, and treatment options are discussed. Assisted reproductive techniques like in vitro fertilization (IVF) are among the methods used in infertility treatment.

    Do Hormone Medications Used During IVF Cause Weight Gain?

    Hormone medications used during IVF treatment have the potential to cause weight gain. However, the extent of weight gain can vary for each woman and may depend on individual responses to the treatment.

    These hormone medications stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs. They often cause hormonal changes in a woman's body. Hormonal changes can sometimes lead to increased appetite, water retention, or alterations in metabolism, which can result in weight gain.

    Nevertheless, the effect of hormone medications on weight gain is individualized and may differ from one woman to another. Some women may experience weight gain during the treatment, while others may not gain any weight or experience minimal changes.

    How Long Does IVF Treatment Take?

    The duration of IVF treatment can vary depending on the couple's specific situation and the treatment protocol used. Typically, the treatment process can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

    How Many Attempts of IVF Can Be Made?

    Generally, before starting IVF treatment, couples plan to undergo one or several treatment cycles. However, the number of attempts can vary depending on the success of each cycle and individual circumstances. Some couples may achieve success in one cycle, while others may require multiple attempts.

    IVF Treatment Cost in 2023

    The cost of IVF treatment can vary based on individual and couple health conditions, the tests required as per the treatment plan, and how many cycles may be needed. Without a doctor's examination, it is not possible to provide specific information. For detailed information, you can contact us directly.

    The content of the page is for informational purposes only, please consult your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.