IVF has grown increasingly popular over the past decade with the advancements in medical technology. It has given many couples hope in having a baby to complete their family. Although the term IVF is used so often, what is it and how does it work?
IVF is the abbreviation for In Vitro Fertilisation. What that means is that the process takes place in a laboratory. The term In Vitro is Latin and means In Glass. A fertility specialist will unite an egg with sperm using specific techniques in a glass container or rather a dish. The popular phrase ‘test tube’ baby comes from this process, although it is a slightly skewed description. Thereafter, the embryos are transferred into the uterus. IVF was first successfully used in 1978 and since then thousands of babies have been born via this fertility treatment.
It may be a popular fertility treatment but it is only suitable for certain people. The factors that may deem IVF possible would be the following:
- Where a woman has tubal problems and her fallopian tubes are blocked. In such a case the sperm cannot travel to the uterus so intervention is required to make pregnancy possible.
- Where a man has a low sperm count or he has problems with sperm motility and the sperm is unable to travel through the fallopian tubes. The sperm has to be removed and placed with the egg via IVF to make pregnancy possible.
- Severe endometriosis can affect the fertilisation of the egg. It can also affect the implantation of the embryo in the uterus so these steps need to be controlled with a fertility treatment.
- Many women have ovarian issues which prevent the eggs from being released so the eggs need to be extracted in order to pair with the sperm.
- Fibroid tumours and an abnormally shaped uterus certainly affect fertility so IVF can be considered in such cases.
- Conditions where infertility is inexplicable may also warrant IVF as a relevant option for couples.
Once the problem has been identified and you wish to proceed with IVF, these are the stages.
- Ovulation induction is the first step in this process.
- Next, the egg is retrieved.
- Embryo culture and fertilisation is the next step.
- Then finally, the embryo is transferred.
IVF is quite a personal and in-depth medically advanced process, and it has shown to be quite effective for couples who want to have a baby.