The Fight for Fertility: An In-Depth Look at IVF

Infertility is more prevalent in modern society than we’d care to admit. Many men and women suffer from diagnosed and unexplained infertility. Thanks to medical advancements, there are many ways to work around the infertility problem. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one therapy available.

During the IVF process, doctors literally fertilize embryos. Each embryo is examined and tested to determine viability and the presence of any genetic irregularities. Thanks to these tests, clients can choose the embryo they want. Many reproductive fertility news and articles talk about new and bizarre ways to conceive, but IVF has scientifically backed data and a high success rate.

What Is IVF?

In vitro fertilization is a complex process employed on infertile patients to help achieve conception and prevent genetic problems during the conception of a child. If two people in a heterosexual relationship were seeking IVF, this is the process they would go through.

IVF for Women

Women going through IVF must undergo a therapy regimen involving drugs to stimulate follicle growth. The drugs are administered for one cycle, usually about 21 days. Once the follicles are ready, the doctor will retrieve the eggs surgically.

IVF for Men

During IVF, a man may be required to provide a semen sample. The doctor will perform tests for men suffering from infertility to ascertain the reason behind infertility. Assuming the issue was a clogged duct, this can be resolved, and the doctors can let nature take its cause. If possible, the doctor will extract sperm through a surgical procedure.

Once this part of the process is done, the fertility specialist chooses healthy-looking sperm to fertilize healthy eggs from the woman. Within the first few hours, the doctors can already tell which eggs have formed into embryos and which have not.

Genetic Testing

Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is a process where the fertilized embryos from IVF are examined for genetic mutations that may cause implantation failure. IVF is not only emotionally tasking, but it is also a costly affair because most health insurance policies do not cover IVF costs. For these reasons, most couples do not want to take chances. Genetic testing is the best way to increase the chances of implantation.

Doctors are usually looking for a missing or an extra chromosome in the embryo that may result in conditions like Down syndrome or sickle cell anemia. Because these parents may only get this one shot and conceive their child, choosing the most genetically sound embryo is logical. So what happens to embryos that have genetic irregularities? Scientists have shared optimism that these embryos will sometimes recognize the defective gene and prohibit it from multiplying, effectively solving the genetic irregularity. Simply put, there is a chance the embryo may heal itself.

IVF is one of the most scientifically backed fertility therapy in the market today. It gives the patients a higher chance of achieving conception using highly reliable medication and technology.

IVF FAQ

Is IVF affordable?

IVF is not a cheap process. In most cases, it can cost the client over $12,000 just to get one cycle. Any extra testing and procedures are paid for out of pocket. Most doctors will encourage patients to take IVF medication to increase the chances of getting many viable embryos for future use. While this is, of course, well meant, it increases the cost.

How long is the IVF process from start to finish?

The IVF process is different for every couple or patient. Some patients may only have an egg and acquire sperm from a sperm bank, while others may simply want IVF to eliminate the perpetuation of a defective gene in the next generation. However, IVF lasts two to four weeks for most patients, usually guided by the woman’s menstrual cycle.

Is IVF painful?

During the extraction of the eggs and sperm, your doctor will go to lengths to ensure you are comfortable and experiencing no discomfort. Patients do not describe the process as painful.

Does IVF leave scars?

IVF does not leave scars on women. It may leave bruising where the woman has to get injections to stimulate follicle growth. For men, if the sperm is extracted through surgery, a scar may be left behind, but it heals well and is barely visible.

Does IVF use cryopreservation?

Yes, after extraction and fertilization, embryos are cryopreserved for a time when the mother or surrogate is ready for implantation. To increase the chance of implantation, doctors and clients will opt to implant multiple embryos. This practice often leads to the birth of multiples.

Does donor sperm or eggs, or embryos change the IVF process?

No, the IVF process flows smoothly regardless of whose reproductive cells are used and who the eventual legal parents will be.