day by day explanation of IVF

In vitro fertilization is reproductive technology that combines an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. After that the embryo is implanted into the woman’s womb. It is used to treat infertility in women with damaged fallopian tubes, ovulation disorders, fibroid tumors and genetic disorders. It can be used to  treat low sperm count in men and  endometriosis. Often it is a procedure that couple try after attempting other methods.

Steps Involved In the Process of IVF

There are six steps involved in IVF.  One of the first is to meet with the doctor so they can run tests on you to determine the treatment procedure. Many  women start by taking birth control pill sand hormones for several days.

The second step is to develop healthy eggs in the ovary. This is done often by the doctor prescribing fertility drugs.  These drugs will produce many eggs some of which can be fertilized. An ultrasound is used to examine the ovaries and a blood test is used to test hormone levels. Most hormones are delivered by injection. During this phase you often go to the doctor six to eight times for testing using the ultrasound and blood work.

The fertility clinic strives to work with your natural menstrual cycle. The ovary stimulation process often takes about 8 to 12 days. The entire IVF process takes about 4 weeks or five. Before your eggs are removed they may do a mock embryo transfer to prepare you for the process.

When the eggs are ready you are given a trigger shot. The doctor decides on when the follicles and level of hormones are right to remove the eggs. The eggs are removed using an ultrasound to guide a needle to the pelvic area to get the eggs. Medications are given to reduce the pain of removing the eggs. The eggs must be removed at the right time to be useful. The operation lasts an hour or less.

The male is asked to produce sperm sample that is combined in the laboratory dish with the eggs. They are mixed together and stored in the laboratory. This process is called insemination. You and your partner may have to wait five days before the embryo is implanted in the uterus.

In some cases sperm is injected directly into the egg to achieve fertilization. The eggs are monitored to make sure it was successful. When this occurs they are considered embryos. The embryo usually is transferred into the uterus about three to five days after fertilization. It is done by inserting a small tube or cather into your vagina, cervix, and uterus where the embryo will be deposited. It is transferred using a puff of air and using a guided image monitor.

Often they transplant more than one embryo at a time to ensure success. After the procedure you will stay in bed and be discharged about six hours later. They will perform a pregnancy test on you about two weeks after the embryo transfer to find out if it was successful.

Risks Associated With IVF

Some women experience mild cramping but the procedure is not that painful.  Some of the side effects might be passing fluid, cramping, bloating, constipation, and breast tenderness.  Egg retrieval carries the risk of infection to bladder and bowels. Fertility drugs sometimes produce multiple pregnancies. It takes a certain emotional, financial and personal risk by the couple. When it is unsuccessful it causes stress and emotional pain .

It is expensive and many insurance plans do not cover it. The cost for a single IVF cycle can range from $12,000 to$ 17,000. Any embryos not used can be frozen and used if you want to get the treatment a second time. A woman under 35 has a greater chance of having a baby than a women over 40.

After Embryo Transfer

You will be told not to do any heavy lifting or strenuous physical activity. You should not swim, used a bathtub, tampons, or douching. You often can return to work after the procedure as long as it is not very physical. When the embryo implants itself successfully there is sometimes mild spotting or bleeding or minor cramping.  Another sign is a missed period.

The breasts might become tender and swollen, the feet sore, and rise in hormones could cause headaches. Some women feel tired another sign the implant is successful. Some women have no signs until they take the pregnancy test two weeks later.

IVF treatments are not the most popular with couples. A fertility specialist can help you decide if this treatment is right for you. Some insurance plans pay for part of the treatment but not the entire process. Your doctor can help discuss the insurance and payment plans. For many couples this method had worked successfully helping them to have a child when they had lost hope. 

By Joan Russell

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