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In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In-Vitro Fertilization

Conception of child is the basic function of female body and any complication leading to inability to conceive can result in infertility and lack of children in a relationship. Infection of semen or egg, a minor or major birth defect can cause infertility that is equally divided between men and women.

Though azospermia (no sperm cell produced) and oligospermia (few sperm cells produced) are most common causes of male infertility,  defective, weak or infected sperm cells that die before reaching the female egg and genetic problems like cystic fibrosis or chromosomal abnormalities, can also result in infertility.

Ovulation disorder, blocked fallopian tubes from pelvic inflammatory disorders or endometriosis can result in female infertility along with miscarriages from birth defects in female reproductive system leading to repeated miscarriages, stress and serious fall or heavy weight lifting during pregnancy.

Any couple unable to conceive or achieve pregnancy after six months to one year of unprotected intercourse can be diagnosed being infertile and would need medical help where both the partners are examined to diagnose any physical disorder. If needed, more tests can be performed that can include semen analysis x-ray of fallopian tube and uterus, laparoscopy etc. Once the cause of infertility is diagnosed, 90% of the cases can be treated with conventional medicines or minor surgical procedures.

What is IVF Procedure (In vitro fertilization)?

With development of latest technologies, infertility is no more a curse and one can have their own biological child through assisted medical reproduction process like In-vitro fertilization (IVF) commonly called as test tube baby, where the ovum removed from ovary is mixed with sperms in a laboratory dish and then after 40-45 hours, the fertilized eggs (embryo) are examined and transferred into woman’s uterus.

Though there is no specific age limit, couples under 35 years trying to conceive after unprotected sex for more than six months without desired results due to sperm related problems or counts, ovulation disorders, blocked/ damaged fallopian tubes, endometriosis, etc. are ideal candidates for the procedure. 

Performed under local anesthesia, and mostly an outpatient procedure, there are five steps involved with IVF included: observing ripening of eggs, collecting eggs, getting sperm, keeping eggs and sperm together at appropriate conditions for fertilization and embryo formation and transfer of embryos into the uterus. For collecting quality eggs and timing the process for increased chances of collection, fertility drugs are prescribed. Blood urine hormone levels are tested and ultrasound performed to check egg development before egg retrieval.

Egg Retrieval & Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

At a perfect time when it is not too early or too late, where the eggs are ripe and ready, ultra sound guided trans-vaginal procedure is performed, where eggs are removed from ovaries (follicular aspiration) with a hollow needle. These eggs are kept in sperm incubators where they are checked at regular intervals for fertilization and cell division and embryo formation.

Sometimes, to enhance fertilization phase, Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is performed where a single sperm is carefully injected into a mature egg. The embryo is then transferred into uterus and after a resting phase, blood tests and ultra sounds are performed to confirm possible pregnancy. Remaining good embryos are frozen for future use, or if embryo transfers fail and the person did not become pregnant on initial cycle or for future pregnancies.

For the IVF process to be successful, each step needs to be performed with utmost care and success and see that the couple gets the right treatment at the right time. For this to happen, the couple should come forward and discuss their problem without any apprehension.

IVF in India

Though IVF has been in effect since 25 years in western countries, it has brought hope to thousands of couples in India, yearning for their own biological child, from last 15 years. With growing infertility cases in India and growing number of people coming for infertility tourism to India, for its low cost (40-80% less expensive than in U.S), the country has become a favored destination for the same (http://healthcare.financialexpress.com/201112/market01.shtml).

Many centers in India that deal with Endoscopic & IVF are well equipped and are members of  a world body called Accreditation Council of Gynecological Endoscopy, supported by American Association of Gynecological Laparoscopists.