The Impact of IVF
In-vitro fertilization is one of several methods used to promote pregnancy for people who are unable to conceive naturally. It is a major treatment in infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have been ineffective. In our article What is IVF? we go into greater detail in order for you to understand the process better.
IVF entails life changes for all concerned as the impact of the stress of IVF can take a toll on a couple. Men deal with IVF differently than women do, so it is important that both members of the couple prepare for IVF adequately. Discover some of the side effects of IVF, how to deal with the depression that can be associated with IVF as well as ways to alleviate the stress that inevitably happens.
How IVF Works
The process of IVF involves many aspects, beginning with preparation and going on from there. The woman's egg must be retrieved, or, in the case of GIFT, ZIFT, or TET, the man's sperm must be retrieved. In the IVF process, egg retrieval allows for fertilization of several eggs, some of which can be frozen and transferred at a later time. Embryo storage means that if the first attempt at IVF failed and a couple wants to try IVF again, then there are enough embryos to allow for another try. Often, a second attempt at IVF is successful.
The embryo culture is grown and then the timing of transfer is determined. Today, ART centers believe that keeping the embryo culture until day five allows for a better chance at conception as embryo development has progressed more. However, there are various times when transfers can take place. Blastocyst transfer is often done soon after the culture is established. Learn more about the timetable of transfers in this section.
In order to ensure a successful transfer, embryo selection is performed to determine the strongest and healthiest embryos to transfer. Sometimes the reproduction center will assist hatching to be sure the egg is well on the way to becoming a baby. Improving IVF methods have gone a long way to enabling couples to have the best experience possible.
IVF Reproductive Technology
As reproductive technology advances, procedures and thinking that was used in the past has made way for a different tact. At one time many embryos were transferred to ensure at least one live birth, however the incidence of multiples, sometimes as high as octuplets resulting from IVF transfers has encouraged the fine tuning of some procedures. Transferring four or six embryos does increase the chance of conception, but in reality it is possible that all of the embryos could implant, increasing chances of complications. The question becomes: What happens with the remaining embryos?
Read about processes used to retrieve sperm, allowing for men who are otherwise infertile to produce progeny. For instance, in ICSI, a single sperm is taken from the man and injected directly into the egg to achieve fertilization. The use of cryopreservation (flash freezing) to preserve embryos has resulted in frozen embryo transfers that are often stronger and healthier than embryos that are fresh. It is possible to keep the remaining embryos frozen for the future.
The technology in IVF is present to check for genetic diseases and with today's technology it is now possible to do early gender testing to determine the sex of the baby.
Screening tests help to ensure that all is well with the embryo. Although embryo selection may mean there are fewer embryos to transfer, the screening helps to ensure that the fittest are the ones that are used.
Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT) are two procedures that are related to, yet also alternatives to IVF. Read about the similarities and differences in the articles in this section.
We hope you will have many of your questions answered and concerns assuaged as you read and learn about IVF.