In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a form of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), when special medical techniques are used to help a woman become pregnant. In vitro fertilization (IVF) means fertilization outside of the body. It has been successfully used since 1978.
There are five basic steps to IVF:
Step 1: Stimulation, also called super ovulation
Step 2: Egg retrieval
Step 3: Insemination and Fertilization
Step 4: Embryo culture
Step 5: Embryo transfer
IVF may be used to solve female infertility problems when used in conjunction with her natural menstrual cycle or be employed in a surrogacy process using donor eggs and sperm donation. IVF is used to overcome various causes of infertility, including: advanced age of the woman; damaged or blocked fallopian tubes (caused by pelvic inflammatory disease or prior surgery); male factor infertility, including decreased sperm count and blockage; endometriosis; unexplained infertility
IVF requires a considerable physical, emotional, financial, and time commitment. Woman taking fertility medicines may experience side effects (bloating, mood swings, headaches, abdominal pain). Repeated injections of IVF medicines may cause bruising. In rare cases, fertility drugs may cause Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS). This condition causes fluid retention in the abdomen and chest.
Egg retrieval may carry risk for the following: reactions to anesthesia, bleeding, infection and damage to structures surrounding the ovaries.
There is a risk of multiple pregnancies when more than one embryo is placed into the womb. Carrying more than one baby at a time increases the risk of premature birth and low birth weight.