Being mentally ready to be parents and not being able to have a child can be extremely heartbreaking and frustrating for any couple. IVF test is now frequently done for such couples who are not able to conceive naturally. In India, about 8 million babies are born through IVF.Many couples have a lot of questions about IVF like
- How it is done,
- About the treatment procedure
- It’s cost
This article will cover all the basic information that couples require before they choose to go for the procedure. This will help couples make a more informed decision.
Table of Contents
Feel free to skip ahead if one topic catches your eye:
- What is IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation)?
- Who is the good candidate for IVF?
- What are the Main Causes of Infertility?
- What are the tests performed before undergoing IVF?
- What does the Procedure of IVF look like?
- How to prepare your body for IVF
- What are the Possible Risks Associated with IVF Treatment?
- What is the Cost of IVF Treatment in Gurgaon?
- What are the Alternatives of IVF?
1. What is IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation)?
The natural process of fertilization occurs between the sperm and the egg in the fallopian tubes of the female. The fertilization that occurs inside the body of the female is called In Vivo fertilization. But sometimes, this process can be hindered due to a variety of causes like blocked tubes, low sperm count in the semen of the male, etc.
For people suffering from any of these conditions, IVF is a very beneficial procedure. IVF or In Vitro Fertilisation is the fertilization of sperm and ovum that occurs outside the body of the female. During this process, the egg and the sperm are taken from the woman and the man respectively and are made to fuse in a petri dish in the laboratory. Thus, fertilization occurs outside the body of the female.
After fertilization, the resulting zygote is allowed to grow for some time to form an embryo. This embryo is then implanted in the woman’s uterus for further development. If the woman can not provide a contented environment to the embryo, a surrogate mother can also be used for implantation.
2.Who is the good candidate for IVF?
The couple who face problems in conceiving a baby need to undergo a lot of tests to determine the cause of infertility. If the initial treatment of infertility does not yield any results, the couple is then advised to go for IVF. In this section, we will discuss the various conditions that make the couple a good candidate for IVF.
Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes.
- Ovarian disorders
- Abnormal uterus
- Increasing age of the woman
- Sperm abnormality in the semen
Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
If the woman has blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, the normal fertilization that occurs in the female’s body can not happen. So, the only option available for such couples is to go for IVF, where the fertilization will occur outside the body and then the embryo is implanted inside the uterus of the woman. Blockage or damage can either be congenital or due to diseases such as TB (tuberculosis), etc.
Ovarian disorders Disorders in the functioning of the ovaries like PCOS cause hormonal imbalances in the body that can lead to infertility in women. It happens when the ovary is not able to release an egg in each cycle due to hormonal disturbances and thus no egg is available for fertilization. In such cases, the egg can be extracted from the ovaries, fertilized In Vitro, and then the embryo is implanted in the uterus.
Abnormal uterus Sometimes, the patients can have some abnormal shape of the uterus genetically which might not be suitable for harboring a baby for 9 months. IVF treatment is very helpful for patients with abnormal uterus because this enables these couples to have a baby of their own. Though, they would require a surrogate mother for the IVF treatment process.
Tumors Tumors of the uterus like fibroids can also make the womb a hostile environment for the baby and can cause infertility in women. Such couples can also opt to undergo IVF tests, with the help of a surrogate mother.
Endometriosis Endometriosis is a disease that causes the internal lining of the uterus to grow in other parts of the pelvic cavity. This can lead to many adhesions and blockages and can be the cause of infertility in women. The IVF treatment process is a good option for people suffering from endometriosis.
Increasing age of the woman As a woman ages, the quality of eggs starts deteriorating. The eggs could be defective, making the embryos that could not survive in the uterus or would not be able to form healthy babies. These patients can opt for an IVF test by using donor eggs.
Sperm abnormality in the semen There are certain causes that affect fertility in males. These can be caused by some abnormality in the semen and the sperm such as.
- low sperm count
- Increase in the number of defective sperms
- presence of some infection
The sperm can be extracted from the semen and the egg can be fertilized with the sperm in a petri-dish in the lab.
3. What are the Main Causes of Infertility?
Infertility can have both female and male causes. Couples suffering from infertility undergo some blood tests to check hormone levels. Radiographic examination and semen tests are done to check the number and quality of sperms. The various causes of infertility in men and women would be discussed in this section.
Causes of Infertility in Female
- The problems in Menstrual cycle
- Failure to ovulate( polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).aging etc…)
- Blocked or damaged Fallopian tubes.
- If the egg is not getting mature properly
- Uterine fibroids
Causes of Infertility in Male
Infertility in males is common because of problems related to sperm number or morphology. Decreased number of sperms in the semen or decreased number of effective sperms can lead to infertility in males.
Problems can also occur in the copulation process. Problems like erectile dysfunction or premature ejaculation can also cause infertility as the sperms are not being transferred to the female’s body.
Exposure to harsh environmental factors like heat, cold, etc for long periods of time can cause decreased sperm production in males and lead to infertility. Diseases like cancers, especially testicular cancer can lead to infertility in men. Some common causes of infertility in men are listed below:
- Abnormal sperm production or function
- Problems with the delivery of sperm
- Overexposure to certain environmental factors
- Damage related to cancer
- The shape of the sperm, etc
4. What are the tests performed before undergoing IVF?
Before going in for the IVF procedure, the couple will have to undergo a thorough medical examination to ensure that the process becomes successful without any complications. Although the procedure is personalized for the patients depending on their personal issues and expectations, there are some steps and tests that are done for all couples undergoing the IVF test.
We will discuss this procedure and all the tests that need to be done.
The procedure starts with a detailed consultation with your doctor. Your doctor will take a detailed medical history. This history will include all the issues that you are facing currently and also all your past medical history. History of any abortions, genetic defects in previous children or family members, history of any risk factors like Diabetes, hypertension, Tb, etc will be checked. Your drug history will also be taken properly to ensure you have no known drug allergies.
After this history, you will also undergo a medical examination conducted by your doctor which will also include a pelvic examination. The outer appearance and any cause of infertility will be checked during this examination.
After your history and examination are complete, the doctor will suggest some tests for both partners to decipher the cause of infertility. These tests include:
- Ovarian reserve testing (FSH, AMH, and Estradiol)
- Tubal Patency test
- Semen evaluation
- Digital High magnification
- Prolactin test
- Screening for infectious diseases
- Mock embryo transfer
Ovarian reserve testing (FSH, AMH, and Estradiol) Hormone testing is always done for women to look for a cause of infertility in them. Before attempting IVF for the couple, the hormones in the woman should be brought back to normal to ensure proper implantation and development of the baby.
Tubal Patency test An HSG or Hysterosalpingograph is done for women to check for tubal patency which means that tubes are not blocked or damaged because of any reason. During this test, a dye is introduced into the female reproductive system, and serial X-Rays are taken at specific periods of time. Any block or spillage of the dye is easily visualized in the X-rays.
Semen evaluation Evaluation of the semen is done for males to check for an adequate number of sperms, especially viable sperms, their morphology, movement, etc.
Digital High magnification This test is performed to look at the sperms at higher magnification that allows the selection of the best sperms with the best structure and morphology for the process of IVF. This test can magnify the sperm up to 750 times as compared to 300-400 times by other methods.
Prolactin test Prolactin is a hormone that is produced by the pituitary gland and is responsible for milk production in females. This increases during and after the pregnancy physiologically. But this can also be released due to some disorders and can lead to a decrease in reproductive hormones causing infertility. So, the prolactin test is a very important test that needs to be done for women suffering from infertility.
Screening for infectious diseases Many infections in females can cause infertility and recurrent abortions. These infections include syphilis, TB, toxoplasma, rubella, etc. All these tests are done for the women and if detected, these infections are treated prior to the procedure. Once the female is free of the infections, the procedure can be started.
Mock embryo transfer This is a trial procedure for the actual embryo transfer. It is usually done about a month before the actual process of embryo transfer. During this procedure, it is determined whether the transfer catheter can pass freely through the reproductive tract and also to determine the length of the uterine cavity.
5. What does the Procedure of IVF look like?
The IVF treatment procedure comprises of the following few steps that will be discussed in detail in this section:
- Egg retrieval
- Fertilisation (insemination)
- Embryo culture
Stimulation After deciding to undergo an IVF test, the patient will be given some medications and injections that will promote the formation of a good egg. This step is known as stimulation. After the course is complete, the patient will undergo some serial ultrasounds that will track the process of ovulation.
Egg retrieval After a good egg is formed in the ovaries, that egg has to be retrieved. That is done during this process. The eggs are retrieved from the ovarian follicles through a needle connected to a suction device. Multiple eggs are retrieved and then the good eggs are chosen for fertilization.
Fertilisation (insemination) After the desired egg and sperm have been separated, these are then put in a petri dish with the other required nutrients and minerals and are allowed to fertilize. Sometimes, other procedures like ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection) are also performed during which the sperm is injected into the cytoplasm of the ovum. Multiple zygotes are formed during this procedure.
Embryo culture The zygotes formed after the fertilization are provided with all the required nutrients and are allowed to grow and divide to become an embryo. It is this embryo that is eventually implanted in the uterus of the female.
Embryo transfer The embryos that are formed in the petri dish are checked whether they are healthy or not and then the best embryos are selected for implantation. Usually, more than 1 embryo is implanted in the uterus to ensure the proper development of at least 1 embryo.
Pregnancy test After the whole procedure, waiting time of about 4 to 6 weeks is decided, if menses do not occur, a pregnancy test is done. This can either be done by the urinary pregnancy strip or by measuring the levels of Beta-HCG hormone in the blood. A positive test would confirm the success of implantation in the patient.
6.How to prepare your body for IVF?
Although the doctors will guide you through every step and every test that you undergo, there are some things that you can also do to prepare your body for the whole IVF treatment procedure.
We will discuss the various things that you can do to prepare yourself.
- Quit smoking and drinking
- Take your vitamins
- Eat fertility-enhancing foods
- Improve sleep
- Reduce stress
- Use breathing exercises
Quit smoking and drinking Alcohol consumption and smoking lead to the production of defective eggs and sperm. These are also very harmful to the developing embryo after implantation. Alcohol can lead to various malformations in the baby and should be avoided by the mother throughout the pregnancy. Any form of substance abuse has to be stopped before you go for the IVF treatment procedure.
Take your vitamins Throughout the procedure, you will be required to take some medicines and vitamins that will help proper gamete formation and implantation. It is very important that you take all your medicines regularly without fail to have a successful procedure.
Eat fertility-enhancing foods It is essential to eat good, fresh food and stay away from oily and spicy preserved food from outside. Eating fertility-enhancing foods like lentils, sunflower seeds, etc is very beneficial for promoting proper gamete formation and embryo implantation.
Improve sleep Proper sleep and rest are essential for the health of the patient and these are also important for promoting proper egg formation.
Reduce stress Reducing your stress levels and having a calm and relaxed mind is helpful in promoting good gamete production. Instead of worrying about the outcome, you should hope for positive feedback. Breathing exercises are also very helpful in making your mind calm.
7. What are the Possible Risks Associated with IVF Treatment?
There are some minor risks associated with IVF treatment that are easily curable. These side effects or risks occur because of the external hormonal medications that are being given.
Some of the risks of the IVF treatment procedure are the following:
- hot flushes
- feeling down or irritable
- ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
- Mild bruising and soreness at the injection site
- Nausea and, occasionally, vomiting
- Temporary allergic reactions,
- Breast tenderness and increased vaginal discharge
- Mood swings and fatigue
Hot flushes, headaches, and mood swings are commonly seen during the procedure because of the additional hormones that are being given to the patient.
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome refers to the condition when the ovaries are overstimulated by the hormones and produce multiple follicles and increase the production of various reproductive hormones. Mild bruising and pain at the injection site are normal and will go away in a day or 2. Icing the area helps with inflammation and pain.
8. What is the Cost of IVF Treatment in Gurgaon?
The exact IVF cost in Gurgaon depends on a lot of factors like:
- Cost of Ultrasounds
- Cost of IVF Medications
- Cost of Embryo Freezing
- Cost of Laparoscopy/Hysteroscopy
- Cost of OT Charges
- Donor Egg/Sperm IVF
IVF cost in Gurgaon depends on other factors as well like the experience of the doctor who is conducting the whole procedure, the hospital or clinic you are being treated at, etc. Keeping all these factors in mind, the average IVF cost in Gurgaon ranges anywhere between INR1,75,000 to INR 2,00,000.
9. What are the Alternatives of IVF?
IVF may not be suitable or required for some people and there are other techniques that are now being routinely used to cure infertility. We will discuss some of these alternative techniques to IVF in this section.
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
- Hormonal Therapy for men
- Keyhole surgery (in conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis, and other tubal or uterine issues.)
- IVM (In Vitro Maturation)
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) In this procedure, fertilization occurs inside the body of the female. Instead of retrieving both sperm and the egg and making them fertilize in a petri-dish, only the sperm is isolated and it is then released into the uterus close to the date of ovulation and the fertilization occurs in the fallopian tubes. Couples who can opt for this procedure include females with normal structural and functional reproductive tracts but their partners have problems in proper sperm production. For these couples, the good sperm can be isolated and be released into the uterus of the female for fertilization.
Hormonal Therapy for men Hormonal therapy is done for men who are suffering from low sperm count or other difficulties. This therapy aims at increasing the level of testosterone and decreasing the levels of estrogen in the male body to produce an adequate amount of sperm with good morphology.
Keyhole surgery (in conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis, and other tubal or uterine issues.) Keyhole surgeries are used for women who have health conditions like fibroids, endometriosis, and other tubal or uterine issues leading to infertility in them. These surgeries are done to treat these underlying causes so that the woman can get pregnant without any other assistance.
IVM (In Vitro Maturation) During this procedure, the eggs are retrieved from the ovaries at an early stage and are made to mature in the lab using certain drugs. This is usually done for women who have a good pool of young eggs but face difficulty in their maturation process.
How successful is IVF?
The success rates of IVF in India vary from 30-35%. These rates depend on a lot of patient factors like their lifestyle, eating habits, cause of infertility, etc.
Are IVF babies healthy?
The babies that are conceived through IVF treatment are just like babies who are born by natural methods. In fact, while choosing the eggs and sperm for the process, only the best gametes are chosen that do not have any genetic problems, so people who have babies by IVF are more likely to have babies with no hereditary deformities.
How Often Are IVF Cycles Canceled?
IVF cycle cancellation depends on patient conditions like the hormone levels before the cycle. If your hormones are not in the required range, your cycle will have to be canceled because the procedure can not take place until the hormones are normal. The frequency of cancellation depends on your personal medical condition.
How long does IVF take?
The exact time will depend on the procedure that is being done for you. After all the initial tests, the IVF procedure may take up to a month to show conception. This may take longer for you if some other step is involved in your process.
How many times can one try IVF?
The IVF process can be both mentally and physically challenging for the patients. It is recommended that you try for a maximum of 3 cycles without changing anything.
Why does IVF fail? Various factors can cause the IVF to fail like:
- Quality of gametes
- Quality of embryo
- Age of the patient
- Problems in the selection of the embryo
- Expertise of the doctor
- Lab techniques used, etc
What is the IVF success rate for the woman over 40?
The IVF success rate for women above 40 is actually quite good. The fertility rates decline with age but women can still conceive with their own eggs till about their early 40s. IVF success rates for women over 40 reaches about 9-20%.
Can I get Pregnant after Menopause with IVF?
Eggs after menopause are not viable to use for IVF treatment. You can only use IVF after menopause if you had earlier frozen your eggs for future use or by using donor eggs.
You should always choose only the best ivf doctors and clinics to get IVF. The experience and expertise of the team matters a lot in this process. At IVF Junction, this is what we provide. Only the best doctors perform the IVF procedure. For further information, contact our qualified professionals who will be able to guide you according to your personal concerns.