IVF stands for In Vitro Fertilization. IVF is a procedure where the fertilization of egg and sperm is done outside the body. Earlier, the children conceived through this procedure were also called as test-tube babies.
‘Louise Brown’ was the first person to be conceived via IVF in the year 1978.
The procedure involves carefully observing and stimulating a women’s ovulatory cycle. Once the egg is produced it is carefully removed and fertilized with the sperm outside the female body. IVF is different than the Artificial Insemination where the sperm is cleaned and injected back into the uterus at the time of ovulation for the conception to occur naturally. IVF involves the procedure where the process of fertilization occurs outside the body and after the egg is fertilized, the zygote formed is sent for embryo culture after which it is carefully implanted in the uterus of the female to initiate a successful pregnancy.
The method of IVF was discovered by Patrick Steptoe and Robert G. Edwards during the early 1970s. This method was adopted as a solution to deal with female infertility caused by various factors like fallopian tube blockage due to which the egg does not get fertilized by the sperm. When the first IVF was conducted, the process of stimulating the ovulation by injecting hormones was not done, and instead, the egg was removed after the normal ovulatory cycle, this egg was fertilized and implanted back into the uterus. This was called a natural cycle IVF. IVF is considered one amongst the ‘Assisted Reproductive Technology’( ART ). Either the fertilized egg is injected back into the same female whos egg was taken for fertilization or it can be injected into the womb of a different female who is called a surrogate mother. This is also called Gestational Surrogacy. In the year 2010, Robert G. Edwards was awarded the Nobel prize in Medicine.
Indications for the use of IVF:
Following are the conditions in which IVF can be considered:
If the fallopian tube is blocked or damaged which can cause a restriction in the process of the union of egg and sperm.
If there is any male impotency or less sperm mobility then IVF can be done using donor sperm.
If the female has any uterine problems like PCOD, fibroids, or weak uterus that can cause a problem for conception to take place.
Any genetic disorder or unexplained issue which is causing a problem with conception.
Method of IVF:
Usually, a female can produce one egg in each cycle of ovulation whereas in males millions of sperms are produced in a day. Before an IVF procedure is started the couple needs to undergo a few tests to make sure there is no underlying pathology and to understand why the conception is not taking place naturally.
In a female, generally lower abdomen and pelvic scan is done to check the health of the uterus and fallopian tubes. Few blood tests and hormonal essay is recommended in both male and female to check whether there is normal production of sperms and egg in both respectively. Examination of sperms is necessary in males to check the amount of sperm production and its mobility.
Step-1: Hormonal and fertility injections are given to females to induce multiple egg production since few eggs might not survive or develop upon collection of the same.
Step-2: Once multiple eggs are produced these eggs are then retrieved from the female body through the vaginal route. Medications are given while the procedure is performed to avoid possible discomfort.
Step-3: The male is asked to ejaculate the semen and submit the sample for further collection of sperms followed by testing and fertilization with eggs.
Step-4: The process of insemination is carried out where the eggs and sperms are combined in the laboratory in a petri-dish for the fertilization to take place. Once the eggs are fertilized they are called Embryos.
Step-5: These embryos are then injected back into the female Uterus after 3-5 days of retrieval. If the procedure is successful then usually the implantation occurs between 7 to 10 days since the first day of the egg retrieval.
The success rate depends upon factors like the age of the mother, embryo health, lifestyle, previous cause for infertility, etc.
1. Are IVF babies normal?
The IVF babies are generally normal but might have low birth weight. Premature delivery is possible if there are multiple pregnancies( twins or triplets ). Some researches have lead to the result that children born out of IVF are twice likely to develop Autism than normally conceived and carried babies.
2. What are the long term side effects of IVF injections?
Few females might suffer from depressions, mood swings, hot flushes, increased heart rate, breast tenderness, weight gain than usual, abdominal bloating, and pain.