How Is In Vitro Fertilization Performed?

There are five steps involved in IVF:

  1. stimulation
  2. egg retrieval
  3. insemination
  4. embryo culture
  5. transfer

Stimulation

Normally, a woman produces one egg during each menstrual cycle. However, IVF requires multiple eggs. Using multiple eggs increases the chances of a viable embryo. Fertility drugs are used to increase the number of eggs that the body produces. During this stage, a doctor will perform regular blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor the production of eggs and to know when to retrieve them.

Egg Retrieval

This is known as follicular aspiration. It is normally a surgical procedure performed with anesthesia. A doctor will then use an ultrasound wand to guide a needle through a vagina, into the ovary, and into an egg-containing follicle. The needle will suction fluid and eggs out of each follicle.

Insemination

Here, the male partner gives a semen sample. An embryologist will mix the sperm with the egg in a petri dish in the lab. If that doesn’t produce embryos, a doctor may decide to use ICSI.

Embryo Culture

A doctor will monitor the fertilized eggs to ensure that they’re dividing and developing. The embryos may undergo testing for genetic conditions at this time.

Transfer

When the embryos are big enough, they can be implanted. This normally occurs three to five days after fertilization. Implantation involves inserting a thin tube called a catheter into a vagina, past the cervix, and into the uterus. The doctor then releases the embryo into the uterus.

Pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants itself in the uterine wall. This can take 6 to 10 days. A blood test will determine if one is pregnant.

What Are the Complications Associated with In Vitro Fertilization?

Just like any other medical procedure, there are risks associated with In Vitro Fertilization. These complications may include:

  • Miscarriage or loss of pregnancy
  • Ectopic pregnancy which happens when the eggs implant outside the uterus
  • Damage to the bladder or bowels, which is rare. This causes bleeding and infections to the bladder
  • Multiple pregnancies. This increases the risk of premature birth and low birth weight.
  • OHSS-Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. This rare condition leads to accumulation of excess fluids in the abdomen and chest.

Long-Term Outlook?

Often, patients are faced with an incredibly complicated decision to decide whether to undergo in vitro fertilization, and how to retry if the first or second attempt was unsuccessful. The financial, emotional and physical toll of this treatment might be difficult.  It is advisable to speak with the medical staff at Fertility Point  to determine what your best treatment options are, and if IVF is the right path for you and your partner. The clinic not only has a support group but also mechanisms to help you and your family journey through this process.

Maximize your chances of a successful IVF via these habits

IVF treatment can be financially, emotionally and physically demanding, but there are steps one can take to prepare for the IVF journey and maximize chances of a successful and healthy pregnancy.

Before starting an IVF journey, our lead fertility experts advise patients to:

  • Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Start taking prenatal vitamins
  • Stop taking recreational drugs and drinks such as cigarettes and alcohol.
  • Reduce or eliminate caffeine intake.
  • Avoid travelling to regions or countries that may put one at risk of exposure to infectious diseases which could delay treatment.

Managing stress during the IVF process

Fertility Point physicians also recommend the following routines to reduce anxiety and stress levels before and during the IVF journey. Meditation, journaling and are healthy outlets for managing stress that comes with fertility treatments.

Many patients also turn to holistic and complementary techniques and therapies, such as yoga and acupuncture, to cur anxiety and boost their chances of having a successful IVF cycle.

Educate yourself on the IVF process

Some of the fear and anxiety that comes with IVF can be avoided by having a comprehensive understanding of the whole process. Stress and anxiety usually emanate from fear of potential side effect of the IVF treatment. Before starting IVF, Fertility Point Kenya experts recommend getting in touch with them for support on enquiry@fertilitypoint.co.ke, following its pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to help understand the various steps that take place during IVF.

We understand that fertility treatment can be a complex process, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you have any questions about the IVF process or would like to start your IVF journey with Fertility Point, please contact us today.

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