Co-incubation is a brilliant process in which the egg is placed in a medium with about 75,000 sperm cells. This culture is left in conditions that stimulate natural fertilization for about 1 to 4 hours, which has been shown to be the optimum amount of time for the eggs to be properly fertilized. Once the medium has been left for the ideal amount of time, doctors then scan the egg for signs of fertilization.
ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)
Another even more effective method of fertilisation is ICSI. You can use it in cases where a man suffers from low sperm count or poor sperm motility. This procedure entails injecting a single sperm cell directly into the healthy egg via a highly precise needle. The transfer of the egg is to a highly specialized medium that encourages further growth.
Embryo culture is a process in which fertilized embryos are allowed to grow in a positive environment outside of the womb. This allows doctors to select the embryos which display the most positive and consolidated growth. Which in turn results in a higher likelihood of pregnancy.
Embryo selection is the process in which doctors are able to select the best embryos based on their quality. Using innovative technology, called time-lapse microscopy, doctors can actually watch as the cells develop in their growth cycles, making it easier for physicians to choose which cells are most likely to grow healthily and to their full potential.
Embryo transfer is the last stage of the IVF process. Before implantation, it is common for the carrying woman to undergo endometrial stimulation to thicken the lining of her uterus, creating the best environment for the embryo. The embryo is then surgically implanted via a small catheter through the vagina. Then, the placement of the embryo is in the most favorable location in the uterus.
Depending on what country you reside in, embryo transfer dictates just how many healthy cells can be implanted into a woman’s uterus at one time. This encourages pregnancy rates and implantation. Historically, when only one embryo was moved into the woman’s uterus, the likelihood that the cell would attach was much lower. This is in comparison if the doctor introduced multiple embryos at once. However, in modern reproductive medicine, the implantation of more than 2 embryos is not the recommendation. This may pose a health hazard to the woman who will carry the baby.
Before, during, or following embryo transfer, hormones is a necessity for the intending mother. This encourages her body to keep and nurture the embryo that has been artificially introduced into her body. Some evidence has shown that with the use of these hormones, women are more likely to have higher rates of live birth and ongoing pregnancy.
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is one of the newest and most promising aspects of IVF treatments. PGD tests the cells, before implantation, for genetic diseases and abnormalities. This is a great option for couples who have a family history of inherited genetic diseases or who just wish to determine the sex of their baby!
Freezing embryos is an excellent way to assist in further IVF treatments, should the need arise. This is a big reassurance for many intending parents. Once the performance of the initial retrieval, preparation, and culture are performed, those steps won’t need to be repeated. This cuts down on treatments, costs and time required for additional implantations. Freezing your bio-material can also be a means of preserving your fertility and reproductive potential, eg, eggs and sperm. You might consider egg retrieval if you are about to undergo treatment for cancer or any other condition which may affect your fertility potential or if you are not ready to form a family but wish to conserve your eggs for future use.
IVF Treatment: Who qualifies for the procedure?
IVF treatment is a great option for people who have struggled or are currently struggling, with fertility issues. If, as a woman, you have had problems with your fallopian tubes, or any trauma or disease that affects your ability to produce or release eggs, IVF treatments may be the right course of action for you. Your doctor may try a few less invasive and less costly measures before suggesting IVF treatment. This is perfectly normal. As a male, if you suffer from a low sperm count or poor sperm motility, IVF treatments can help address those issues.
IVF treatments are also important if you are considering using donor eggs or sperm. In this case, doctors will combine the donor material with the intended parent’s genetic material outside of the body and then implant it in the woman’s uterus following satisfactory fertilization.
Another way that IVF treatments are helping couples all over the world realize their dreams of starting a family is through the marriage of IVF treatments and surrogacy. Gestational surrogacy is used when a couple is unable to carry, or safely carry a pregnancy themselves. After an IVF process, it is time to implant the embryos into the uterus of a surrogate mother. In a gestational surrogacy program, the surrogate has no genetic link to the baby.
IVF Treatment: Is it dangerous?
While no medical procedure is completely without risks, IVF treatments are proven to be safe and effective over years of use and study. Certain complications, such as multiple births, are more common than others. Many of the risks of the past (infections, infectious disease transmission, and congenital defects) have been addressed in recent years by the many new advancements in IVF treatments available. Self-care during IVF is important however, so be sure to read up on how to best look after yourself while under-going treatment.
IVF Treatment: How will it affect my family?
Many studies have indicated that mothers who have undergone IVF treatments to create a family are actually more emotionally involved with their children. Not only that, but similar studies have been conducted that suggest that even fathers of IVF babies are found to be warmer and more emotionally involved. They even enjoy fatherhood more than their adoptive and naturally conceived counterparts. Turning to IVF treatments to start your family is just another testament of your desire to build your family. A true show of devotion and strength, even in the face of adversity.
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