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Posted on 01/09/2019 in Fertility Treatment Options

What is In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)?

What is In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)?

The rapid development in science has ushered in several trends in medical practice. One of these is IVF. Well, nobody might bother to ask you what the acronym stands for but for curiosity’s sake, it means In vitro fertilization. It is the fertilization that occurs outside the body of the female. This implies that the sperm and egg are collected from both parties which are the male and the female. The egg is fertilized by the sperm in the laboratory dish (not your regular kind of dish) and put back in the uterus. It is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART). It is administered for people, couples who for one reason or the other cannot conceive through the normal process of reproduction.

Some of the medical reasons that might warrant the use of IVF are cases of a blocked fallopian tube, infertility in male, genetic disorders, reduced sperm count, sperm motility and a host of other reasons. IVF has proven to be a safe way of meandering your ways through all the mentioned biological factors that could hinder pregnancy. If you are experiencing any of these, IVF has got you covered. Its success rates are encouraging in every sense and even its failure never results into death as some medical operations would be if they were unsuccessful. The processes of IVF partly explain this.


THE PROCESSES OF IN VITRO FERTILIZATION (IVF)

How does the IVF happen? There are just a few steps. If you were you expecting something different, maybe the process isn't as complicated as you might think it is. The procedures for IVF generally involve:

Fertility Medications

Fertility medications are meant to stimulate the production of eggs in the female. Eggs need to be used because naturally, not all eggs can be fertilized. At this stage, the focus is on the production of eggs. The medication is administered to ensure the body produces healthy eggs that will eventually be fertilized. These many medications like Clomiphene citrate (CC), Follicle-stimulating hormone, Human menopausal gonadotropin, Synthetic human chorionic gonadotropin, fertility supplements etc.are administered to stimulate some hormones necessary for egg production. At this stage, blood test samples are also taken to take note of hormonal levels.


•    Retrieval of Eggs

This process is simple and anesthetics are administered to partially or totally avoid any potential discomfort. It is a minor surgical operation where the eggs are removed with needles. Precision is achieved by the ultrasound imaging which guides the penetration of the needle through the pelvic area. The fact that this is a minor operation leaves you with little or no risks at all though we generally know that every medical operation is sensitive.


•    Introduction of Sperm

The male sperm is collected. There are several considerations and general sperm collection practices. The male is advised not to have ejaculated for two days before collection of sperm and must have ejaculated in the past five days, this is said to increase success. It might seem to you at this point that the female is more involved in the IVF process but your view "might" change when you consider the difficulty of ejaculating at will for the male.  After the sperm has been collected, what's next?


•    Insemination

At this stage, the sperm and the egg are combined and stored in a laboratory dish inside the laboratory. Expect the cycle of IVF to take at least one week. However, in some instances, the chances of fertilization occurring are very slim. In such cases, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is administered. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a process whereby a single sperm is injected into the cytoplasm of the egg with the use of a small needle and it is commonly used in cases where there's male infertility. Male infertility could come in a lot of ways, Azoospermia, low sperm count is some of the variants of male infertility. After the ICSI process is concluded, the egg is checked after 24hours to see if fertilization has occurred.


•    Implantation of the Embryo

This is usually 6-10 days after the collection of eggs. The embryo is placed in the woman's uterus and pregnancy signs normally should be followed. The fertilized egg is considered an embryo. A tube or catheter is inserted into the uterus to create a passage for the transfer of eggs(embryo). The procedure of implantation is mostly painless and on some rare occasions, mild pain occurs.

The egg and the sperm might not necessarily be from a couple, they could be from random donors. Either way, couples, individuals are given a chance at conception.


The Cost of IVF

Looking at the simple processes we highlighted above, it should be apparent that the cost of IVF is not exorbitant. What’s more amazing than have your own diamonds in the world but never having to pay the real the cost diamond. The average IVF cost cycle in the USA is just high $12000. It could go as high as $15000 and as interestingly low as $3,000 in other countries. The cost of medication to comes in as $1500-$3000 for each cycle. You might be wondering what an IVF cycle is. It is all the processes we have listed above. The collection of the eggs down to the implantation of the embryo makes a full cycle.

There are however several dynamics to the cost of IVF. Any additional processes or services are paid for. One of these is ICSI which costs between $1500-$4500. Freezing your egg for another IVF cycle could also cost you between $200-$1500 per annum. Getting a surrogate mother is the most expensive of all. It should cost you nothing less than a few tens of thousands of dollars.

It is interesting to know that some clinics have refund programs where you pay and your money is returned if the IVF process was not successful. If you are considering IVF whether as a couple or as an individual, it is important to weigh your options and get familiarized with how IVF really works.

More than 8 million babies today are a product of IVF. The first IVF baby, Louise Brown is still very much alive today. IVF has given hope to a lot of families worldwide; Increasing their chances of giving birth from Zero percent to at least forty percent in many instances. IVF today still remains one of the most recognized assisted reproductive technologies (ART).


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