All about IVF
IVF, In Vitro Fertilisation is an Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) for those who cannot fall pregnant naturally. It involves the artificial stimulation of a female’s ovaries to overproduce eggs, which are then extracted and added to a dish with the male’s sperm where they hope to fertilise and create embryos.
Despite the ability to summarise the process in a single sentence, the whole process is a lot more involved. So what can you expect if you are looking at the IVF journey?
If you are looking to embark on IVF, you have more than likely already met with your GP to discuss any issues you have been having with falling pregnant. From here, your GP will likely order some fertility testing prior to starting IVF. These include antenatal testing, hormonal profiles and checking for any chromosomal abnormalities.
The IVF process
Once you have completed these tests and all clear, you may start the IVF process on the first day of your next cycle. The process starts with a series of injections, the first being a follicle stimulating hormone injection (FSH) to stimulate your ovaries. This injection will encourage your ovaries to produce more than the standard single egg per month. These injections will be once a day for five days. You will then return to the clinic to determine how your body is responding to the injections, and your dosage will be altered if/as required.
The process will then move to an ultrasound whereby your doctor will determine how your body is responding and to count the number of eggs that have been produced. If all looks good, a trigger injection will be administered to encourage them to grow and mature and an accelerated rate.
Two days after the triggering injection, the eggs will be retrieved from your ovaries (whilst under sedation) and mixed with your partner’s sperm for fertilisation. Five days after the retrieval, the best embryos that have formed will be transferred to your uterus through your cervix. Two weeks later, you will know if the IVF process has been successful and if you are indeed pregnant. A blood test will confirm your positive pregnancy. If unsuccessful, your doctor will advise the next course of action.