December 23, 2020
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If your understanding of an IVF comes only from Bollywood, well, it’s limited. A few movies like Good Newwz, Vicky Donor, etc have introduced the audience to IVF as a birthing option, focusing on women, couples, and families that rely on in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) to be able to become parents. While they bank on just the emotional aspect of IVF, there is a lot of knowledge that you might want to have if you are planning to consider an IVF, medically. Let us start with the very basic :
Infertility is one major concern whenever a couple is unable to get pregnant or is trying to conceive, despite the unprotected sex, having tried for at least one year, and additionally so when the woman is aged less than 35. But with the continued advances made in reproductive medicine, treatments for infertility have become highly successful, including the IVF.
What is IVF?
IVF stands for in-vitro fertilization. It is a treatment for infertility, whereby in a laboratory dish, a woman’s eggs are fertilized by a man’s sperm. The fertilized eggs (or embryos) are further transferred into a woman’s uterus, in the hope that they will implant, and mature into a pregnancy. Essentially, it is a reproductive technique that is assisted medically.
When Should You Consider an IVF?
Given that you have already considered other forms of infertility treatment and somehow they have not worked out for you, in-vitro fertilization is usually taken up in the following cases :
An Advanced Reproductive Age
Age impacts fertility, and a woman’s maternal health so what we are talking about here is much like an IVF age cutoff. For a successful in-vitro fertilization, how old is too old, you ask? It is an important question for individuals and couples delaying parenthood.
An advanced reproductive age for a woman would be 35 and beyond. Fewer eggs in a woman’s body become available for recruitment and maturation, as the woman ages. Let aside the quantity, the quality of the eggs too become a concern. As an older woman, while you may have an ovarian reserve that is bountiful, those eggs are very likely to have chromosomal abnormalities. In such a case, IVF is considered.
Prevention of a Genetic Disease's Pass-down
Physicians and patients are empowered with IVF, providing an ability for them to prevent the transmission of genetic diseases to future generations.
Oftimes, IVF for male infertility is supposed to be the best treatment option. In case the semen analysis seems to be abnormal, and additionally identifies a male factor, it is important to look for the cause. Related to a male anatomic abnormality or caused by an infection, when the low sperm count appears to be hormone-related, basic treatments may be used. However, if these do not work, or if it is a more severe case of male infertility, IVF is usually the treatment of choice.
Ovarian Issues (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
Women with PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome do not ovulate regularly. As a result, when a woman with PCOS visits her doctor or specialist for a fertility treatment, rather than immediately resorting to IVF, the physician will begin by prescribing some front- line medications. The idea would then be to perform timed intercourse with the partner to achieve pregnancy, while on the medication prescribed. The physician will most likely suggest other methods of fertility if medication does not work either. An advanced fertility method such as IVF will be presented when the woman does not get pregnant by any of the previous means.
It refers to cases whereby either one or both fallopian tubes are obstructed in a certain manner. When that happens, the sperm is unable to reach a viable egg which is waiting to be fertilized. If the sperm somehow does manage to reach the egg, it may not be able to leave the fallopian tube, and implant in the uterus, as it naturally would. If it so happens, the egg can potentially implant in the fallopian tube itself, which is risky. Hence, if a woman suffers from such fallopian blockage, what IVF does is that it allows fertility specialists to circumvent them, meaning she can still become pregnant, despite the issues she may be facing.
Things to Consider Before you Decide on an IVF
For many people, right from the start, IVF is a preferred treatment. However, others choose to try other available infertility treatments that are also less expensive like fertility medication, artificial insemination, or surgery first. An IVF sure brings you a step closer to getting pregnant when you are trying to conceive, but the process can feel intimidating, especially if you are unsure about what is going to be involved.
It is like a miracle medical treatment that will allow you to have children at your own pace. As an endpoint to many fertility journeys, it is posed as a last recourse when nothing seems to be working out. Because it bears a reputation for solving fertility issues, many think of IVF as a sure shot, but it is not a ‘cure-all’ formula. It comes with its own risks and costs. Yet, there is a good reason for some optimism! So many babies are brought into this world only because of IVF, and that is something to look to for hope. Talk to your doctor and find out what is best for you.