According to the World Health Organization, infertility affects women belonging to the age group of 15 to 49 across the globe. The organization further states that around 34 million women from developing countries suffer from infertility due to maternal sepsis or unsafe abortion.
“Infertility is the inability of a sexually active, non-contracepting couple to achieve pregnancy in one year.”
~World Health Organization
Quoting the Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction, every one in six couples in India is affected with infertility.
Causes of Infertility
The common causes of infertility that prevent couples to conceive in India are-
- Blockage in the uterus or fallopian tubes
- Lower sperm count
- Woman suffering from issues such as PCOS, endometriosis, uterine fibroids
- Difficulty during ovulation
- Poor quality of eggs
- Genetic health condition in male or female
- Sperms unable to reach the uterus
- Sperms unable to penetrate the eggs
- Antibodies that destroy sperms or eggs
What is IVF?
In-vitro fertilization or IVF is a complex assisted reproductive technique or ART. In vitro means “in the lab” and fertilization means conception. To elaborate, IVF treatment is the process of taking eggs from a female body and sperm from a male body and combining them in a laboratory to form an embryo. Once the embryo is formed, it is then again put back into the uterus. This is the solution for women who are willing to conceive but unable to do so because of various infertility problems.
Doctors recommend IVF treatment when other options of fertility treatment fail unless there is a blockage in the tubes. After failing to cure the fertility problem with drugs, surgery and artificial insemination, IVF treatment is prescribed.
Process of IVF
A basic IVF treatment involves 5 steps. Here are the 5 steps of IVF Treatment-
- Stimulation- In this step, the female is asked to take fertility drugs that stimulate the ovaries to produce more than one egg. Production of multiple eggs ensures that multiple embryos can form. Hence, this stage is also known as ovulation induction. After this, the woman has to go for regular ultrasounds and hormone tests to check the number of eggs produced. The two hormones used to stimulate the eggs are- Follicle Stimulating Hormone and Luteinizing Hormone.
- Retrieval of eggs- As the name suggests, in this step the doctor takes out the eggs produced from each of the follicles in a surgery. After administering anesthesia, the doctors insert a needle-like instrument to the ovary via the vagina. The instrument sucks out the eggs and fluid from the follicle. The whole procedure is completed at a fertility clinic.
- Insemination- The extracted eggs are then inseminated with sperms from the partner or a donor. The fertilized egg is then kept in a container. In some cases, the sperms are injected directly into the eggs due to lower motility. The cells multiply and form an embryo. The people at the lab keep the track of its growth regularly.
- Embryo culture- After the embryo is formed, the embryos are tested to make sure that there is no health condition.
- Embryo transfer– The woman is asked to visit the clinic again to transfer the embryo into the uterus. In India, it is possible to transfer more than 1 embryo into the uterus which increases the chances of getting pregnant. Similar to the egg retrieval stage, the doctor inserts a tube through the cervix that helps in attaching the embryos directly to the uterine lining.
Results of IVF Treatment
On the day of embryo transfer, doctors advise for minimum movement and maximum rest. Following an embryo transfer, sometimes doctors prescribe pills or hormone shots of progesterone for the next 8-10 weeks.If the embryo implantation is successful, then the woman is likely to get pregnant.
Once the whole procedure is complete, the patient needs to wait for 2 weeks. Meanwhile, during this time period, a patient may experience extreme emotional bouts and feel lethargic to perform any activity. Within 9 to 12 days after the transfer, the doctors advise taking a pregnancy test. If the test is positive, that means the IVF was successful and that the woman is pregnant. However, for positive confirmation, a serum pregnancy test is more reliable.
On the other hand, if the pregnancy test is negative after 12-14 days of embryo transfer, it means that the IVF treatment is not successful and should wait for menstruation to start. This doesn’t necessarily indicate that you cannot go for another IVF treatment. With proper consultation from a doctor, think about trying again. The more you try, the better are the chances of success.
Success Rate of IVF Treatment In India
There are numerous factors that take part when deciding the success of an IVF procedure. These are-
- Type of infertility the partners are suffering from infertility
- How long the partners are suffering from infertility
- Age of the female
- Sperm, egg or embryo quality
- Reasons for infertility
- Development of endometrial lining
- Amount of care taken after embryo transfer
The success rate of IVF treatment in India ranges between 30% to 35% with respect to the above-mentioned factors. In India, more and more people are seeking IVF treatment to conceive and enjoy parenthood. The rate is decided on the basis of live birth per embryo transfer. On a global scale, the success rate is around 40%. However, these were for women who are younger than 35 years of age. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, 38.3% of women, under the age of 35, were successfully able to conceive with IVF treatment.
Risks of IVF Treatment
As mentioned before, IVF treatment is an extremely complicated procedure. Hence, the patient has to be extremely careful throughout the pregnancy. Here are some risks that are possible to develop-
- Egg retrieval may cause cramps and discomfort both during and after the procedure
- Possibility of twins, triplets and more
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
- Bruising from the progesterone shots
- Allergic reactions to medicines
- Possibility of pelvic infection
However, the above list is a common side effect. Some of the rare and severe complications include the following-
- Puncture of the bladder accidentally
- Bleeding from the ovary or pelvic vessels
- Chances of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome developing
The success rate of IVF treatment is gradually increasing with the introduction of newer technologies. However, the entire cycle of IVF treatment can be emotionally overwhelming for the female partner. Hence, in such difficult times, proper care is of utmost importance. Highly-experienced doctors are crucial for the success of the IVF cycle. Pristyn Care doctors understand the pain points of the couple and take great care while dealing with them. Book an appointment today to know more.