The incidence of infertility is on the rise, and couples are leaving no stone unturned for resorting to various measures to get pregnant. Recent surveys on incidence of infertility have given certain statistics that reveal a steady rise in the number of couples suffering from infertility issues. According to a WHO evaluation of Demographic and Health Surveys, Data, as high as 186 million married women were found to suffer from infertility. It was also estimated that about 46% of Indians suffered from some or the other kind of infertility. These trends ring a warning bell and indicate that certain steps need to be taken to address the issue of infertility.
It was in this regard that IVF was developed and thought to help couples with their infertility problems. IVF – in vitro fertilization is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART), which is regarded as one of the most advanced procedures employed for correcting infertility amongst couples. It is usually the last resort and is employed when all the other modes of fertilization have failed to show any effect.
In vitro means the fertilization of the egg and sperm is carried out outside the woman;s body. In this procedure, mature eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and kept for fertilization with the sperm in a laboratory dish under controlled settings.
The procedure of in vitro fertilization follows several steps. These include
- Ovarian stimulation: In this step, the woman is given fertility drugs to stimulate her ovaries to produce more eggs. Multiple eggs are required for in vitro fertilization as many eggs may fail to fertilize and the cycle may thus go waste. Hence, in order to increase the success rates, it is essential that multiple eggs are retrieved.
- Egg retrieval: In this process, the eggs are retrieved using a minor surgical procedure termed as follicular aspiration. It is an ultrasound guided procedure, wherein the eggs are retrieved using a hollow needle.
- Sperm collection: The sperm are separated from the semen sample that has been collected. It is washed and prepared for the process of fertilization.
- Fertilization: After the egg retrieval process, the egg and the prepared sperm are kept for fertilization in a laboratory. The process is carried out under laboratory settings and is closely monitored for the growth of the cells. When the cells grow in size and number, a blastocyst is formed. This blastocyst is referred to as embryo.
- Embryo transfer: The procedure of embryo transfer is done between 1 – 6 days after the fertilization process. The best embryo is chosen for the transfer procedure. The woman is put to sleep with the help of a sedative. The doctors insert a speculum to keep the vaginal walls apart. Thereafter, the embryo is passed into the uterus through the cervix. Following this process, if the embryo successfully implants itself to the wall of the uterus, then the early signs of pregnancy can be expected to be experienced within a few weeks.
Infertility treatment in IndiaDuring the past decade, India has become one of the most popular destinations for getting infertility treatment done. Whether it is world class facilities at low rates or some of the best treatment methods for correcting infertility issue, India as a destination is offering it all. Couples from overseas find the treatment in India far more affordable than its Western counter parts.
IVF treatment in India is not only cheaper, but is carried out by board certified surgeons. With world class facilities and modern amenities, India is the most sought for destination for getting treated for infertility. Several cities of India such as Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai have well equipped fertility clinics with advanced programs for treating infertility. They also have advanced facilities that are required for diagnosing as well as treating infertility in couples. All these reasons make India the most popular destination for getting treated for infertility.
The ivf cost of getting IVF done in countries other than India would cost you as high as 2000 – 10,000 US dollars. Whereas, in India the ivf cost in India is about 40 – 80% less than what is charged in Western Nations.
Men and IVF
The recent news that has been doing the rounds states that there has been an incredible increase in the cases of male infertility in the past decade. Poor sperm count in men has been found to be the gravest reason for male infertility. There are several causes of male infertility that may be traced back to infections during childhood days or sexually transmitted disease during adulthood. All stand a fair chance in causing male infertility.
Male infertility accounts for as high as 30% of cases of infertility amongst couples. However, there are various treatment options available for treating the same. The several treatment options include the following methods:
- Donor sperms
- PESA and TESA
When all the above stated methods fail to show any effect, then the option of IVF is considered. It is a well-known fact that women need to be prepared before their IVF cycle. In addition, doctors also feel that it is equally important to prepare men as well. There are 3 essential steps that men should follow before undergoing the IVF cycle. These steps constitute of the following:
- Maintaining a healthy hormonal balance: Prior to undergoing IVF cycle, it is of utmost importance that you maintain a healthy hormonal balance. For this, it is required that you undergo a fertility cleansing process that would help maintain a healthy hormonal balance.
- Nourishing your body: It is also equally important that you nourish your body before you provide your semen sample. It needs to be mentioned that men also need to have a balanced diet and multivitamin supplements to produce a healthy semen sample for the IVF procedure.
- Nurture yourself: Nurturing yourself is one of the most important aspects that you should be keeping in mind. Keeping your physical and emotional well-being up to the mark, shall help you go a long way in getting a successful IVF cycle. For this, along with a healthy diet you are also required to exercise regularly and follow ways to keep stress at bay.
Variations on the IVF Procedure
There are several variations in the IVF procedure. In all, there are a total of 3 types of in vitro fertilization processes that is carried out depending on the fertility status of the couples. The variations are as follows:
- Assisted hatching: As the name suggests, the hatching process of the embryo from its outer covering or shell is manually facilitated. This is done just before the embryo transfer process. In this method, a hole is made in the shell covering the embryo so as to aid the hatching process, once it prepares itself to implant in the wall of the uterus.
- Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT): GIFT and IVF almost share a similar theory; however, in the former method, the egg and sperm are transferred to the Fallopian tubes. In this way, it is expected that the egg and sperm find each other and undergo the process of fertilization inside the womb itself instead of in a laboratory dish.
- Zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT): In this process, the fertilization of the egg and the sperm take place under laboratory settings. It requires a surgical procedure to transfer the fertilized eggs into the Fallopian tubes.
In addition to these, some other variation in the IVF procedure may also be required. These include, egg donations, sperm donation, genetic testing and intra cytoplasmic sperm injection. The type of the method that will be employed will largely depend on the fertility status of the couples. All the above mentioned procedures have their own share of advantages, disadvantages and success rates. It does require mention that, all the variations in the IVF cycle may call for some additional costs. It is therefore best to discuss all the possibilities with your doctor and also confirm about the total costs incurred for your IVF cycle.
How does IVF work?
IVF process may not be similar for all couples. It would vary depending on need of every couple and their fertility report. A typical IVF cycle would be as follows:
- The natural monthly cycle would be suppressed through medications.
- The ovaries are stimulated using fertility drugs to produce multiple numbers of quality eggs.
- Ultrasound examinations would be carried out throughout the process to monitor the ovaries.
- Eggs would be retrieved from the ovaries using Transvaginal aspiration method.
- Thereafter, the best and mature eggs are kept for fertilization with the sperm. The sperms are separated from the semen sample collected either from your partner or through a donor. The process of fertilization is carried out in a laboratory dish under controlled settings.
- Lastly, after the fertilization process, the group of cells known as blastocyst – the embryo is transferred to the mother’s womb. If the age of the woman is 40 years and above then more than 2 embryos are transferred.
Success rates of IVF
The success rates of IVF treatment depend on various factors. These consist of the age of the woman, her fertility status and mode of treatment employed. However, it has been seen that for women under the age of 35 years, the Ivf success rate is calculated to be 30 – 35%. For women, aged between 35 – 37 years, the success rates is just 25%. For those women who are aged between 38 – 40 years, the success rate is estimated to be 15 – 20%. For those more than 40 years of age, the success rate is pretty low – just about 6 – 10%. It is thus clear, that with advancing age the success rate of IVF treatment undergoes a steady decline. It also needs mentioning that, IVF treatment helps resolve infertility issues, which has a higher success rate if the woman is between the age group of 30 – 40 years. Beyond this age group, the chances of a successful pregnancy undergo a significant decline even with assisted reproductive technology.