In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is an assisted reproduction technique that helps couples overcome infertility issues. The term, ‘in vitro’ is Latin for ‘in glass
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Since the technique first saw success back in 1978, there have now been over 8 million babies conceived through IVF
In preparation for an IVF cycle, the female partner would take medication to stimulate her ovaries and to produce mature follicles. With close monitoring, through an ultra sound scan, your clinician would decide when is the best time to harvest those eggs.
Eggs are collected under light sedation and are collected via a very thin needle. These eggs are then placed in a dish with your partner’s sperm or that of a donor, depending on your circumstances.
Depending on your age and the quality of those eggs, you may benefit from Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), where the sperm is injected directly in the centre of the egg.
In the laboratory the fertilisation takes place, and the developing embryos are monitored and graded to determine, which embryos have the best chance of survival.
Depending on your age and previous medical history, you may be advised to undergo Pre Implantation Genetic Diagnosis/Screening (PGD/PGS). For this procedure, the embryos are tested and this gives a clear indication of best grade of embryo and screens for genetic disorders, which is useful if there is a family history for disorders.
Your clinician will decide when is the best time to place those embryos back in the womb, and in consultation with you will decide how many embryos to transfer. 14 days after embryo transfer you then take a pregnancy test to see if the procedure was successful.
Not all couples struggling with infertility actually need an IVF cycle as there are many options available and your specific treatment plan will depend on your personal medical history.
Maternal age plays a big part in fertility treatment options. Women are born with all of their eggs; there is a marked decrease in fertility after the age of 35. You should seek medical help if after 12 months of trying to conceive no pregnancy has occurred if you are aged under 35. If you are over 35, you should seek help if no pregnancy has occurred after 6 months.
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