In vitro fertilization is a complex series of medical procedures aimed at helping with fertility and assisting with the conception of a child. The mature ovum is collected from the ovaries and fertilized using sperm while in a laboratory setting.
The fertilized egg, referred to as an embryo, is transferred to the uterus, a process that can take around three weeks. These steps may be split into different parts on occasion; thus, the process can take longer.
In Vitro Fertilization is an effective form of assisted reproduction since the procedure can be done with a couple’s own eggs and sperm and implanted into the female partner or a suitable surrogate.
IVF may also involve eggs and sperm from a known or anonymous donor and can be used to the same effect.
Why is In Vitro Fertilization done?
In vitro fertilization is a viable solution for infertility or genetic challenges that make it difficult to conceive.
How to prepare for IVF
Women scheduled to receive IVF are required to undergo some preparation to improve their chances of success. This is because the success rate of assisted reproductive technology depends on a few factors.
These factors include
- the ages of prospective mothers,
- health status,
- treatment approaches are chosen.
- the status of the embryo,
- reproductive history,
- lifestyle factors,
- and the root cause of infertility.
Before starting a cycle of IVF, prospective mothers and sperm donors undergo various screenings. These include;
Ovarian reserve testing
Doctors test the concentration of the follicle-stimulating hormone, anti-Mullerian hormone, and estrogen during the first few days of a menstrual cycle.
In addition to an ovarian ultrasound, this ovarian reserve testing helps to predict how ovaries are likely to respond to fertility medication.
Doctors examine the inside lining of a prospective mother’s uterus before starting IVF. Some sources state that this may involve sonohysterography where a fluid is injected into the uterus through the cervix. An ultrasound is then used to obtain detailed images of the uterine cavity.
A uterine exam may also include a hysteroscopy where a thin and pliable telescope is used to examine the uterus after being inserted through the cervix.
This analysis evaluates specific parameters of semen and the sperm within it.
It tests the quality, morphology, number, and motility of a man’s sperm to assess its health and viability.
The test requires freshly retrieved semen, and for a highly accurate result, a doctor conducts the analysis more than once.
Mock embryo transfer
A mock transfer is used to determine the depth of the uterine cavity and to identify the technique with the highest chance of successfully placing an embryo into the uterus.
What is the cost of IVF?
A typical IVF cycle costs between $12,000 to $17,000 without including medication. The inclusion of medication increases the cost of IVF to nearly $25,000.
What do you need to consider before beginning an IVF cycle?
Apart from the aforementioned costs, there are a few important things you may want to consider.
– How many embryos will be transferred?
– What will be done with any extra embryos?
– How will you handle multiple pregnancies?
– How will you address potential complications that arise when using donor eggs, sperms, or a gestational carrier?
What should you expect with IVF?
The onset of an IVF cycle involves the use of synthetic hormones to stimulate ovaries into producing multiple eggs, rather than a single egg as expected with the monthly cycle.
Multiple eggs are necessitated by the reality that some eggs do not fertilize or develop normally as expected after fertilization.
You should also expect several different medications during IVF. These include;
- Medication for ovarian stimulation – may include luteinizing hormones, follicle-stimulating hormones, or a combination of both. These are used to ensure more than one egg is developed at a time.
- Medication for oocyte maturation – human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and similar medication are used to help the eggs mature when the follicles are ready for egg retrieval. This typically happens after 8 to 14 days.
- Medication for the lining of the uterus – a doctor may recommend taking progesterone supplements to make the uterus lining more receptive to implantation.
It takes around 1 to 2 weeks of ovarian stimulation before eggs are ready for retrieval. There may be some additional tests and evaluations to determine whether eggs are ready for collection. These may include;
- Blood tests to evaluate responses to ovarian stimulation. Progesterone levels remain typically low until after ovulation, while estrogen levels generally increase as follicles develop.
- Vaginal ultrasound. This involves imaging ovaries to monitor follicle development, which are fluid-filled ovarian sacs where the maturation of eggs happens.
Are there side effects after IVF in Surrogacy?
Typical side effects of IVF in surrogacy include
- Mild bloating
- Tenderness in the breast area resulting from high estrogen levels
- Mild cramping
- Passing small amounts of clear or bloody fluids shortly after the procedure
Reproductive health experts recommend contacting your doctor if you experience moderate to severe pain after the embryo transfer.
Your doctor can evaluate for complications such as ovarian torsion, severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, and infections in general.
IVF in Surrogacy
In gestational surrogacy, an egg from an intended mother is fertilized with sperm from the intended father or that from a donor in a laboratory. The fertilized egg is then transferred into a surrogate’s uterus, after which she carries the pregnancy to term.
This form of surrogacy results in the lack of a biological relationship between a surrogate and the baby.
In this form of surrogacy, a surrogate and intended parents both take fertility medication to synchronize cycles for a fresh cycle. Alternatively, embryos are created and promptly frozen to be transferred to a suitable surrogate at a later date.
If there is a failed implantation, intended parents can opt for a second embryo transfer. If the implantation is successful, an IVF clinic monitors the surrogate until 10 to 12 weeks, after which she is attended to by a certified OB/GYN.
In vitro fertilization is a complex and delicate process that requires some funding, time, and preparation for successful results.
Consult your doctor to find out what factors apply to you, your surrogate, and your partner.
Find out more by reading about and connecting with our surrogacy community to explore more information about IVF in surrogacy.