IVF (In-vitro fertilization or a “test-tube baby” procedure)
IVF is the most advanced treatment in reproduction. The fertilization of eggs occurs outside of the female body. Multiple eggs are removed from the woman’s ovary using a needle guided by ultrasound under anesthesia and then mixed with her partner’s sperm. Resulting embryos are kept in the incubator for several days and allowed to divide and grow. The developing embryos are then placed into the uterus by introducing a thin plastic catheter through the cervix. If the quality of the man’s semen is poor, his sperm may not be able to fertilize female eggs on their own. In these cases, one individual sperm can be injected into the egg directly with a needle using the microscopic ICSI. Men who have no sperm in the ejaculate may undergo a direct sperm aspiration from the epididymis or testis. If the woman fails to develop good quality eggs in her ovaries, the couple may decide to use eggs obtained from a healthy and fertile donor. The resulting embryos are then placed into the woman’s uterus.
The process is as follows:
The ovaries are stimulated by hormone injections to allow multiple eggs to grow (in a cycle, mostly only one egg is produced every month)
The growth of the eggs in the ovaries is monitored by ultrasound and hormone tests
When the follicles reach large enough sizes, a hormone (hCG) injection is given that causes the final maturation of the eggs.
34-36 hours after the hormone (hCG) injection, the eggs are removed (or aspirated) from the ovaries by a needle introduced via the vaginal route under ultrasound guidance
The eggs are mixed with the partner’s semen and placed in an incubator to fertilize
The fertilized eggs known as embryos are placed into the uterus 2-5 days after fertilization
A pregnancy test can be done two weeks later to find out if the IVF procedure has been successful