Health Articles - Using the Help of an IVF Treatment

by ANIRBAN BHATTACHARYA - Date: 2009-06-09 - Word Count: 391 Share This!

IVF or In Vitro Fertilization is one of the most popular ways of conceiving artificially when normal reproduction is not possible. It is perhaps the best known "Assisted Reproductive" procedure employed by millions of men and women worldwide every year to become parents. It is also referred to as the procedure for making "test tube" babies that first came to be practiced almost two decades ago and has been helping countless infertile couples to conceive and bear children. The test tube association, however, may not be entirely accurate as these days, the artificial fertilization actually occurs in a dish rather than in a test tube.

The IVF procedure was developed to help couples overcome what is known as tubal factor infertility or in cases where a woman had their tubes "tied". In vitro diagnostics and IVF are looked upon as the last resort in cases where such problems cannot be resolved with the help of tubal reversal treatment, a standard procedure under such circumstances. Today, however, IVF is widely employed to counter infertility that can arise not only from tubal causes but also immunological problems, unexplained reasons, male factor infertility and many others.

IVF primarily involves four major steps.

Step 1: The patient is administered medications to promote the growth of multiple follicles on the ovaries. This step is known as ovarian stimulation or ‘superovulation'.

Step 2: It involves monitoring follicular growth with the help of ultrasound, to determine egg growth and uterine lining development. On reaching an optimal level, a trigger shot of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is administered to the patient.

Step 3: This step commences 36 hours after completion of Step 2 where the eggs are retrieved by ultrasound-guided-needle aspiration. A sperm specimen is also prepared for insemination which is washed and placed in a dish with the eggs. After 18 hours in the incubator, the embryos are observed microscopically for normal fertilization where the pronucleus of egg and sperm can be seen and incubated for further development into multi-cell embryos.

Step 4: The last step involves transferring the embryos into the uterine cavity via a catheter. Additional embryos may be frozen and stored for future use.

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