IVF Treatment

Useful information on IVF treatment, covering the procedure used for embryo development, pregnancy success rates and related ethical issues involved.
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a technique whereby egg cells are fertilised outside the mother's body in cases where conception is impossible through normal intercourse. "In vitro" is Latin for "in glass", referring to the test tubes.

The technique was developed in the United Kingdom by Doctors Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards. The first so-called "test-tube baby", Louise Brown, was born as a result on July 25, 1978 amid intense controversy over the safety and morality of the procedure. The first successful IVF treatment in the US took place in 1981, and there have been 45,000 babies born with the aid of IVF treatment since then. In brief, the process involves removing ova (eggs) from the woman's body and letting sperm fertilise them in a fluid medium. The fertilised eggs are then transferred to the mother's uterus where normal development occurs. IVF is used commonly when the father's sperm count is low or the woman's fallopian tubes are blocked.

Ovulation induction agents, such as Pergonal are usually given to the mother 8-10 days before treatment, as they allow larger numbers of eggs to be recovered, improving the chances of a successful fertilisation. Before the development of such drugs few eggs would be retrieved because it required careful monitoring of the mother's 'LH surge' in order to recover eggs at the right time. This also often resulted in the performing of egg retrievals in the early morning or night time because of the unpredictability of such an occurrence. As well as 'superovulation' inducing drugs, gonadotropin releasing hormone agonosts carefully control the timing of retrieval by preventing any unexpected LH surges.

The eggs can be retrieved from the mother using the more common sonographic technique involving an ultra-sound guided needle piercing the vagina. The follicles of the woman are punctured and the woman's follicular fluid is removed and placed in an incubator. Laparocopic egg recovery involves retrieval through an incision in the abdomen. This is used in women who also require a simultaneous assessment of their pelvic anatomy through a diagnostic laparoscopy.

Semen is also taken from the husband. It can be analysed using 'sperm penetration assays', where some sperm is checked to see whether it can puncture a zone-stripped hamster egg. The sperm can also be cultured to detect bacteria which can reduce the chances of pregnancy.

The sperm and the egg are incubated together (at a ratio of about 75,000:1) in the culture media for about 18 hours. The eggs and sperm should fertilise in the usual way in this media (see fertilisation), but if this is not possible, assisted fertilisation techniques -- such as injecting the sperm directly into the egg using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) techniques (see below) -- may be used. They are then passed to a special growth medium and left for 40 hours until the eggs have become pre-embryos.

The fertilised eggs are transferred to the woman's uterus through a thin, plastic catheter, which passes through her vagina and cervical canal. Often, multiple embryos are passed in to the uterus to improve chances of successful pregnancy. If this procedure is unsuccessful, the mother has to be given one month for recovery before the IVF egg-extraction procedure is repeated. This may be avoided by freezing embryos in liquid nitrogen when they are fertilised, and transferring them during the natural ovulation cycle again.

The mother has to wait two weeks before she returns to the clinic for the pregnancy test. During this time she can boost the chances of pregnancy by continuing to take progesterone - which keeps the uterus lining thickened and suitable for implantation to occur. The chances of a successful pregnancy is approximately 20 per cent for each IVF cycle.

Certain ethical problems have been raised primarily due to technology being developed which has enabled the extracted embryos to be frozen. This was widely publicised when a Californian couple died in a plane crash without leaving instructions on what to do with the frozen embryos they had left in an Australian clinic. This situation has been largely solved by consent agreements given by couples before they undergo the procedure.

The use of frozen embryos that are no longer needed by the mother for research (for example stem cell research) is a hotly contested issue. A lot of the problem for some people is due to the embryos being destroyed during the course of research. Some groups protest that these embryos have the right to life, whereas other scientists reply that they would have been destroyed anyway.

Another problem brought up by the use of IVF is the unconcentional possibilities regarding who uses the technique. In 2001, a French woman received worldwide publicity when she posed as the wife of her brother in order to give birth to a donor egg fertilised by his sperm. Some saw this as a form of incest; others thought it prove psychologically unhealthy for the child when he learned how he was delivered; whereas other people simply couldn't see anything wrong with the situation.

The use of IVF provides a greater range of options for single people and same-sex couples wishing to have children. Although both groups already raise children, IVF makes the option much simpler and could make the option widespread. Some people object that this could give psychological problems to the child if they grow up without a mother/father role-model.
Author : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IVF

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my amh test levels came back at 0.57 which i'm told is really low will ivf help me ..
by mitchell04 20th Jun 2013, 3:40pm
Hi there, Im 20 years old and have been trying for a baby with my partner for 2 years now. I have been diagnosed with PCOS (polycystic ovaries syndrome) so I am finding it really hard to conceive and its really upsetting me now. Can someone my age go for IVF and how much does it cost for the treatment many thanks xx
by GemmaJamie 11th Apr 2011, 9:46am
hi to
Anyone about to start ivf. if you are between the age of 30 and 35, have never done ivf before and have no children already, get your doctor to right to the primary health care trust for funding for you first cycle. its free this way and if it fails you can put this down to a free trial.
Mine has just failed it was on the nhs.
We will start saving for next year to try again, if you need to know how ivf works i will be glad to answer all your questions right to if you bleed before the preg test, i needed information when i was bleeding and i could not find the answers i needed. i'll tell you everything.
by dellafrisbee 23rd Sep 2010, 8:52am
hi im 23 im currently on the first stages of fertility treatment (the nasal spray) my partner is 38 they've told us there is a 30percent chance of getting pregnant is ivf succesful im hope full but still scared can you give me some advice
by gemz8723 12th Aug 2010, 10:58am
why is it that the 2 week wait after the embryo transfer and doing the pregnancy test seems like forever
by loops2 12th Aug 2010, 10:52am
i was unfortunately unsucessfull with ICSI but was close and had good support from the hospital. would advise quick response tghouh
by drummer 12th Aug 2010, 9:04am
Hi I'm 20 and my partner is in his 40 I so want a baby but he has a zero sperm count and I have to wait till I'm 23. Before they will even think about it but my fear is but the time I'm 23 he will be nearly 50 and be so is not ganna wanna be a dad then has any one got any advice for me Im really at a lose end thanks guys xxx
by Kel1989 11th Jun 2010, 5:26pm
hi everyone!!
i am 20 years old and my partner and i will be undergoing ivf treatment in september 2010
just looking for a bit of advice on what to expect,and how you guys coped during ur time if use have had ivf,thanksxx
by lorenzoxx 18th May 2010, 4:56pm
I'm happy that many people want to get pregnant but I think adopting a child is better than resorting to IVF Treatment because IVF process, in practice, is not respectful to the human lives of the superfluous embryons.
by dennisrod 14th May 2010, 4:08pm
i am 40 i have 4 children but i was sterilized 16 years ago it cannot be reversed my new partner is younger than me and wants a baby so we have been told ivf is the only way forward do you think i will be able to concieve this way as we want to do it now before i get any older
by welshrose 1st Feb 2010, 9:21am
Im looking for a bit advce or help?

I am on my second try of ICSi. When i went for my first scan i was informed i had 11 possibly 12 follicles, on the 2nd scan i had 6! Now this morning 5 days into starting my stimulate drugs i have 5! Really panicking now can anyone help with why this has happened? Also they wernt big enough to measure yet? Is this normal?

Would be grateful for any help with this!

Thank you so much

by AndSand 17th Nov 2009, 2:44pm
i dont know really where to start really ive know for about 5 years that i could not have any kids as to which i was really heart broken. in so many ways i blamed myself ,after so many years of waiting for the answer yes go for ivf treatment my heart dropped to the floor ( not literally lol) in a way im worried as to is it going to work or not and is there going to be any implications to having the ivf treatment and in a way is it going to affect my marriage well the only thing really to do is sit and wait and be patient which patience i do not have
by bex05 19th Oct 2009, 10:20am
I have got my 2 appointments now, 8th oct and 4the nov, to talk to us bout the procedure we go through to the icis treatment that we are having!! cant wait!! Im only 23, and im very upset and anxious of waiting, and every1 around me seems to be getting pregnant!!
by Janey23 28th Sep 2009, 9:32am
I have a cilld age 16yrs. My age is 44ys with IVF treatment is it possible to get another child
by Dearnankay 11th Sep 2009, 3:35pm
I have four children and got my tubes tied can this treatment still work for me I want another baby?!
by tootoo1 8th Sep 2009, 9:22am
we have gone through ivf once and misscarried, now we have done a second stint of the treatment and we're in the 2 week period after the eggs have been replaced, but are very nervous that we dont misscarry again, when is the earliest we do a test that would give a result (either way) also my wife has a cold is that harmfull?
by seaside 7th Sep 2009, 11:16am
by ShareenElliisBabyx 8th Jun 2009, 9:41am