05 Feb IVF Explained and How It Works
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) brings hope to couples wanting to conceive a baby that are 30 or older or that have various fertility issues. Couples may have waited to have children after the age of 30 in order to accomplish their life goals and many find it difficult to conceive due to a variety of causes.
As the body ages, fertility declines too.
Naturally, by age 28 the decline begins. The decline continues through age 35 then accelerates around age 39-42. A woman’s ability to conceive generally ends approximately 10 years after menopause. By age 40, there is a five-percent chance of becoming pregnant.
For some couples there are existing issues that prevent pregnancy from occurring. These include:
- blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
- partner fertility issues
- diminished egg supply
- ovulation disorders
- fibroid tumors
- genetic disorder
- fallopian tubes that have been removed
- unexplained fertility issues
IVF offers an option to overcome these issues making it possible to conceive. IVF is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) that helps couples to overcome blockages to pregnancy.
The procedure of IVF, in basic terms, involves taking eggs from the mother and sperm from the father and combining them in a “test tube” to grow embryos that are placed in the womb to continue developing into a viable fetus (es).
There are several steps to be completed before and throughout the process. These steps include:
- fertility medications
- evaluation of hormone levels
- removal of eggs with ultrasound guidance
- acquiring a sperm sample
- insemination in a lab dish and growth of embryos
- transfer of embryos to the uterus (3-5 days after insemination)
If successful the embryo implants in 7-10 days and begins growing.
Success depends on several factors including personal reproductive history, moms’ age, cause of infertility, and lifestyle.
Starting the process before age 35 has a high success rate and the rate decreases with age. This is the time when women say they feel their best, and after years of major career accomplishments, are ready to settle down and begin a family.
Many women can achieve successful pregnancy during the early and mid-30s but may find it more difficult to get pregnant.
Large sums of money are spent annually to develop new technology. With the use of new technologies experts are learning how to select the most viable reproductive cells and using only the best quality cells to increase chances of achieving pregnancy. Such procedures like time lapse technology let scientists understand how embryos develop and improves the selection process. New technologies increase the success rate to as high as 74%.