Infertility is defined as not being able to conceive a child despite trying for at least a year. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, infertility affects 6.1 million American women and their partners, about 10 percent of the reproductive age population. This infertility percentage is almost the same for Springfield.
Though this issue concerns most women, it is a myth that infertility is always a woman’s problem. Experts say that 80 percent of cases which was diagnosed with infertility are due to male problems. Infertility may be due to a single cause in either a woman or her partner, or a combination of factors that may prevent a pregnancy from occurring or continuing. According to the NWHRC (National Women’s Health Resource Center), most women in their late 30s are 30 percent less fertile than they were in their early 20s. About 20 percent of infertility cases are the result of fallopian tube disease. It also added that between 30 and 40 percent of women with endometriosis are infertile. In 85 to 90 percent of all cases, infertility is treated with either medication or surgery. However, recent improvements and innovations in medications such as microsurgery, and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), make pregnancy possible. There are now more than 45, 000 babies that were born using IVF.
In Vitro Fertilization is a fertility procedure which was first done successfully in 1978 in England by Dr. Robery Edwards, an embryologist and Dr. Patrick Steptoe, a gynecologist. Since then, the technology has been further advanced and developed by physicians and embryologists, with over 20,000 babies born worldwide. The possibility of a continuing pregnancy being achieved through IVF has improved from practically nothing to a one-time chance in 4 to 6 trials.
IVF is the original 'test-tube' baby technique. It was developed more than 30 years ago for the treatment of women with damaged Fallopian tubes, and this remains an important reason for treatment today.
How does IVF work?
All IVF treatments begin with a course of hormone therapy to stimulate the development of several follicles in the ovary. These are collected as eggs, which are then fertilised in a test-tube ('in vitro') to create several embryos. After between two and five days in an incubator, one or two of these embryos are transferred through the vagina to the uterus, where implantation occurs and pregnancy begins. However, in IVF as in natural conception, not every embryo implants to become a pregnancy, which is why surplus embryos are frozen - so that a subsequent transfer might be tried if the first one fails. Freezing is now an essential part of every clinic's IVF programme.
Single Embryo Transfer
Because the transfer of two or more embryos is associated with multiple pregnancy, there has been a determined effort in recent years to cut this multiple rate by transferring just one embryo and freezing the remainder. At the LWC we encourage single embryo transfer in patients with a good chance of success.
The most widely reported 'side effect' associated with IVF is a multiple pregnancy. There is also a very small risk that some women (1-2%) will over-react to the hormone drugs used to stimulate the ovaries, but ultrasound and hormone monitoring during this drug treatment phase usually ensures that any over-reaction is foreseen and any risk avoided. Egg collection can be uncomfortable, and is often performed with a local anaesthetic.
As with other type of fertility treatment, success rates in IVF decline once patients reach the age of 35 or so. Before that, IVF pregnancy rates at the LWC are around 50% per cycle.
IVF Process: 4 Steps to Getting Pregnant Are you having problems getting pregnant? Then you may wonder if in vitro fertilization (IVF) is right for you. Many women find pregnancy success after trying IVF. If you are ready to learn more, check out the four primary steps you can expect during the in vitro fertilization process. In this article we answer the common question "What is IVF?" Step 1: Ovulation induction Before and during the in vitro fertilization process, your fertility specialist will monitor your ovaries and the timing of the egg release. The doctor will make sure that your ovaries are producing eggs, and that your hormone levels are normal, among other procedures. Most women take fertility medicines or hormones at this time to stimulate the ovaries to produce one or more eggs. Having several eggs available for IVF will increase the chances that you will get pregnant. If you cannot produce any eggs, talk to your doctor about donor eggs for the IVF process. Step 2: Egg retrieval During this step in the IVF process, pain medication is given to reduce any discomfort. Then a very thin needle is passed through the upper vaginal wall. With the use of vaginal ultrasound, fluid is removed from the follicles under gentle suction. Immediately after aspiration of the follicle, the oocyte (egg) is isolated from the follicular fluid. The egg is placed in a culture dish containing nutrient media and then transferred to the incubator. Read a personal story of IVF and egg retrieval Step 3: Fertilization The next step of the IVF process is the fertilization of the egg. A sperm sample is secured, either from your partner or a donor, and the most active sperm is mixed with the egg in a special chamber. Sometimes the sperm is directly injected into the egg. Then, the sperm and egg are placed in an incubator and monitored to make sure that a healthy embryo develops. Step 4: Embryo transfer and Implantation The final step of the IVF process is the embryo transfer. First, the embryos are examined to select the healthiest ones for transfer. To transfer the embryo(s), a speculum is placed into your vagina and the embryo(s) are transferred via a small plastic tube placed through the cervix into the uterine cavity. After the IVF process is complete, bed rest is often advised for around 24 hours. Read a personal story of IVF and embryo transfer From IVF to pregnancy In just a few weeks after undergoing the in vitro fertilization process, you are able to take a pregnancy test. Many women find out that they are pregnant after the IVF process, but others realize that the procedure did not work. Before you embark on the IVF process, look into IVF success rates for women in your age group. While the average couple may undergo 2 to 3 attempts with the IVF process before a successful pregnancy occurs, once you get pregnant, it is no different from a pregnancy established naturally. And, the IVF pregnancy is not considered high risk. Ask a doctor about IVF Sources Dugdale D, Storck, S., Zieve, D. In vitro fertilization (IVF). National Institutes of Health/U.S. National Library of Medicine. American Pregnancy Association. In Vitro Fertilization: IVF. 2007 American Society for Reproductive Medicine. PATIENT FACT SHEET Risks of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Sunderam S, Chang, J., Flowers, L., Kulkarni, A., Sentelle, G., Jeng, G., Macaluso, M. CDC. Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance --- United States, 2006. June 12, 2009 [updated June 12, 2009; cited 58(SS05)]; 1-25].
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