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 Cleveland.
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.
In Vitro Fertilization: New Hope for Overcoming Infertility
Here's a step by step description of what usually happens during an IVF treatment cycle.1. Fertility assessmentAt your first meeting, the doctor will discuss your medical and fertility history. This will be followed by a fertility assessment of both the partners to determine which treatment process will work best for you and increase your chances of conception. The fertility assessment will include ultrasound, blood tests, determination of sperm count and quality of eggs. IVF treatment is not a painful procedure at all and you needn't worry or be stressed about it, especially in the hands of a good doctor. Also, arrangements will be made for special psychological counselling sessions to help you cope with stress and anxieties regarding your infertility and IVF treatment.2. Ovulation stimulationThis is a standard procedure in IVF treatment or other assisted reproductive methods. Medication and injections are used to induce ovarian follicle development and oocyte maturation. It also prepares a woman's uterus for embryo implantation by supporting the endometrial tissues onto which the embryo will be implanted in case of fertilization. The growth of the follicle and the development of the uterine tissues are monitored by serial ultrasound scanning till the follicle is ready for collection. This process takes about two weeks.After egg collection you will be given medication to support the uterine lining. The medication is given in the form of pessaries, injection or gel.5. Embryo transferEmbryo transfer is normally carried out 48 hours after the egg collection. For this procedure a fine tube (catheter) is passed through the cervix and the embryos are injected high into the uterus in a minute amount of culture medium. This technique does not normally require sedation. Medical support is given for upto 15 days to support implantation.A urine pregnancy test (BhCG) is carried out 15 days after the embryo transfer. If the test is positive, the monitoring continues till the detection of foetal heart beat. If conception does not occur, the cycle is repeated.