In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In-Vitro Technology Explained
Otherwise simply known as IVF, this process is defined as fertilizing an egg with a sperm while outside of the body. These procedures are frequently utilized when other forms of assisted reproductive alternatives have proven unsuccessful. A simplified explanation of this method includes removing the egg from a woman's ovaries at the appropriate point in her menstrual cycle and placing this egg into a fluid substrate that is found in a clinic or laboratory. Doctors will then allow the egg to be fertilized by selected sperm either from a donor or by the would-be father. After it is confirmed that the egg was indeed fertilized it will be transferred back to the woman's uterus with hopes that it will continue to develop naturally and with no complications during pregnancy. The reason why IVF works is because it cuts out several factors which may prevent pregnancy, a few examples being poor quality sperm (the sperm is unable to swim all the way to the egg); the egg getting trapped in the fallopian tubes and being unable to reach the womb; and the body being unable to release an egg.
The steps involved with the process of IVF:
- The removal of the egg from the uterus.
- The egg is then fertilized in laboratory conditions.
- Once confirmed, the egg will be surgically inserted back into the uterus of the patient.
The Benefits and Risks of In-Vitro Procedures
The most pronounced benefit is the fact that women with damaged Fallopian tubes will enjoy much higher pregnancy success rates. Additionally, there will be no need to surgically repair these tubes, as the embryo will be inserted directly into the uterus. However, the beneficial effects of this treatment can realistically be experienced by any couple who may be having difficulty conceiving. Also, the effectiveness of this technology has greatly improved over time. The average rate of pregnancies is approximately thirty-four percent and the live birth rate has risen to twenty-eight percent.
Notwithstanding these obvious advantages, in-vitro technologies do have some drawbacks worth mentioning. One of the risks involved is the fact that these solutions can have an adverse effect on the health of the mother should her health be fragile. This is due to the medication that she must take during the gestation period. There are also instances where the embryo will migrate back into the Fallopian tubes. This is known as an ectopic pregnancy and the process must be aborted. As multiple embryos will sometimes be inserted into the uterus, there is also a chance for multiple pregnancies. Finally, the success rate of these treatments drops as the woman ages; only twelve percent of women over the age of forty will undergo live births. Very sadly IVF may not be affordable for all couples. The reason that IVF is so expensive is because the methods and techniques used to remove an egg is not yet commonplace and specialist equipment is used.
So, some of the main benefits of in-vitro solutions are:
- The ability to bypass the Fallopian tubes.
- The universal use of this procedure for any couples having difficulty conceiving.
- Modern technology has dramatically increased chances of a live birth.
Some of the possible disadvantages are:
- Health problems such as allergic reactions to fertility medications.
- The possibility of multiple births.
- This technology is less successful as a woman ages.
- May not be affordable