In-vitro fertilisation is an Assisted Reproduction Technology (ART) process whereby eggs are harvested from the woman, after hormonal stimulation of the ovaries, and then fertilised manually in a laboratory by combining the egg with the partner’s sperm. The embryo is then transferred to the uterus.
An IVF treatment is required in cases where the fallopian tubes are blocked or damaged, there is decreased sperm count or sperm motility, there is a history of genetic disorder, women have uterine fibroids, ovulation disorders, when women have had their fallopian tubes removed and other such unexplained infertility.
Sometimes, if there is a problem with the sperm, an Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is used along with IVF to further increase the chances of conception. ICSI involves the direct injection of a single sperm into each egg, under microscopic control.
IVF steps vary from one patient to the other but for the most part consist of the following steps:
- Administering hormone injections to ensure 10-12 days of ovarian stimulation. The medication to be prescribed and dosage are monitored through regular scans and blood tests throughout this period
- Usually 36 hours prior to egg collection, on the final day of ovarian stimulation, an hCG injection is administered in order to mature the eggs
- Egg collection is conducted at the same time as sperm collection, under sedation or a mild general anaesthetic
- Insemination or ICSI is conducted on the day of egg collection
- Based on the quality and available number of embryos, they are transferred 2-5 days after egg collection.
- A blood test is performed 14 days after egg collection to determine pregnancy