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What is IVF?
Natural or unassisted conception involves the joining of a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm inside the female body. The fertilized egg lingers in the lining of the womb and continues to grow. Sometimes, it becomes difficult for women to get natural conception and special medical procedures are employed to assist pregnancy. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of these fertility procedures. This article will enlighten you about what is IVF and how it works.
What is IVF Technique?
IVF is a type of assisted reproductive technology, in which mature eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and artificially fertilized by sperm in the lab. This fertilized egg is referred to as an embryo. Afterward, the embryo can be frozen for storage or it can be implanted in the female uterus. IVF consists of a complex series of procedures and is used to ward off genetic problems and assist with the conception of the baby. More than 2 million IVF babies have been born to date.
It is often asked what IVF is and how it helps infertility? In vitro fertilization is a procedure for infertility and genetic issues and is very effective in assisting reproduction. It is a medical procedure that helps in the fertilization of the egg in an artificial way. In some cases, other fertility procedures including fertility medicines to boost egg production or intrauterine insemination are tried prior to performing IVF. These procedures help to fertilize the egg inside the female body. Mostly, for women older than 40 years, IVF is advised as a primary technique.
IVF is also known to help genetic problems which are very common in family marriages. IVF has evolved to be an efficient, safe, relatively affordable, and readily accessible fertility procedure. However, the success rate of IVF depends upon different factors and fluctuates according to the situation. Age is a prime factor for IVF as according to the American Pregnancy Association, the success rate of IVF for women under the age of 35 is almost 43%, whereas it drops less than 15% for women older than 40 years.
How does IVF work?
IVF is also known as test-tube conception. Special conditions can be considered to make IVF work depending on the situation of the patient. As fertilization in IVF takes place outside the body, therefore, in fertilization we can use;
- Eggs of the patient and her partner’s sperms
- Eggs of the patient and sperm of the donor
- Eggs of the donor and patient partner’s sperm
- Eggs and sperm of the donor
- Donated embryos
In any of the aforementioned situations, eggs are fertilized with sperm in a glass dish in the lab. Once the embryo is fertilized, it can be stored or placed inside the uterus. Sometimes, the embryo is implanted in a “gestational carrier”; a woman who carries out the pregnancy for an infertile couple.
In-vitro fertilization has been considered beneficial for females who are unable to have normal pregnancy due to some health issues or genetic problems. IVF procedure is based on five delicate steps.
- The first step involves superovulation in which egg production is increased via fertility drugs. Normally one egg is produced in a woman’s body in 30 days. Fertility drugs help to produce several eggs in a short period of time. During this step, regular transvaginal ultrasounds are taken to observe egg production.
- In the second step, the ovulated egg is retrieved from the woman’s body through minor surgery.
- Egg retrieval is followed by insemination, in which sperm is placed with the best quality and healthy eggs. In insemination, the mixture is stored in a controlled environment chamber until it becomes an embryo. If chances of fertility are very low, sperms are injected directly into the egg. This process is called intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI.
- In the fourth step, the fertilized egg divides and becomes a proper embryo whose growth is observed for at least five days.
- In the last step, the embryo is transferred to the women’s womb. This is done in 5 days after egg retrieval. If the embryo properly adheres to the lining of the womb and starts to grow, the IVF procedure becomes successful and results in pregnancy.
Following are the situations where IVF is recommended by the allopathic community of medicine for couples with infertility issues who want to have a baby. Read on and find out if getting pregnant naturally might be the alternative to IVF.
- Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
- Genetic disorder
- Disorders of ovulation
- Fibroids in uterus
- Malfunction of ovaries
- Reduced fertility in women above the age of 40
- Infertility in males such as low sperm count and variation in the shape of sperms
- Removal of the fallopian tube
How to Get Pregnant Naturally
Although there are several available force methods to pregnancy, you might want to adopt natural ways to enhance the chances of conception.
The first thing that doctors of all kinds will suggest to help increase the chances of pregnancy is to have a healthy BMI. It is very important to maintain a healthy weight for fertility. Being overweight or underweight can affect fertility negatively. Routine exercises increase the blood flow in our body, so proper aerobic exercises at least 3 to 4 times a week are helpful in healthy pregnancies. Moreover, exercises increase muscle strength and may also help in reducing weight quickly which is beneficial for successful conception. Prenatal yoga is a great exercise and very beneficial for the health of pregnant women.
Our diet plays a vital role in keeping the hormone balance in our body. Studies suggest that eating an antioxidant-rich diet helps in deactivating the harmful radicals which damage eggs and sperm, and impede conception. Other natural pregnancy suggestions include:
- Drinking enough water is hugely underrated but helps to keep the uterus from contracting and miscarrying.
- High stress levels lead to shallow breathing and a tight uterus. Deep breathing and anti-stress vitamins and minerals like Vitamin B complex and Magnesium can relax your uterus so implantation can take AND hold.
- Doing an infertility cleanse – if you have been on chemical birth control or have had digestive/bowel concerns.
- Read about how natural progesterone cream may help with miscarriage and implantation by being used in the second phase of the monthly cycle; if you have a history of hormonal imbalance.
- Obviously smoking, alcohol, caffeine, and recreational drugs are counter-productive for fertility and increase the chances of miscarriage. Eliminating the consumption of these products not only increases fertility and the likelihood of conception but makes a healthier baby.
- Some recent studies suggest that consuming iron supplements and obtaining iron from plant-based foods may help to reduce ovulatory dysfunction and increase chances of getting pregnant naturally.
Read more about the natural remedies to get pregnant fast and easy.
The Beyond Fertility blog is loaded with articles on how to overcome infertility naturally and make a healthier baby in the process.
Wishing you all the best.