Artificial insemination is a lengthy and not always a pleasant procedure. But sometimes this is the only way to become a mother. When is it worth thinking about IVF, where to start and what to expect?
“If a married woman after 30 is having a regular sex life for six months and pregnancy still does not occur, she urgently needs to contact a specialist in the field of infertility treatment”, says Dr. Natalia Dankovych, obstetrician-gynecologist and director general of the network of medical reproductive centers “Mother and Child.” She also added, “If a woman in her mid-30s, it means that she needs to see a fertility specialist as soon as possible, as the time is not her ally.”
Before actually proceeding with in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, the doctor will most likely suggest several alternative infertility treatment methods. Only in case if these methods turn out to be ineffective, the doctor decides that to continue with IVF is the most optimal option. Obstruction or absence of the fallopian tubes, pelvic adhesions, impaired folliculogenesis and ovulation are among the main indications for implementation of IVF treatment.
It also could be a male factor. Such diagnoses as infertility of unexplained origin, obstructive azoospermia, asthenozoospermia, oligo-astheno-teratozoospermia, erectile dysfunction, and anatomical defects of penis are justifiable reasons for carrying out IVF procedure. Once the decision is made, a doctor has to be prepared for a lengthy journey and look forward to a successful and productive outcome.
Pregnancy after the first IVF cycle (with no donor eggs) occurs in 30-40% of cases among women who are 34 years old or younger. After a woman reaches 35 years old, her chances of getting pregnant start decreasing.
Women aged 35-37 years have a slightly less than 30% chance of getting pregnant. Respectively, women aged 38-40 years – 20-21%; women aged 41-42 years – 11%; after 43 years – less than 5%.
First of all, a lot depends on the individual characteristics of the organism. And secondly, with each new cycle of IVF, chances of getting pregnant are increasing. The IVF procedure is started from a detailed examination of a patient, during which the therapist will have to evaluate the somatic conditions of the patient’s body, blood and other body fluids will be analyzed in great detail, a series of ultrasound examinations will tell the specialist how the internal organs are functioning, including thyroid and mammary glands. A male patient will have to undergo a series of blood and semen tests. It is to note that a woman does not necessarily have to be officially married to a sperm donor. However, it is required by law that both participants in IVF procedure have to be single.
If the examination did not reveal any contraindications, among which are somatic and mental diseases that are not compatible with gestation and childbirth, the length of the uterus is not less than 35 mm, acute inflammatory diseases, benign or malignant tumors and formations are absent, the next stage of IVF is ovulation induction.
This stage actually consists of a series of injections: from 8 to 14 days before the onset of the menstrual cycle, it is necessary to inject intramuscularly gonadotropin – a hormonal drug that stimulates the production of several eggs.
At the same time, it is likely that a patient will have to take additional hormonal drugs that do not allow the eggs to mature prematurely. At this stage, a patient will often need to visit the doctor every two – three days to measure the level of hormones in the blood and to be observed with the help of ultrasound devices in connection with the ovaries behavior. In addition to medical, psychological help is also needed: due to hormonal treatment, sudden mood swings will may become common.
When one of the follicles, in which an egg cell matures reaches a size of 16-20 mm it is a high time for a transvaginal aspiration. This is one of the most unpleasant procedures of the whole cycle: a needle is transvaginally inserted with help of the ultrasound machine, which aspirates the follicular fluid along with the eggs. The procedure lasts from 15 to 40 minutes and is carried out under a general anesthesia. On the eve of the procedure the doctors recommend not to have breakfast and minimize the consumption of fluids. After the procedure a patient should have a bed rest. One of the side effects may be tension in the lower abdomen – not painful, but unpleasant, and you should not be afraid of it. On the contrary, this feeling suggests that everything went well.
Mature eggs acquired during aspiration are sent to special incubators. They are fertilized there (the procedure for obtaining sperm, by the way, is often much simpler: banal masturbation works, and only in very rare cases doctors use a needle). After about three days, fertilized eggs develop to 6-10 cell embryos. They are transplanted into the uterine cavity. This procedure is also not pleasant: the catheter is inserted into the cervix, which causes a feeling of pressure, although it does not require anesthesia.
You can implant from one up to three embryos. The more embryos are implanted, the higher are the chances of getting pregnant. But it is has to be noted that the more embryos, the higher chances that there will be twins or even triplets. On the one hand, for a woman who unsuccessfully tried to become a mother for 10 years, three children at once are a gift from above. But on the other hand, with such a pregnancy, the risk of miscarriage increases.
Every woman should remember about the danger of miscarriage while undergoing IVF procedure. On the average, the spontaneous, unplanned expulsion of a fetus occurs in 25-35% of all cases after IVF procedure.
In addition, it is likely that a doctor will prescribe another hormonal course, this time a progesterone, which will help the embryo to gain a foothold on the uterine wall. After 10–16 days after the fertilization procedure (one IVF cycle takes from four to six weeks), it is possible to determine whether a pregnancy has occurred by a blood test. Three weeks are needed to confirm the pregnancy by an ultrasound test.
One of the main dangers of IVF is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Symptoms include a sharp increase in body weight, a feeling of heaviness, intermittent breathing, dizziness, nausea. The presence of the syndrome is a signal that the ovaries have reacted too actively to gonadotropin. Other complications of IVF may include allergic reactions, bleeding, acute inflammation of the genital organs or exacerbation of chronic diseases, and ectopic pregnancy.
Dear ladies, please be advised that IVF Group Surrogacy Services as the exclusive representative of the network of reproductive medical centers “Mother and Child” is ready to schedule a consultation for you with the high-class fertility specialists, who are the members of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) to see whether the artificial fertilization procedure is right for you. Please contact us at + 1 (213) 277-5874 or visit our website at https://ivf-international.com/ to let us help you.