What is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?
IVF is an Assisted Reproduction treatment that consists of in vitro fertilization of the eggs and 3 – 5 days later, transferring 1 – 2 embryos to the woman’s uterus.
Procedure for In Vitro Fertilization
In general, an IVF cycle begins coinciding with the first days of the period. Sometimes it is necessary to program it with contraceptives.
- Ovarian stimulation and ultrasound follow-ups
There is no standard protocol for ovarian stimulation as each woman needs a personalized protocol.
Follicular recruitment is achieved by delivery of gonadotropins and follicle growth is monitored by serial transvaginal ultrasound.
Typically, the duration of this phase is 12 to 15 days, and 3 to 5 ultrasounds are needed.
- Ovarian puncture and in vitro fertilization
Egg extraction is performed by puncture of the follicles transvaginally, by ultrasound control and under sedation. Eggs can be fertilized in two ways:
- Traditional In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Sperms are deposited in the same culture medium in which the eggs are.
- In Vitro Fertilization With ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Microinjection)
A single sperm is injected into the cytoplasm of each egg.
- Embryo Culture
One day later, the fertilization process is checked and embryonic development is monitored in real-time (Time Lapse).
- Embryo Transfer and Cryopreservation
It is a simple and painless process, which takes place on day 3 or 5 (blastocyst) of the culture.
The selected embryos (no more than two) are introduced through a fine cannula into the uterus, under ultrasound control. The process takes between 10 and 20 minutes, and the remaining embryos are frozen.
When is an In Vitro Fertilization proposed?
- When the fallopian tubes are blocked or have reduced functionality.
- When the quantity and/or quality of sperm is low.
- In the presence of a hereditary disease for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD).
- After 4 unsuccessful attempts with Artificial Insemination.
- When the woman is over 38 years old.
How successful is In Vitro Fertilization / ICSI?
The success rate of this treatment is between 30% and 60%, it depends mainly on the age of the woman and the quality of the eggs.