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Birla Fertility & IVF
Birla Fertility & IVF

What are the 5 Stages of IVF?

  • Published on April 26, 2022
What are the 5 Stages of IVF?

In-vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In-vitro Fertilization is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) in which a woman’s eggs and a man’s sperm are combined outside the body in a petri dish (laboratory dish). 

One of the studies published in The Print, according to AIIMS, about 10-15 per cent of couples in India are said to have fertility issues. Infertility can be caused by a variety of reasons, but the most common is the reduction in sperm count in men and a decrease in egg reserve in women.

Every day we are constantly fighting against the feeling of not being able to conceive. In today’s time, technology has advanced to a level where IVF can help couples increase fertility and make it feasible to assist infertile couples in conceiving. 

Therefore, In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a procedure practised to aid in fertilization or to help with fertility or to prevent genetic abnormalities.

 

What factors contribute to male and female infertility?

Female Infertility

Infertility in a woman is defined as the inability to conceive after trying for at least a year or when a woman has had repeated miscarriages. Age, physical difficulties, hormone abnormalities, and lifestyle or environmental factors can all contribute to female infertility.

 

Below mentioned are some of the causes of infertility that necessitate IVF

  1. Damaged or blocked fallopian tube
  2. Ovulation disorders
  3. Pelvic adhesions
  4. Endometriosis

 

  • Damaged or blocked fallopian tube

If the fallopian tube is damaged, it prevents the sperm from reaching the egg for fertilization in the fallopian tube or prevents an embryo from reaching the uterus for pregnancy.

  • Ovulation disorders

Ovulation problems are a common cause of female infertility. It refers to a group of diseases that affect a woman’s endocrine system, which regulates the hormones and ovulation patterns (the release of an egg by the ovary throughout the menstrual cycle). Irregular or missing periods, as well as trouble becoming pregnant, are the two most prevalent signs of abnormal ovulation.

  • Pelvic adhesions

Pelvic adhesions develop when two pieces of tissue in the pelvic area are stuck together due to a layer of scar tissue. Surgery, infections (including Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or a burst appendix), or endometriosis can all cause an inflammatory reaction, which can lead to adhesion development. Pelvic adhesions can damage organs including the bladder, uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. 

  • Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a term derived from the endometrium, the inner lining of the uterus. Every month, the endometrium thickens and renews itself in preparation for pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy, the endometrium sheds during menstruation. If a pregnancy is achieved, it means that the embryo has attached itself to the endometrium.

Endometriosis is a painful condition in which tissue that lines the uterus starts to grow outside of it. Endometriosis can affect any part of the body, but it often affects the lower abdomen or pelvic, as well as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.  Due to endometriosis, a patient can feel discomfort in the lower abdomen, pain during menstrual cycles, pain during sexual intercourse, and difficulty in conceiving.

 

Male Infertility

Fertility in men is a complicated process and so for pregnancy, there should be

  • Production of healthy sperm 
  • Sufficient amount of sperm in the semen
  • The potential of sperm to pass through the female reproductive system in a right manner

Any issue that arises in these above-mentioned functions leads to male infertility.

 

Causes of male infertility

  • Ejaculation dysfunction
  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Varicocele problem
  • Health and lifestyle causes

 

a) Ejaculation dysfunction

Ejaculatory dysfunction is the man’s inability to ejaculate semen at the moment of sexual intercourse. One of the most prevalent reasons for male infertility is ejaculatory dysfunction. The problem in ejaculation can be caused due to various factors such as diabetes, spinal problem, any heavy medication and surgeries in the bladder, prostate or urethra.

b) Hormonal Imbalances

Infertility in men can be caused by problems with the pituitary glands, thyroid, or adrenal glands. In males, many factors can contribute to low testosterone and other hormonal problems.

c) Varicocele problem

Varicocele is a disorder in which the veins in the scrotal sack enlarge. The quality and quantity of sperm might be affected by an increase in scrotal temperature.

     –  Varicocele can be recognized by the following symptoms

  • A lump in one of your testicles
  • Swollen scrotum 
  • Noticeably swollen or twisted veins in your scrotum 
  • A persistent and recurrent ache in your scrotum 

 d) Health and lifestyle causes

Excessive consumption of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances such as marijuana, as well as any other heavy prescriptions, might have a negative impact on a man’s fertility. Cocaine usage might affect the quality and quantity of sperm for a short period of time. Excessive drinking can diminish testosterone levels, resulting in erectile dysfunction and a reduction in sperm production.

 

Unexplained Infertility

Unexplained infertility is defined as infertility without any known or specific cause. Unexplained infertility is most frequently caused by low egg or sperm quality, as well as uterine or fallopian tube abnormalities that aren’t detected through standard fertility tests. 

 

The 5 Stages of IVF treatment:

 

  • Preparation for the cycle

For the IVF cycle, you and your partner will have to undergo testing. The tests performed are blood tests for both male and female partners, a pelvic exam and then a transvaginal ultrasound.

After all the tests have been conducted and reviewed by your fertility experts, they will suggest a course of birth control pills to start the cycle. The pills may help to decrease the chances of forming any cysts that could hinder the cycle.

 

  • Stimulation of the Ovaries

The objective of an IVF cycle is to produce as many mature eggs as possible in order to enhance your chances of pregnancy. In the stimulation phase, injectable medicines are used for about 8 to 14 days during the IVF stimulation phase to stimulate the ovaries and generate more eggs. The stimulation phase is completed with an hCG ‘trigger shot,’ a high-dose hormone injection that stimulates the growing follicles (structures that house the small eggs) to mature, triggering ovulation.

 

  • Egg Retrieval

36 hours following the final trigger shot, visit the fertility clinic’s state-of-the-art Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) lab for egg retrieval. The fertility experts will conduct an ultrasound to further examine the ovaries.

Transvaginal ultrasound aspiration is the most common technique used for retrieving eggs. To locate follicles, an ultrasound probe is placed into the vaginal canal. A needle is used to aspirate ovarian follicles, which is guided by transvaginal ultrasonography. The embryologist scans the follicular fluids for all viable eggs. Then a needle is inserted into each ovary for the egg retrieval process. After puncturing the ovary, the follicular fluid and eggs from each matured follicle will be drained. The fluid will be carefully transferred to an embryologist who will sift and identify each egg. It takes around 20-30 minutes to retrieve one egg.

 

  • Embryo Development

Your embryologist starts the fertilisation procedure once the eggs have been retrieved, processed, and prepped. Fertilization can take place in two ways: Conventional fertilization and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).

Embryo transfer is generally done three to five days following egg retrieval, either at your doctor’s office or a clinic.

 

  • Transferring the embryo

The embryo transfer is a quick five-minute process that doesn’t require any anaesthesia. Your fertility expert will do a final checkup of the embryos the morning before the transfer process and further recommend which to transfer based on the overall quality and age(ideally at day 5-6) of the embryos. You and your fertility expert will discuss your cycle before the transfer and make the final choice on the number of embryos to use.

Step-by-step embryo transfer

  • The embryo (or embryos) are held in a little quantity of fluid in a syringe  connected to the end of the catheter by the fertility expert
  • They then inject the embryo into your uterus using a syringe

An embryo will implant in the lining of your uterus around six to ten days following egg extraction if it is successful.

 

After the Procedure

You can continue your normal daily activities after the embryo transfer. Your ovaries, however, may still be swollen. So it’s best to avoid strenuous exercise if you can.

Contact your fertility expert if you experience moderate or severe discomfort following the embryo transfer. The doctor can look for problems like infection or ovarian torsion.

 

How do I know whether IVF will help me conceive?

IVF has helped women at various phases and helped them become pregnant for decades. If you’re thinking about IVF, you should first take care of your health both physical and mental. You may have tried other approaches to resolving your infertility issues. can assist you with every area of advanced reproduction to help you realise your dream of having a child.

Fertility experts at Birla Fertility & IVF can assist you with any question related to infertility and IVF. For the best outcomes, book your appointment today.

Written by:
Dr Shreya Gupta

Dr Shreya Gupta

Dr Shreya Gupta is an experienced OBGYN in Lucknow with close to 10 years of clinical experience. Her friendly patient oriented approach and thorough knowledge in reproductive medicine makes her a stellar addition in our growing fertility team. She completed her MBBS from GSVM Medical College, Kanpur and her MD (Obstetrics & Gynaecology) from KGMC Lucknow. Thereafter she completed her DNB (Obstetrics & Gynaecology) and FNB (Reproductive Medicine) from Ruby Hall Clinic, Pune.   

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