IVF is one of the treatments recommended for people experiencing infertility. Yet, due to certain myths, people tend to be sceptical of it.
Infertility is rarely discussed in our society, and most couples are taken aback when confronted with the condition. It’s an illness of the male or female reproductive system described by the inability to conceive after a period of 12 months or more of unprotected intercourse.
When infertility problems are kept under wraps, the treatments and alternate options also go unnoticed.
In this blog, we’ll go over the most frequently asked questions regarding IVF and help you overcome any reservations you may have about the procedure.
What Is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In vitro fertilization is a method of assisted reproduction where the sperm and the egg are allowed to fertilize outside the uterus. In other words, the gametes (sperm and egg) are combined outside of the body in a laboratory.
One or more fertilized embryos are transferred back into the woman’s uterus, where they may implant in the uterine lining and develop.
What Is the Procedure for IVF?
The general steps of an IVF procedure are as follows:
- A series of blood tests are run to assess your general health and determine the number of eggs in the ovary.
- A sample of semen is collected and stored in case of an inability to provide a sample on the day of egg retrieval.
- Hormonal injections are started on the second day of the period and are given for approximately nine days.
- These injections stimulate the ovaries to release eggs, which are then retrieved using transvaginal ultrasound guidance under brief anaesthesia (15–20 minutes) without the need for any cuts.
- The retrieved eggs are then fertilized with the sperm under lab conditions. The embryo is then implanted back into the uterus or frozen for later use.
- This procedure is simple and painless. It is done under ultrasound guidance without anaesthesia.
- Daily injections are administered to aid the embryo’s growth. If you don’t like injections, you can take progesterone orally or vaginally.
- The egg is monitored frequently till the final egg maturation injection (HCG) is administered.
- After 14 days, a pregnancy test is recommended. All in all, the IVF treatment duration takes about four weeks: From your first dose of ovarian stimulant to the day you take a pregnancy test.
Is IVF Painful?
No, IVF is not painful. However, it might cause some level of discomfort. Besides the unpleasantness of daily injections and ovary retrieval, the treatment is generally considered painless.
If you are experiencing severe pain, it could signify a complication. But it’s important to note that complications in IVF are uncommon and can typically be carefully managed.
Are IVF Injections Painful?
Yes, IVF injections are usually not painful. You might feel a very slight stinging sensation while getting one. But they don’t cause extreme and unbearable pain. The needles for IVF injections are generally very small, so you won’t feel much pain (if any). As mentioned before, any pain from the injection could be a sign of another complication.
Is Egg Retrieval Painful?
No, egg retrieval is not painful. This is because the anaesthesia used won’t allow patients to feel pain during the egg retrieval process. In some situations, patients may experience abdominal cramps for a day or more after the procedure.
Is Embryo Transfer Painful?
No, embryo transfer is usually not painful, nor does it require any sedatives. In some cases, you may feel discomfort as a result of the inserted speculum. Slight discomfort can also be a result of a full bladder, which is required for the ultrasound. However, the process is quick, and you can relieve yourself immediately after.
IVF Injections Side Effects
Here are some of the typical IVF side effects:
- Mild cramps and/or bloating
- Tender breasts (due to high levels of oestrogen)
- Passing out a small amount of clear or bloody fluid after the procedure (as a result of swabbing the cervix before the embryo transfer).
What Is the IVF Treatment Success Rate and How Can You Improve Yours?
In young women, the average IVF success rate is around 40%. Women under the age of 35 have a higher chance of success than women over the age of 35.
Many factors beyond your control influence your chances of having a baby with IVF, such as how many eggs you produce in response to your drug protocol and whether your eggs and sperm turn into healthy embryos. But, new research suggests that getting in shape before starting IVF treatment can help you improve your chances.
You can improve your chances of IVF success by:
- Giving up smoking
- Keeping track of your drinks
- Limiting your caffeine intake
- Managing stress
- Maintaining healthy weight
- Consuming a well-balanced diet (eating leafy green vegetables rich in folic acid)
- Being physically active.
Age Limit for IVF Treatment
Age is one of the most crucial elements in determining your chances of conceiving a baby through IVF. This is because both women’s and men’s fertility declines as they age. Furthermore, the likelihood of having a child with birth abnormalities increases with age. Hence, the sooner you decide to get the treatment, the better.
If you’d like to know more about IVF treatment and how much an IVF treatment would cost, Ayu Health Hospitals can help. Our IVF centres in Bangalore and Chandigarh have some of the best infertility specialists and embryologists to fulfil your dream of parenthood. Visit our website to book an appointment, or call us at +91 6366-100-800, and we’ll get you the help you need!
About the Author
Dr. Nikitha Murthy B.S.
He is s a Consultant with IVF Access at its Rajajinagar clinic. She has over 6 years of experience. Dr. Nikitha has a post-graduation (MS) in Gynaecology, DNB from the National Board of India, and a Fellowship in Reproductive Medicine. He also has vast experience in Post-Graduation (MS) in Gynaecology and DNB.