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Thursday, 10 April 2014

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilisation or IVF is increasingly being used to help people who face difficulty in conceiving. IVF also called test-tube baby treatment is the treatment in which embryos are created in petri dishes (originally made of glass hence the name in vitro) outside of the human body and these embryos are then transferred in the uterus after growing them for a few days.

IVF when it started in 1978 was done without any stimulation and had a low success rate. The advent of injectable medicines (such as hMG and FSH) enabled retrieval of more eggs from which more embryos can be created and good quality embryos can be selected. The process is intensive and the fertility specialist will need to monitor the patient very closely throughout the treatment. It is extremely important for patients to understand what is happening and to follow instructions very carefully as this can affect the end result.

The process of IVF is a complicated one and I will talk about it over the next few posts. There are essentially the following steps:
  • Ovarian stimulation (in some protocols down-regulation step precedes this)
  • Egg collection
  • IVF
  • Embryo transfer

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