What is In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)?
In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is commonly referred to as IVF or “test-tube baby” and it is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology.
- It is a process of fertilisation occurring outside the body which involves combining eggs and sperm in a laboratory.
- The fertilised eggs are cultured in an incubator and their development are monitored over several days.
- Once embryos are formed, one or two embryos are then transferred directly into the uterus.
- Pregnancy happens when any of the embryos implant in the lining of the uterus.
- Embryos can be frozen and stored for use in later thaw transfer cycles.
How does IVF work?
- Ovarian Stimulation. Fertility medications are administered to stimulate the development of follicles in the ovaries. The follicles grow in size throughout the course of stimulation. Each follicle potentially contains an egg.
- Egg Pick Up. Eggs are retrieved through a minor surgical procedure. Under ultrasound guidance, the doctor uses a needle connected to a suction device to gently aspirate the eggs from the follicles. Sedation is given to minimize discomfort.
- Sperm Preparation. The semen sample is obtained by ejaculation and is processed by the laboratory through a series of washes. The final sample yields highly motile sperm.
- Egg Fertilisation. The eggs and sperm are combined in a process called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). In this method, a single sperm is injected directly into the egg to promote fertilisation.
- Embryo Development. The following day, the eggs are checked to confirm that fertilisation has taken place. The development of the resultant embryos are monitored over the course of culture.
- Embryo Transfer. After 3-5 days from egg retrieval, one or two embryos are transferred into the uterus. The doctor slides a thin catheter through the cervix into the uterine cavity and directly releases the embryo(s). The procedure is usually painless. More often than not, embryos are frozen and transferred in a later cycle.
- Pregnancy Test. A blood test is performed 2 weeks after the embryo transfer to check for levels of hCG. hCG is a hormone released by the implanted embryo. A positive hCG test indicates pregnancy!