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Doctors suggest IVF treatment when all other infertility treatments have failed. If you’ve already decided to walk on this path, then be ready to undergo lot of tests, frequent appointments with IVF specialists and lot of emotional ups and downs. It may take more than one try to be successful. So the entire period of IVF may be taxing for you but do try to stay positive.
Step 1. Before starting IVF treatment
You will be put on birth control pills which may reduce your risk of ovarian hyper-stimulation. Your IVF specialist will use either basal body temperature charting or ovulation predictor kit to detect when you ovulate. Once, the doctor knows this you will be put on a hormonal medication so your ovulation can be controlled.
If you’ve irregular cycles, you’ll be prescribed medicines to bring your periods on time.
Step 2. Getting your period
The day you get your period is when your IVF treatment will officially begin. On the second day, you’ll be asked for
- Blood tests to check the oestrogen levels in your body.
- Ultrasound to check the size of ovaries and detect the presence of any ovarian cysts which may interfere with the treatment. In case there are ovarian cysts, doctors will either allow them to dissolve in a week’s time or take them out with needle.
Step 3. Stimulating Ovaries
Under natural conditions, one egg is released by the ovaries every month. However, to increase the chances of success in IVF as many mature eggs as possible are targeted. Doctors will give injectable hormonal medication for 1-2 weeks for stimulating ovaries and produce eggs.
Step 4. Monitoring appointments
You will be asked to come at least 8-9 times for monitoring appointments which involve:
- Trans-vaginal ultrasound to measure the thickness of the lining of uterus as well as growth of the egg follicles in ovaries.
- Blood testing to measure the levels of estrogen which indicate development and maturation of eggs.
Each time the test reports come, your IVF specialist will provide care instructions, progress information and any changes required in medicines.
Step 5. Trigger shot
Based on the monitoring results about the size of your follicles and oestrogen level, the doctor will decide when to give you a trigger shot that will fully mature the ovaries and pave way for ovulation. Timing is very important in this stage because just before ovaries are going to ovulate egg has to be retrieved.
Step 6. Egg retrieval
Roughly, 3 days after trigger shot you’ll be called to the lab for retrieving the egg. An anesthesia medication will be given to you and a needle will be inserted into each ovary to remove the egg along with the follicular fluid. This will be a small outpatient procedure which will take around 30-45 minutes
Step 7. Insemination of Egg in the Laboratory
Your partner’s sperm will be collected and stored either earlier or on the same day of insemination. If there is a sperm problem, sperm injection (ICSI) may be used. A single healthy sperm will be isolated and then injected into the egg. This is done in the embryology lab of IVF clinic. Egg retrieval and insemination occurs on the same day.
Step 8. Embryo Development
Once fertilisation is complete, embryos began to develop. The growth of these embryos or blastocyst is closely examined by a specialist for at least 1 week.
Step 9. Embryo Transfer
Nearly on the fifth day after the egg retrieval, your appointment will be scheduled for embryo transfer. Depending on the quality of the embryos, your age and previous medical treatments, either one more embryos will be transferred. For females less than 37 years of age, undergoing first IVF cycle and with good quality blastocysts, doctors may opt for elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET). A catheter is used to insert embryo into the uterus.
Step 10. Pregnancy Test
You’ll have to wait for at least two weeks before pregnancy can be confirmed. You’ll be called for a blood test to check the hCG levels. If more than 25mIU/ml it is considered positive. Still, to be doubly sure doctor may ask for a another test in 2-3 days. If the level of hCG becomes twice after 2-3 days, it indicates a healthy pregnancy.
After 6-8 weeks, a vaginal ultrasound may also be done to check for fetal heartbeat and amniotic sac to confirm the positive development of your pregnancy.
For many females, the pregnancy may come out to be negative which would be very disappointing especially after so many weeks of efforts and enthusiasm but don’t let it cloud your hope. Discuss with your IVF specialist who will guide you on next steps.
Read about IVF Precautions to Amplify Success
Credihealth is India’s No.1 medical assistance company and has served more than 10,000 couples looking for IVF treatment. Credihealth helps people find the right IVF specialist and trusted hospitals, book priority appointment and get estimated cost for treatment.
A team of medical experts talk to the couples, understand their symptoms and medical condition, and support them throughout their IVF treatment.