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In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Tips

Tests Suggested For Men Before IVF

Tests Suggested For Men Before IVF

It is as important for the man as it is for the woman to undergo certain tests before the IVF cycle is started. Fertility is not only an issue for a woman, but it also might be for the man in question. There are certain tests that need to be conducted on men before they can gear up for IVF:

1. Semen Analysis: One of the most important tests for male infertility is semen analysis. Sometimes, a man may be completely healthy, but his sperm production could be of poor quality. Semen analysis is done to provide an accurate evaluation of sperm number, the ability to move (motility), size and shape (morphology), as well as the consistency and volume of the sample collected.

2. Binding Test: Sometimes agglutination occurs where the sperms might stick to each other by their heads or tails. Sperm antibodies might cause this problem. The IVF treatment's success might be compromised if this happens. A simple binding test is done to determine this.

3. Trial Wash: This is also known as sperm wash. It is mostly done to remove chemicals from the sperm. Not doing a sperm wash might end up affecting the later stages of the IVF treatment. In this process, the misshapen and immotile sperm is separated so a clean sample of motile and healthy sperm can be collected.

4. TUNEL Assay: Since sperms build up about half of a child's genetic makeup, a TUNEL Assay or 'sperm DNA test' is required. This test is done to measure the sperm population that have fragmented DNA. Negative impacts on genetics can hamper the success of the fertility treatment.

TUNEL Assay is usually recommended to men with:

  • Leukocytes detected by the sperm analysis
  • Age approaching 50
  • A history of diabetes II type or prostatitis
  • Exposure to chemicals or prolonged heat at workplaces

5. Screening for Infectious Diseases: This test is done for both the partners to check for diseases like AIDS, Hepatitis C, and so on.

Does IVF Increase Your Chances Of Getting Cancer?

Does IVF Increase Your Chances Of Getting Cancer?

Assisted reproduction or IVF may have associations with increasing the chances of cancer amongst women. As per a study conducted on more than 250,000 women in Britain, the rates of ovarian and breast cancer were higher in women who underwent IVF.

According to the studies conducted by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, the rates of prostrate and ovarian cancer are more in patients undergoing IVF. However, in many cases the results were inconsistent. Based on another research conducted on 25,152 Dutch women, the consequences can be understood more clearly. They are as follows:

• Amongst a group of 19,146 women who underwent IVF, only 30 experienced invasive ovarian cancer. However, there were not enough statistics to prove that there was a direct relationship with the IVF procedure and cancer.

• This increase in ovarian cancer was possibly due to the borderline ovarian tumors. These tumors are not malignant but may get aggravated during IVF treatment.

• Women undergoing IVF, who are over 55 years of age, had a 0.71% risk of cancer.

How can IVF cause cancer?

• During IVF, hyperstimulation in the female body can lead to mutations in epithelial cells, eventually leading to ovarian tumors. This increases the risk of ovarian cancer.

• IVF may alter cell growth patterns, which can trigger cancer.

As per the above information, the reports were inconclusive to suggest a direct relationship between IVF and cancer. However, cancer risks can be reduced through certain steps. They are:

• Informing the doctor about the history of cancer in your family, and getting tested for breast cancer is important.

• Approaching a successful fertility clinic will reduce the number of IVF cycles that will prevent over-exposure to hormones that might trigger cancer.

• Rather than IVF, other strategies can be applied, based on your cause of infertility.

Infertility - Have IVF At Your Rescue!

Infertility - Have IVF At Your Rescue!

Life is beautiful! Right from birth, you grow through life stage by stage. One such amazing stage is parenthood. For those of you who desire to become a parent, there is nothing more painful than trying and failing at each and every known procedure to conceive naturally. The heartbreak of infertility can turn out to be devastating. Fortunately, there are several techniques to address this situation, the last resort being In- Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

What is IVF?
In- Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a procedure by which an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body: in vitro meaning in glass. A colloquial term for babies conceived as the result of IVF is “test tube babies” but the fact being they are cultured in petri plates. The zygote produced from the fertilization develops under carefully controlled conditions until it becomes an embryo, which is then transferred into the uterus either by inserting it into the fallopian tubes, or intra- vaginal placement into the uterus. Once the embryo implants on the uterine wall, a pregnancy has just begun its course. Furthermore, the birth of a live infant capable of surviving outside the mother’s body marks a successful IVF cycle.

Indications of IVF:
IVF is most clearly recommended only when infertility results from one or more causes having no other effective treatment. The below list clarifies when an IVF can become your only option.

  1. Tubal disease: A case where the fallopian tubes in women reproductive system is blocked.
  2. Endometriosis: The uterine lining grows outside the uterus which often has tubal and ovarian cysts.
  3. Ovulatory dysfunction: This is applicable to patients with polycystic ovarian disease(PCOD) and other ovulatory problems.
  4. Age of the woman: The woman’s ovarian capacity and function diminish with age which can be overcome by IVF.
  5. Male factor infertility: This is contributed by azoospermia, oligozoospermia, asthenozoospermia, anti-sperm antibody, etc.
  6. Pre implantation genetic testing(PGT): Patients with potential risk for genetic disorders such as cystic fibrosis and thalassemia are recommended to test their embryos to rule out the possibilities of the risk genes being inherited.

IVF may demand a fortune to get a positive result. It is indeed an expensive treatment. Sometimes, it is recommended that the couple starts from the preliminary treatments based on thorough follicular study and semen analysis. IVF success rate is variable and depends upon many factors. Look out for the associated risks of IVF. If you have made up your mind for IVF then follow the doctor’s instructions during the treatment with at utmost care and hope for the best result to come your way. As it is rightly said: “All is well that ends well!”

IVF - What To Check Before Opting For It?

IVF - What To Check Before Opting For It?

IVF treatments can be physically, emotionally and financially draining. If you are considering IVF to help you conceive, here are a few things you should keep in mind before you embark on the journey:

1. Research the process before selecting a clinic
Before committing yourself to the IVF treatment, you should try to understand the treatment process and what is involved in each step. Thus being well-informed about the process can help you prepare mentally for the physical and emotional changes that accompany IVF treatment.

2. It can be very time consuming
The IVF process can be more like a marathon than a sprint in which there are no guarantees. For some couples, it can be successful after one or two cycles, while for others it can take a few years. It can be really disheartening for many women if it doesn’t work the first time, but that doesn’t mean it will never work. Still, it is good to discuss with your partner about how far you’re willing to go, both financially and emotionally, to have a baby.

3. Make sure you’re as healthy as possible
Being healthy, both physically and mentally, can increase the chances of success of any fertility treatment. Thus adopting a healthy, balanced diet and going on a suitable fitness program can be a good start towards your IVF journey. Women who drink alcohol more than 3 times a week and women who smoke have reduced chances of conceiving. Also, being medically overweight can also lead to complications in the fertility process.

4. Timing is key
Experts recommend that women should avoid starting fertility treatments during stressful periods, such as moving to a new job or while moving into a new house.

5. It is completely normal to be moody
Hormonal treatments such as the IVF process can make you quite moody because of the dramatic hormonal fluctuations caused by the different hormones being injected. Don’t be flustered or worried about sudden changes in your emotions during the process, it is absolutely normal to experience such changes.

6. The injections can cause some side effects
Two side effects of the IVF injections can be breast tenderness and abdominal bloating. The injections can also cause bruising at the site, but nothing too severe. Many side effects can mimic the symptoms of PMS that can go on for about 2 weeks or so.

7. It can take a toll on your relationship
Fertility treatments can be stressful for both the partners in a relationship and can even impact their sex life after the treatments. It is important to communicate with your partner about any problems or concerns you have instead of bottling up your emotions.

The most important thing to keep in mind while undergoing fertility treatments is to not lose hope. It may be very taxing both physically and emotionally and might take more time than expected, but the rewards are worth it.

Who Is A Good Candidate For IVF?

Who Is A Good Candidate For IVF?

What is IVF?
IVF or In Vitro Fertilization is the process in which the egg and sperm are fertilized outside the body and then implanted in a woman’s embryo. The treatment does not take place in a single procedure but in several steps over a period of time or cycle. An IVF procedure involves several careful steps:

  1. Any IVF treatment begins with Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), where the women are administered hormonal medication or injections to produce more eggs. Then the eggs are monitored.
  2. The egg is retrieved from the women’s embryo.
  3. Sperm is collected and thawed.
  4. After careful monitoring and proper screening, both the collected egg and sperm are fused together and allowed to mature.
  5. The last and final step is placing the embryo in the womb of the women for pregnancy to take place.

Who is Good Candidate for IVF?
IVF has become very common with many couples opting for it in recent times, and also there has been a proliferation of fertility clinics and centres. However, it is better for couples thinking about going the IVF route to know whether they fit the criteria of an IVF candidate:

  1. Couples trying to conceive for a long time - If you can’t get pregnant naturally, then you can go for the IVF treatment.
  2. Women who have been unsuccessful with other fertility treatments - Couples who have opted for IUI (intrauterine insemination) and fertility medications and have been unsuccessful should consider going for the IVF treatment.

Couples suffering from other types of infertility or problems can also opt for IVF. They include:

  1. Fallopian Tube - If your tubes are scarred, blocked or damaged, then IVF is the way to go. The fallopian damage or blockage may be caused by an inflammation of the fallopian tube due to chlamydia (sexually transmitted disease). Going for IVF is ideal as the treatment bypasses the fallopian tube completely.
  2. EndometriosisIt is a condition where the endometrium tissues lining the uterus are displaced all over the pelvic region. This results in preventing the fertilized egg from travelling to the uterus. Women suffering from this condition can opt for IVF treatment.
  3. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) - Women suffering from PCOS have difficulty in getting pregnant sometimes. For these women, IVF is an excellent option.
  4. Male Infertility - Men suffering from low sperm count or low motility can take the help of IVF treatment.

As there are good candidates, there are also couples or women who might not benefit from an IVF procedure. They include:

  1. Women who are not producing healthy eggs and also not willing to use a donor.
  2. Conditions in women that can affect the IVF treatment like fibroid tumours, uterine abnormalities or ovarian dysfunctions.
  3. Obese women have very high BMI (body mass index) and are told to lose weight to increase the chances of getting pregnant.
  4. Women who are past 40 years of age have a greater chance of having a miscarriage.

If you are considering going for IVF treatment, go to your doctor and talk to him about all the pros and cons involved in the process before finally taking the plunge.

IVF - Know Pro's & Con's Of it!

IVF - Know Pro's & Con's Of it!

IVF, as we all know is an assisted reproductive technology. This is a process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieve a sperm sample and then manually get an egg and sperm to combine in a laboratory dish. The embryo then gets transferred to the uterus.

Now before going deep into the advantages and disadvantages of IVF, let’s take a look the kind of patients, on whom IVF can be used to treat the problem of infertility:

  • Women who have damaged or blocked fallopian tubes. Fallopian tubes refer to the pair of tubes through which eggs pass through to the uterus from the ovaries.

  • Males, who are suffering from infertility due to decreased sperm count.

  • Any individual who has a genetic disorder.

IVF helps many patients to conceive, who would otherwise be unable to have children following the conventional path. Achieving a successful pregnancy along with the delivery of a healthy baby is the ultimate objective of In Vitro Fertilization. Some other advantages are discussed below as follows:

  • Have A Child Using Their Own Eggs: IVF allows Women, who have their fallopian tubes blocked or damaged, with the best alternative to conceive child artificially through the usage of their own eggs.

  • Patients With A Low Ovarian Reserve: IVF helps to maximize the chance of conceiving among older patients. Generally, some fertility clinics use Natural IVF as it’s main focus is more on the quality of eggs, rather than quantity.

  • Help Males Get Rid Of Their Infertility: Males with infertility problems, as a result of low sperm count, will have a much higher chance of conceiving through IVF.

  • Assist Women Who Have Had Premature Ovarian Failure: Premature Ovarian Failure or Menopause among women can go through IVF treatment using donor eggs, which has been known to have high success rates.

  • Safe Track Record: It was in the year 1978, when the first ‘IVF baby’, Lousie Brown was born using Natural IVF. It’s been 40 years since then and the technology has advanced with refined techniques, which has helped create safer, successful treatments.

There are certain disadvantages to this form of infertility treatment as well. Some of them are discussed below:

  • Side Effects and Risks Associated With IVF: In Vitro Fertilization treatment is not without certain risks and side effects, the most severe one being Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome.

  • Women Can Have A Slightly Higher Chance Of Ectopic Pregnancy: For women having damaged fallopian tubes, IVF treatment can lead to the risk of ectopic pregnancy. In this type of pregnancy, the fertilized egg gets attached in a place other than inside the uterus.

  • IVF Is Not Always A Success: One cycle of IVF may not bring success, hence patients well need to go through multiple cycles before being treated completely.

So, one can get a fair idea about the benefits and drawbacks of IVF treatment, which would ultimately help patients to take decisions accordingly.

Fibroid Removal Before IVF - Is It Vital?

Fibroid Removal Before IVF - Is It Vital?

Fibroids are small lumps that develop in the muscle layers of the uterus. They are benign which means they will not become cancerous. They are relatively common. 30% of women below the age of 35 years and 20-80% women in the menopausal age bracket are affected by fibroids. They usually appear during the child-bearing years because that is when oestrogen levels peak.

Is surgery necessary?
Whether you need surgery depends on the symptoms. Sometimes the indicators of fibroids are insignificant and do not cause much discomfort. But you might require surgery if the symptoms include-

• Profuse bleeding during periods
Bleeding even when you are not menstruating
• Intense pain in the lower back or in your abdomen.
• Inability to urinate

Another reason why you might need surgery is certain kinds of fibroids reduce fertility. If you are trying to conceive and you have fibroids, you may find it difficult to become pregnant. And these fibroids also raise risks of miscarriage and labour complications. Moreover, the only remedy in such cases is surgery.

Some Surgery Options-
Your doctor may recommend any of the following procedures-
• Myolysis - 
The surgeon stops the blood supply to the fibroids during this simple procedure. Without blood and oxygen, they begin to shrivel up and die.

Endometrial Ablation - This surgery is recommended by doctors when a woman’s period lasts for longer than eight days and is accompanied by such heavy bleeding both during and between periods that it leads to anaemia. During this surgery, the doctor surgically removes the endometrial lining. This is a non-reversible procedure and women cannot conceive after undergoing it. That is why the pros and cons should be weighed carefully before making a decision.

Myomectomy - This surgery is ideal for women who do not want to eliminate the possibility of conceiving. This surgery does not lead to sterilization. Through either open surgery or laparoscopy, the doctor simply removes the fibroids and leaves the uterus unharmed.

When do you not need Surgery?
You do not need surgery if-

• Your symptoms are tolerable
• The fibroids do not get in the way of conception if you are trying to have a baby
• they are not likely to cause pregnancy complications

Non-Surgical Treatment Options
The most reliable treatment option is medication. Some medicines that your doctor may prescribe are-
Birth Control Pills-

Birth control pills regulate the hormonal cycle and are very effective in easing the pain and discomfort that accompany periods.

• Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs or NSAIDs-
Prostaglandins are lipids that are responsible for cramps, pain and heavy bleeding during periods. NSAIDs can inhibit its production and help with period pain. These medicines do not have an adverse effect on fertility.

• Pain medication-
Over-the-counter pain medicines can reduce pain and cramps during menstruation.

• IUDs-
Your doctor may suggest a progestin-releasing intrauterine device. It can keep the symptoms of fibroids under check and help with pain management. But they are not effective if the fibroids are large.

Fibroids can be harmless. But some of them can cause health complications. You should arrive at a decision regarding surgery only after careful consideration of the consequences.

Understanding The IVF Procedure

Understanding The IVF Procedure

What is IVF?

IVF stands for In Vitro Fertilization and is a method of artificial insemination that dramatically increases the chances of pregnancy. It is one of the assisted reproductive technologies methods used as fertility treatment across the world where other methods have had drastic results.

In simpler terms, a man's sperm is inserted in woman's egg using controlled laboratory environment to proceed with fertilization. These embryos are then carefully put back into the mother's uterus after 4 to 5 days of fertilization in incubator in hopes that the embryo would grow in a full baby. The embryo transfer process needs to be carefully done in order for successful fertilization in the mother's womb.

There are many reasons why IVF is conducted :

  1. Poor sperm quality - Males having poor sperm quality are unable to achieve fertilization and increase the chances of conception with their female partners. This is male factor infertility due to which people move towards IVF.
  2. Fallopian tube problems - This is a female factor infertility, in which fallopian tubes either get blocked, or damaged making it complicated and stressful for the embryo to travel to the uterus.

One must approach IVF treatment with patience and a willingness to comply with all the tenets that the treatment is built upon. IVF clinics may vary the treatment a little according to what the patient's condition demands and different clinics may have different methods. The basic methods of IVF treatment however, remain the same. The first step to the treatment is to find the right clinic which complies with factors like availability of resources, cost and quality of treatment. After deciding the clinic, the next step is to understand that IVF treatment happens in cycles and the success rate of conception varies. Patients must also be ready to face any disappointment.

Here’s the short version of the steps involved in an IVF treatment cycle:

  1. Ovarian stimulation. Your doctor prescribes a course of drugs for you to take to stimulate your ovaries into hopefully producing 12 to 15 mature eggs.
  2. Monitoring of your drug response. To monitor the progress of your ovarian stimulation you undergo an ultrasound examination and blood tests.
  3. Egg maturation. Two days before your eggs are due to be collected you have a hormone injection, which triggers maturation of the eggs.
  4. Egg collection. You receive a light general anaesthetic for this simple, short procedure, and your doctor retrieves your eggs using an ultrasound-guided technique.
  5. Sperm production. On the day of egg collection, your partner provides a sperm sample.
  6. Fertilisation. The embryologist puts sperm and eggs together in the lab and, if all goes well, the eggs fertilise and early embryo development begins.
  7. Embryo transfer. Two to five days after egg collection, your doctor places one or two embryos in your uterus. Frozen transfer can be planned after a gap of 1 month.
  8. Embryo freezing. If you have additional embryos suitable for use, they can be frozen and kept for future transfers. Also, frozen embryos are available.
  9. Pregnancy test. About two weeks after embryo transfer you have a blood test to find out whether the treatment worked.
    • If the test is positive, you have your first pregnancy scan two weeks later.
    • If the test is negative, you and your partner need to talk to your doctor and decide whether to try the treatment again.

History Of IVF!

History Of IVF!

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a readily recognizable term today. However, scientists took hundreds of years to perfect IVF technology, which has brought it to where it is today. If you want to know how it all started for IVF, you have to begin as early as the 1800s.

IVF in the 1800s-
Until the very early 1800s, people were unaware that the sperm and the egg combine to form a new human being. After scientists discovered this fact, a doctor performed the first ever intrauterine insemination on a woman using the husband’s sperm. However, this insemination did not result in a successful pregnancy.
In 1884, Dr. William Pancoast used donor sperm to inseminate a woman whose husband was infertile.

IVF in the early 1900s-
By the early 1900s, scientists began to extensively research the connection between hormones and fertility. In 1934, a scientist named Gregory Pincus performed IVF-like studies on rabbits, for which he was fired from his job. Pincus’s primary researcher Menkin continued this research regarding IVF.
At a Baltimore hospital in 1965, Dr. Jones and Dr. Edwards became the first physicians to fertilize a human egg in vitro successfully. Dr. Edwards returned to England and continued his IVF research. In 1968, he, along with Dr. Patrick Steptoe performed a laparoscopy to extract an egg from a woman and fertilize it in vitro. This study was published in the 1969 edition of Nature.

IVF in the 1970s-
On September 12, 1972, the world could have witnessed the first successful IVF pregnancy, but it was stopped at the last moment. On this day, Dr. Sweeney managed to extract five eggs from a woman. The woman’s husband collected the eggs and brought it to Dr. Shettles at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital. The husband then collected a fresh sample of his own ejaculate and asked the doctor to use it to fertilize the eggs. However, the Chairman at the hospital found out about the experiment and prohibited it.
In 1975, Dr. Steptoe and Dr. Edwards announced the first successful IVF pregnancy to the world. However, due to an ectopic pregnancy, the endeavor failed. The duo once again announced successful IVF pregnancy in 1978. This time, the pregnant woman Lesley Brown gave birth to the world’s first IVF baby, Louise Joy Brown.

IVF in the 1980s and 1990s-
The regulation became a problem during the initial stages of IVF. Australia became the second country to report a successful IVF-related birth in 1980, while the United States became the third in 1981. After these three successful cases, the interest and studies related to fertility increased drastically.

The following events occurred thereafter–
• Scientists began improving fertility drugs
• Doctors devised methods to extract eggs through the vagina, instead of through laparoscopy
Other changes also came into effect and the IVF technology evolved. While initially, IVF resulted in multiple pregnancies and other problems, more studies and advancement in the field made it safer.

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Risks Involved In Getting Pregnant Through IVF!

Risks Involved In Getting Pregnant Through IVF!

Giving birth to a baby is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful experiences in a woman's life. It makes them feel complete as an individual and also strengthens their relationship with their spouse. But unfortunately, all couples cannot conceive in a natural way. But there is nothing to feel sad about as with the advancement in medical technology, one can avail the high-tech fertility treatments to fulfill their dream of holding their baby in their lap. In vitro fertilization often shortened as IVF is one of the most popular artificial reproductive techniques that help to conceive. Basically, in this process eggs and ovary are combined in the laboratory.

How is IVF helpful?
IVF has emerged as a hope for all those couples who have been trying to have a baby for years. It helps the woman to get pregnant if she is suffering from a problem associated with egg quality, ovulation, endometriosis or blockage of the fallopian tube. It is also helpful in case your partner has a problem with sperm mortality or sperm count.

Side effects and risks associated with IVF Treatment: According to the current evidence, there are no serious side effects associated with in vitro fertility treatment. The medicines which are used for inducing the process of superovulation involved in IVF and other fertility treatments are also used in various other forms of fertility treatments. IVF was discovered some 30 years back. It has proven itself as one of the safest processes that come up with no long-term risk to the mother or the baby. Ovulation Hyperstimulation Syndrome happens to one percent of women out of all who opt for this treatment for conceiving a baby.

The specialists who are experienced are better at predicting which woman is at risk of OHSS. The expert medical professionals are trained for recognizing and managing symptoms.

This treatment might also cause potential complications to the baby like premature delivery or low birth weight, which increases the risk of birth defects or even death of the neonate. It is always recommended to consult an expert physician to get a better idea about the treatment and its associated pros and cons.

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