What is in vitro fertilization?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the method by which an egg is fertilized outside the body of a woman, i.e. it takes place in a laboratory. This procedure has been successfully applied around the world since 1978.
The first successful in vitro procedure in our country, resulting in the birth of a child, was performed in 1987 by a team from the Department of Gynecology of the Medical Academy of Bialystok (presently the Medical University of Bialystok), under the supervision of professor Marian Szamatowicz.
What is in vitro about?
The treatment includes several stages, which are as follows:
- ovarian stimulation in order to create from several up to a dozen or so oocytes,
- oocyte retrieval procedure (ovarian puncture). The procedure consists of the puncture of ovaries with a special needle under control of ultrasound equipment. During the procedure, the fluid, in which the oocytes are located, is collected. The puncture is performed under short general anesthesia,
- the procedure of fertilization of the oocytes performed in the laboratory,
- several days’ observation of the embryos development,
- transfer of embryo/embryos to the uterine cavity.
Types of in vitro fertilization:
Currently the procedure of in vitro fertilization is performed with the use of several methods. In our center we use the following methods:
- Fertilization of an oocyte in the fluid containing sperm (classic IVF, fertilization takes place spontaneously).
- Fertilization with ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection), in which a single sperm is injected into an oocyte (special pipettes, needles and micromanipulator are used and the whole procedure is performed under a microscope).
- In case of significantly reduced semen parameters (particularly with regard to morphology, i.e. structure of sperm), it is recommended to apply the method IMS (Intracytoplasmic Morphologically Selected Sperm Injection), in which a sperm cell for ICSI is chosen by an embryologist at the magnification of 6600x (standard magnification for ICSI is 400x).
How to prepare for in vitro fertilization?
- Ovarian stimulation – Stimulation is conducted by a gynecologist and consists of taking proper doses of hormones. The hormones are administered through subcutaneous injections. These injections are very easy to make and most patients make them on their own at home.
At FertiMedica, prior to the commencement of stimulation, we recommend a consultation with an anesthesiologist. It is important for us to ensure that with regard to a particular patient there are no contraindications for general anesthesia on the day of oocyte retrieval procedure.
- Ovarian puncture – The ovarian stimulation ends with administering human chorionic gonadotropin (Pregnyl, Ovitrelle, Choragon). This medication is essential and it allows the oocytes to become mature. IT IS VERY IMPORTANT to make the injection of human chorionic gonadotropin precisely on the day and at the time indicated by the attending physician, because the successfulness of the puncture and level of oocyte maturity depend on it.
The procedure of the puncture should be performed under fasting condition.
- Transfer – The embryo transfer procedure involves minimal invasion and does not require anesthesia. The course of the procedure can be compared with insemination. It is much easier to conduct the procedure when the urinary bladder is filled; therefore, prior to the procedure, the patients are asked to drink around ¾ litre of liquid and not to empty the urinary bladder.
What are success statistics regarding in vitro fertilization?
The effectiveness of in vitro treatment among the entire population of patients is estimated at around 40%. In the group of younger women (< 35 years old) it is higher and may reach even 60%; among women over 40 it decreases to below 20%.
Remember that all our experts are perfectly aware of the fact that you may need a lot of support. Therefore, they will provide you not only with medical help, but also with emotional support on every stage of diagnostics and treatment.