What is IVF?
IVF stands for “In Vitro Fertilization” and refers to a treatment for couples who have infertility problems. Literally the procedure involves fertilization of the woman’s egg cell with the man’s sperm “in vitro” or outside of the body. Usually this is the last option of treatment for couples who are unsuccessful in getting pregnant despite availing other treatment options.
Before IVF is even considered, several other ways are suggested by doctors that may help couples to get pregnant. Some couples are just advised on taking supplements and/or proper timing of sexual intercourse. Others are given specific medicines, like follicle-stimulating drugs for women and sperm-production enhancers for men. Other treatment options require surgery for either men or women depending on what’s causing the infertility. There is also a procedure called artificial insemination wherein semen is collected from men and this sample is put in a test tube and introduced into the women’s cervix. This procedure allows for an assisted “sperm push’ inside the woman’s reproductive organ, hoping that the assistance is enough for them to meet the egg and have conception.
If all other treatment procedures fail, then IVF may be the last option given by doctors to couples who are unable to get pregnant for a variety of reasons. With the IVF procedure, pregnancy could result even if the man has low sperm count or quality and even if the woman has problems of her own like endometriosis and fallopian tube or uterine concerns. IVF basically involves collection of the egg cell and sperm cell from the couple. First the egg cell is taken from the women and then the sperm is collected from men. These samples are then placed in a dish to allow conception. When the egg is fertilized, the resulting embryo will then be implanted in the woman’s womb, hoping that this will continue to grow and become a baby in about 9 months.
But IVF is not for all couples though. Doctors will only prescribe this procedure only after several medical tests for both the man and the woman. This procedure also requires quite a big financial investment. And as with other fertility treatment procedures, IVF does not have a 100% success rate.