In Vitro Fertilization, in short called IVF,is the process of fertilizing ova and sperm outside the human body, especially in a laboratory.This method ensure that the sperm meets the egg and develop into an embryo, which is then implanted into the uterus.
IVF has revolutionized fertility medicine and has remained to be the popular choice for many couples worldwide. Today, new fertility methods have arrived that are far affordable than IVF.
Infertility is a medical symptom. A skilled fertility expert will conduct a thorough diagnosis to identify and treat underlying medical conditions.There are numerouscauses for infertility, the most commonare: low sperm count, low sperm mobility and ovulation issues.
Unethical medical practitioners do not spend time with couples to educate about correct and economic fertility treatments and blindly suggest costly IVF procedure.
When should couple meet the Fertility Expert?
- A woman is below 45 years of age and had many unsuccessful attempts to conceive naturally
- Failure to ovulate
- Damaged fallopian tubes
- Low sperm count and low sperm mobility rates
- Either of the couple have serious health disorders, for eg. autoimmune disease or cancer
- Fertility disorders such as endometriosis, PCOS and ejaculatory dysfunction
- Previous history of infertility and struggled to conceive for long duration
Do not rush for IVF, take a comprehensive diagnostic approach
Doctors recommend couples not to rush for IVF option, without having a proper understanding of why they would need it. Infertile couples should ask the right questions, take a comprehensive approach to ensure that they have undergone proper diagnosis to identify the reason for infertility and opt for the best treatment that suits them.
Diagnosis and investigations for infertility include:
- tests for ovulation, hormonal balance and other chromosomal abnormalities
- imaging diagnostics such as USD and intrauterine scan
- assessment of sperm count, hormones and chromosomes
So, when would IVF be the best option!!
Unfortunately, IVF has become synonymous with infertility. Majority of infertile couples are made to believe that IVF is the only treatment for infertility, despite IVF not being the best or most successful fertility treatment method. Desperation to have babies make couple vulnerable and capable of being exploited.
A responsible doctor would take the couple into confidence, discusstests results and suggest available treatment procedures. After careful consideration, then only the doctor would suggest IVF to the infertile couple.
IVF is best suited for:
- woman withdamaged fallopian tubes that are beyond repair
- woman cannot ovulate and ovulation-stimulating drugs have failed
- woman with severe endometriosis
- woman having problems with cervix
- woman with frequent miscarriages or unexplained infertility
- man has low or abnormal sperm count, but the sperm is capable of fertilizing an egg
- couples having multiple fertility problems
- couples having high risk of producing genetically abnormal babies and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) is required
Despite high success rate, many infertile couples avoid IVF
At times, couples do not prefer IVF as their primary method for infertility treatment. The reasons include:
- Religious beliefs: some religions consider embryos as a gift of God and they should not be developed in a lab
- Costly procedure: IVF is an expensive as it involves multiple procedures and skilled doctors are required to manage them
- Unexplained fear towards IVF
- Desire to have natural methods of conceiving, no outside interference
What are the alternatives to IVF?
A good number of alternatives for IVF are available. These include:
- Proper medication to manage thyroid issues, PCOS, insulin resistance and other disorders that are leading to infertility
- Lifestyle changes along with proper medication may help increase chances of pregnancy
- Intake of hormones that encourage ovulation
- Consumption of progesterone hormone to manage short luteal phases and prevent miscarriage
- Careful monitoring of woman’s menstrual cycle to understand reasons for infertility
- Unblock fallopian tubes in case of blockages due to infection or inflammation
- Sperm donation when the man has sperm issues
- Surgery to repair Varicocele
In some cases, doctors recommend Intra Uterine Insemination (IUI) as an alternative to IVF. By using this procedure, the doctor can determine exact ovulation period in a woman and then implant a sperm directly into her uterus. In case of ovulation issues, the woman is prescribed ovulation drugs to set things right.
IUI is less invasive and less expensive than IVF and has resolved many fertility problems. In couples having unknown infertility issues, IUI has achieved good success rate of about 10% per ovulation cycle. When IUI is combined with fertility drugs, the success rate has increased to 20%. Being safe and economical, couples worldwide prefer IUI fertility procedure as it can be repeated multiple times if previous cycles fail.
There are risks involved with infertility treatments
Some couples may totally avoid infertility treatments, as they come with risks such as fear of surgical procedures, stress, complications of multiple pregnancies, side effects of fertility drugs that often lead to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.Not all infertile couples want to take these risks.
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