IVF Explained - Introduction
Maybe you have already heard of IVF. What does the acronym actually stand for?
It means In Vitro Fertilization and it is a method of assisted reproductive technology.
So how does it work?
Firstly, you will need to take special medication. The reason for that is that you need to make several of your eggs mature and therefore ready to be fertilized. Only then can the eggs be taken out of your body.
Eggs are extracted, a sperm sample is retrieved, and both samples are then manually combined in a laboratory dish. Then one or more embryos are put into your uterus. If any of them implant in the lining of your uterus, congratulations! You are expecting a baby!
If the classical In Vitro Fertilization does not work for you, there is an alternative. IVF can be carried out both using your own eggs and your partner’s sperm or taking both samples from donors.
And how do you know if you are the right patient for this kind of fertility treatment?
The final decision should be made by your physician. However, IVF is commonly suggested to patients with:
- blocked fallopian tubes (or those who have had them removed)
- infertile male (including decreased sperm count)
- women suffering from ovulation disorders
- premature ovarian failure
- uterine fibroids
- people with a genetic disorder
- in cases of unexplained infertility
To sum up, this method is used in order to help women get pregnant when natural ways seem to be failing. It is one of the most common methods of fertility treatment.
You should know that however easy this may sound, IVF has several steps and even though it may work on the first try, many people have to go through the process several times in order to get pregnant.
While the success rates are high, each body is different, and you need to be ready for the option that IVF may not work for you.
Good news is that if that is the case, there are still several other options waiting for you, such as:
- IVF with donor eggs
- IVF with donor embryos
- and other kinds of fertility therapy and treatment (Gestational surrogacy or iui)
IVF Process Timeline
The whole IVF cycle usually takes around four weeks. Let’s have a look at the five steps you will need to undergo.
Step 1: Your doctor prescribes you special fertility medication that stimulate egg production. These pills are called oral contraceptives. The reason for more than one egg being needed is that some of them will not develop and using more eggs makes the success chances higher.
After this process, your ovaries are checked by a transvaginal ultrasound. Hormone levels are examined using blood test samples.
Step 2: Now your eggs need to be retrieved. This is performed through a micro-surgery. No worries, the hollow needle used is guided by ultrasound imaging. Pain and discomfort are avoided using medication.
Step 3: At this point, your partner is asked for a sperm sample. The sample is then prepared for combining with your eggs.
Step 4: The next step is called insemination. The female and male samples are mixed together and left in a laboratory dish to fertilize.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, often referred to as ICSI, may be used if the probability of success is lower. This is done by injecting a single sperm into one of the eggs. If it works, the eggs become embryos.
Step 5: Now it is time for embryo transfer. Three or five days later, one or more embryos are transferred into your uterus. The small tube usually does not call any pain.
If any of those embryos attach to the lining of your uterus, the process was successful. Be prepared to take a day off the day after the process and get back to your daily life the next day.
In some cases, pills or shots of progesterone are prescribed for the first 8-10 weeks after the transfer. This only makes it easier for embryo.
IVF Success Tips & Tricks
Just like with everything else, the success rate of this procedure depends on several factors. These include:
- reproductive history
- cause of infertility
The process is the most successful for women under the age of 35 and less successful for women over 40.
In Vitro Fertilization is recommended to females under the age of 43 who have been trying to conceive for two years or those who have gone through 12 cycles of artificial insemination, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.
Some sources claim that the success rate is only about 15 – 20%, however, there are no official numbers representative for the global population.
If this does not sound promising to you, you will be happy to read that there are certain ways that can make your probabilities higher.
Firstly, do your homework and read about the process you are about to go through. Try more than one source and make sure you understand everything. If you don’t, check the facts with your doctor.
- Your diet may have an impact, too. Make sure you eat “good fats.” According to some scientists, replacing red meat and butter with olive oil, seeds, avocados, and nuts can make it work! Try to avoid or limit food with low glycemic index, alcohol, and coffee.
- Being obese or underweight may both be the reasons you cannot conceive. Make sure you are maintaining a healthy weight.
- Your physical condition doesn’t do if you are not alright mentally. If you are feeling stressed, try meditation, or yoga. However, do not exercise too much if you are trying to conceive. Get a good sleep instead.
Supplements for IVF + IVF Vitamins
Another way to boost your organism and make fertilization easier is using vitamins and supplements.
There are several kinds of supplements which have been proved to help baby development. Try the Nature Made Prenatal Multivitamin specially formulated to support the development of baby’s brain, nervous system, bones and eyes. Take 1 softgel daily with water and a meal for optimal absorption.
Another option are thead Alani Nu Prenatal Support Softgels that nourish mom-to-be before, during and after pregnancy, promote a stronger immune system, and support the healthy development of baby.
Pink Stork Lactation Tea include marshmallow thistle, fenugreek, blessed thistle, and fennel to support breastfeeding and milk supply and flow. You can enjoy this herbal nursing tea both hot and cold.
Pink Stork Labor Prep Tea aids with duration of labor and contraction support and helps tone uterus for delivery. Continue taking 6+ weeks postpartum. This tea contains sweet chamomile, red raspberry leaf, nettle, and oat straw.
Men can also do their part by making themselves a cup of Blue Stork male fertility tea with Maca Root, Tribulus, Saw Palmetto, Turmeric, and Fenugreek. The tea can increase sperm count and quality and therefore support male conception.
Exercise During IVF
While exercising is in general considered healthy, beneficial and good, scientists have found out that too much physical activity during early weeks of pregnancy can actually be harmful.
So, what can you do if you want to keep active but do not want to hurt the baby? Fortunately, there are some options.
One of the activities you can do without putting your future offspring into danger is walking. A low impact activity such as walking increases the endorphin level and helps nutrients release into your body.
It also makes the amount of oxygen received higher. Try walking 30 minutes every day!
If you are not into walking, you might be happy to learn another activity you can do is swimming. Swimming will help you maintain your fitness level without putting too much stress on your body. Both swimming and walking increase blood flow and raise heart rate without overworking your body.
Option number three is yoga. This activity is not only great for your body, it is also a great mental exercise. Yoga reduces anxiety and stress levels while helping you stay flexible, fit and healthy.
Feel like you want to know everything about IVF? Have a look at our book shelf we have prepared for you!
Taking Charge of Your Fertility is the leading book on fertility and reproductive health. The author Toni Weschler explains how to conceive and gain control of sexual health by using the Fertility Awareness Method which requires a couple minutes every day.
Another great publication is It Starts with the Egg: How the Science of Egg Quality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and Improve Your Odds in IVF. Did you know that the egg quality has a crucial impact on your pregnancy? This book can teach you how to improve egg quality in three months and avoid common fertility challenges.
Making Babies: A Proven 3-Month Program for Maximum Fertility claims to help every woman get pregnant. Dr. David and Blakeway come with surprising, revolutionary strategies.
The Fertility Doctor's Guide to Overcoming Infertility: Discovering Your Reproductive Potential and Maximizing Your Odds of Having a Baby is a book written by Mark Trolice, a board-certified specialist and a real expert.
Try IVF A Detailed Guide: Everything I Wish I Had Known Before Starting My Fertility Treatments for a step-by-step guide through your In Vitro Fertilization journey.
If you agree that a healthy diet is crucial for your fertility, try IVF Meal Plan: Maximize Your Chances of IVF Success Through Diet. This book will teach you to eat wholesome food once and for all.
Trying to conceive without success is hard. Read Get A Life: His & Hers Survival Guide to IVF by Richard and Rosie who tried everything in the world before finally making their dream come true.
IVF Pregnancy Tracker
If books are not what you are looking for, you might be excited to hear that recent technology development allows to track your pregnancy! The Digital Basal Thermometer is highly sensitive and can be a great helper with family planning.
The latest technology is very accurate, safe, and precise. Or try the Femometer Vinca Basal Thermometer for Ovulation with a measurement precision up to 0.09°F(0.01°C).
This device can recognize even the tiniest BBT fluctuation and it only takes 30 seconds to measure. The gadget is extremely user-friendly, does not require any manual work and has an attractive design making it resemble a lipstick for maximum discretion.
So, which options will you decide to try? We recommend you reading and learning as much as possible about In Vitro Fertilization. Try some of the books we have listed, talk to your doctor, try to get in touch with friends or other people who have taken this journey.
Have a look at the technology and supplement options, maintain a healthy diet and do some slight exercise. And most importantly – try to stay calm and enjoy your treatment! We are keeping our fingers crossed for your dream coming true!