Who Should Go For IVF ?

by | Dec 2, 2023 | Fertility

Who Should Consider In Vitro Fertilization?

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) represents a ray of hope in the world of assisted reproductive technology that offers a viable path to parenthood for many couples who face fertility challenges. The process of IVF involves extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining them in a laboratory dish for fertilization. The embryo or embryos are then transferred to the uterus. Originally developed for women with blocked or absent fallopian tubes, IVF’s scope has broadened significantly and is now a sought-after option for various fertility issues.

Globally, IVF has witnessed a remarkable uptake. According to the International Committee for Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ICMART), there are approximately 2.5 million IVF cycles performed worldwide annually which leads to around 500,000 births. In India, the fertility industry has seen exponential growth, with IVF becoming increasingly popular. A report by EY-Indian Fertility Sector states that India had about 260,000 IVF cycles in 2018, and this number is expected to rise to 450,000 cycles by 2025. This surge reflects not just technological advancements but also a growing acceptance of IVF as a solution to infertility. Research publications like “Fertility and Sterility” and “Human Reproduction” offer in-depth insights into the evolving landscape of IVF, highlighting scientific advancements and patient outcomes. These resources are instrumental for anyone seeking to understand the nuances of IVF and its impact on society.

This blog aims to inform and guide individuals and couples contemplating IVF by providing a comprehensive understanding of the procedure, its relevance, and its role in assisted reproductive technology.

What is In Vitro Fertilization?

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), a groundbreaking technique in reproductive technology that involves fertilizing an egg with sperm outside the body. The journey begins with stimulating the woman’s ovaries to produce multiple eggs. This is followed by retrieving these eggs under ultrasound guidance. In a lab, these eggs are then fertilized with sperm. The resulting embryos are observed for a few days and then one or more are transferred into the woman’s uterus. This process has a high chance of successful implantation and pregnancy.

In Simple Words Process involves the Following 3 Steps:

1. Ovarian Stimulation: The IVF process starts with stimulating the woman’s ovaries using hormonal medications to encourage the production of multiple eggs, enhancing the chances of successful fertilization.

2. Egg Retrieval and Fertilization: Eggs are retrieved through a minimally invasive procedure guided by ultrasound, after which they are fertilized with sperm in a controlled laboratory environment, creating embryos.

3. Embryo Transfer and Implantation: The most viable embryo(s) are selected and transferred into the woman’s uterus, to achieve successful implantation and pregnancy, offering a significant possibility of becoming parents to couples facing fertility challenges.

IVF’s history is rich with milestones. The first successful IVF baby, Louise Brown, was born in 1978 in England, marking a new era in fertility treatment. Since then, advancements like ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection), which directly injects a single sperm into an egg, have revolutionized IVF and thereby significantly improving success rates. Notable figures have openly shared their IVF experiences. Actress Courteney Cox once said, “I feel so lucky to have been able to have an amazing daughter through IVF.” Similarly, renowned fertility specialist Dr Geoffrey Sher remarked, “IVF is not just a procedure, it’s a journey that tests and builds the resilience of hopeful parents.”

Ideal Candidates for IVF:

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) has emerged as a pivotal solution for various infertility issues, offering hope to countless couples and individuals. Its applicability spans a range of fertility problems, making it a versatile and often successful treatment option.

1. Infertility Issues: IVF is particularly beneficial for couples dealing with blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, a condition where the pathway for the egg to travel to the uterus is hindered. In such cases, IVF bypasses the tubes altogether. It is also a solution for male infertility issues like low sperm count or poor sperm mobility. According to a study in the ‘Journal of Human Reproductive Sciences’, IVF, especially with ICSI, has significantly improved pregnancy rates in couples with male factor infertility.

2. Age-Related Infertility: As women age, the quality and quantity of their eggs decline, leading to reduced fertility. IVF can be particularly effective for older women, especially when using donor eggs. A report by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology indicated that the use of donor eggs in IVF significantly increases success rates, particularly in women over 40.

3. Genetic Disorders: IVF offers an avenue for genetic screening, known as Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT). This process involves screening embryos for genetic abnormalities before implantation. It is a boon for couples at risk of passing on genetic disorders, allowing them to have a healthy baby. Research published in ‘Fertility and Sterility’ suggests that PGT can significantly reduce the risk of genetic disease transmission.

4. Unexplained Infertility: For couples with unexplained infertility, where no specific cause is identified, IVF comes as a ray of hope. It has a higher success rate compared to other treatments like intrauterine insemination (IUI), especially when other treatments have failed. According to a study in the ‘New England Journal of Medicine’, IVF has a success rate of around 30-35% per cycle, substantially higher than other forms of assisted reproduction in cases of unexplained infertility.

Considerations Before Opting for IVF:

Before embarking on the IVF journey, it is crucial to consider its emotional, physical, and financial implications.

1. Emotional and Physical Aspects: The IVF process can be emotionally taxing with feelings of hope, anxiety, at each stage. Physically, it demands commitment to a regimen of hormonal injections, which can cause side effects like mood swings and discomfort. The egg retrieval and embryo transfer procedures, while usually straightforward, require both physical and emotional resilience.

2. Financial Considerations: IVF is a financial commitment with an average IVF Cycle Cost in India at INR (1.5-2) Lac. The total cost can vary if multiple cycles are required. This financial aspect is a critical consideration for many as insurance coverage for IVF is not covered by many Medical Policies in India. The potential need for additional treatments like genetic testing or using donor eggs/sperm, can further escalate expenses.

3. Success Rates and Individual Variability: IVF success rates are influenced by factors like age, fertility issues, and expertise of the Fertility Doctor. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the average success rate of IVF cycles in women under 35 is about 40%, but this decreases with age. It is important to understand these rates in the context of individual circumstances, as success varies greatly from person to person.

Alternatives to IVF:

Apart from IVF, there are several other fertility treatments available, each catering to different types of infertility issues.

  • Medication is often the first line of treatment, especially for problems like ovulation disorders. Drugs like Clomiphene Citrate or Gonadotropins are prescribed to stimulate ovulation, enhancing the chances of natural conception.
  • Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) is another commonly used method. In this procedure, sperm is washed and concentrated, then directly inserted into the uterus around the time of ovulation. IUI is less invasive and more cost effective than IVF, making it a preferred choice for issues like mild male factor infertility or unexplained infertility.
  • For more complex cases, Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) treatments like Donor Egg/Donor Sperm IVF are also options. These treatments are particularly useful for individuals with irreversible infertility issues.

Preparing for IVF: Preparing

for IVF involves making key lifestyle changes that can potentially increase the success rate of the treatment:

1. Healthy Diet: Adopting a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can improve fertility. Studies suggest that diets high in trans fats and low in unsaturated fats might decrease the likelihood of success with IVF.

2. Regular Exercise: Moderate exercise can boost fertility. However, excessive, or intense exercise might have adverse effects. A study in ‘Obstetrics & Gynaecology’ found that women who engaged in moderate exercise had a 3-4% higher pregnancy rate compared to those who did not.

3. Quitting Smoking and Limiting Alcohol: Smoking can reduce the chances of IVF success by up to 50%, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Limiting alcohol intake is also advised, as excessive consumption can negatively impact fertility.

4. Stress Reduction: Stress management techniques like meditation, yoga, or counseling can be beneficial. High-stress levels have been linked to lower pregnancy rates in IVF.

 

5.Avoiding Certain Medications: Consult with a healthcare provider about current medications, as some can interfere with fertility treatments.

Each of these changes can contribute to creating an optimal environment for IVF success, though individual results may vary.

Tips On Finding The Best IVF Clinic.

1. Success Rates and Doctor’s Experience: Research the clinic’s success rates, particularly for cases like yours. Look for clinics with high success rates in IVF, but also consider their experience with specific fertility issues. Clinics that openly share their success statistics, including live birth rates, offer greater transparency and reliability.

2. Quality of Medical Staff and Facilities: Evaluate the qualifications and experience of the medical staff, especially the reproductive endocrinologists. High-quality clinics invest in state-of-the-art technology and maintain clean, well-equipped facilities. It is also important that the clinic has a competent and caring support staff, as they play a crucial role in the treatment process.

3. Patient Endorsement and Care: Read patient testimonials and reviews to gauge the clinic’s reputation. Personalized care is vital in IVF treatment and hence choose a clinic that takes the time to understand your specific situation and offers tailored treatment plans. A clinic that provides comprehensive support, including counselling and guidance throughout the process is typically a better choice.

COMMON FAQ’S

Who is IVF recommended for?

For women with compromised fallopian tubes due to damage, scarring, blockage, or absence, achieving pregnancy naturally can be a significant challenge. IVF presents a highly effective solution in such scenarios, as it circumvents the need for functional fallopian tubes. During IVF, fertilization occurs outside the body, and the embryo is directly implanted into the uterus, bypassing the tubes entirely.

Data points highlight the efficacy of IVF in these cases. According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), women with tubal factor infertility have reported considerable success with IVF. The success rates for IVF can vary based on age and other factors, but generally, they are higher than the outcomes of surgical interventions for repairing fallopian tubes. For instance, the chances of pregnancy with IVF in women under 35 can be as high as 70%, which often surpasses the success rates of tubal surgery.

Who should take IVF?

Current medical guidelines suggest that IVF is a viable option for women under 43 who have been actively trying to conceive for two years through regular, unprotected intercourse without success. Additionally, IVF is recommended for those who have undergone 12 cycles of artificial insemination. Particularly relevant are cases where at least six cycles involved intrauterine insemination (IUI), a process where sperm is placed directly into the uterus to facilitate fertilization.

This recommendation is based on a comprehensive understanding of fertility trends and the effectiveness of various treatments. The two-year timeframe for natural conception considers the variations in fertility rates and the likelihood of conceiving naturally. If unsuccessful after this period, or after multiple attempts with assisted techniques like IUI, IVF becomes a recommended course of action.

Who should not go for IVF?

In cases where one partner’s health or age-related factors make IVF treatment unfeasible, or where the couple is concerned about the associated health risks and complications, alternative family planning options like adoption or surrogacy may be considered. These alternatives can provide a fulfilling path to parenthood without the physical demands of IVF.

What is the best age to do IVF?

The optimal age for conception, typically considered to be between 24 to 30 years, is based on both physical and mental preparedness. During this age range, fertility is generally at its peak, enhancing the chances of successful pregnancy, either naturally or through assisted reproductive techniques like IVF or IUI. Prior to the age of 24, individuals may not have fully developed the physical or mental maturity needed for childbirth and parenting, impacting both their well-being and that of the child. This age range is seen as a balance between biological readiness and personal readiness for the responsibilities of parenthood.

Is IVF good for everyone?

While IVF enhances pregnancy prospects for those with fertility issues, it does not offer a universal guarantee. Success varies, as everyone’s body responds differently to the treatment. IVF is a significant option, but it is important to acknowledge that it may not be effective for everyone.

What is the cost of IVF in India?

In India, the cost of an IVF cycle typically ranges from 1.5 to 1.75 lakh INR, including medications. Without the cost of medications, the price is around 1 lakh INR per cycle. These figures can vary based on the complexity of the procedure and any additional treatments required.

 

 

 

 

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    Dr Mona Dahiya

    Dr Mona Dahiya

    IVF Specialist & Consultant

    Dr Mona Dahiya has performed over 5,000+ IVF cycles and is considered a global expert in IVF, ICSI, IUI and male fertility treatment. She is an eminent writer on Infertility Treatment and has over 100 Publications in both International and National Journals. Dr Mona Dahiya has immensely contributed to the field of infertility through her Research and articles.

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