What Is IVF?
The three simple letters, IVF, may just look like a random bunch of letters, but to a couple struggling to have a baby, IVF treatment means hope. It’s a potential at life and at parenting a child. Scientifically, IVF stands for In Vitro Fertilization. It is a technique that takes place in a medical doctor visit and a lab.
The process uses an egg and sperm to create an embryo, or in some cases more than one embryo. Once the embryo is created, it is then transferred through the cervix into a woman’s uterus where it will hopefully implant itself and develop into a healthy baby to eventually be birthed like any other baby from a pregnant woman.
IVF treatment requires a 4-step process:
- Inducing ovulation
- Retrieving eggs
- Transferring the embryo
In IVF treatment, a doctor will first monitor the woman’s ovaries to see whether or not eggs are being released. Quite often, this will require the use of hormones or other medication to stimulate the ovaries for egg production. Once there is a viable egg, it is retrieved by using an extremely thin needle which is inserted through the upper vaginal wall to remove fluid from the follicles of the ovaries. These follicles contain one or more eggs which is immediately put in a dish and set inside an incubator.
Meanwhile, a sample of the sperm is obtained and added to the egg. Ideally, the sperm will then fertilize at least one egg which will be monitored to make sure the embryo is developing properly. After careful observation, the doctor and an embryologist will determine when the embryo is ready to transfer. Then, the doctor will place a speculum into the woman’s vagina to open it up for the embryo to be transferred through a small plastic tube that goes through the cervix and into the uterine cavity. Afterwards, the hopeful mother waits for two weeks before being given a pregnancy test and a hormone check.