In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a medical procedure in which eggs collected from the woman’s body in the same month are fertilized with the sperm of the patient’s partner by an embryologist in a laboratory environment. The embryos prepared in the laboratory are then transferred to the woman’s uterus at the appropriate time.
Who is Suitable for In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Treatment?
Approximately half of the couples seeking IVF treatment have female-related issues, while the other half have male-related problems. Some common situations that often require IVF treatment include:
- Individuals with diminished ovarian reserve (due to factors like age, genetics, ovarian cysts, previous surgeries, etc.)
- Couples who want to conceive at an advanced age.
- Couples who require genetic testing of embryos due to a genetic disease.
- Cases where the fallopian tubes are damaged or cannot support a normal pregnancy.
- Severe adhesions in the abdominal cavity (due to previous surgeries, endometriosis, etc.).
- Severe deficiencies in sperm count, motility, or morphology, or azoospermia (no sperm).
- Couples at a high risk of producing genetically abnormal embryos.
- Couples who have been unable to achieve pregnancy despite normal test results and waiting for an extended period.
- Situations where one of the partners requires treatment that could harm eggs or sperm (e.g., chemotherapy or radiotherapy for other medical reasons).
What Are the Causes of Infertility in Women? Causes of infertility in women may include:
- Ovulation problems (most common cause): This can be due to factors such as diminished ovarian reserve, hormonal imbalances, or conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
- Blocked or dilated fallopian tubes.
- Structural or acquired problems in the uterus, such as septum, polyps, myomas, or adhesions.
- Advanced age.
- Hormonal irregularities.
- Inability to have sexual intercourse (e.g., vaginismus).
What Are the Causes of Infertility in Men? Causes of infertility in men may include:
- Azoospermia: Absence of sperm in the semen due to congenital or acquired reasons.
- Severe impairments in sperm production, including low sperm count, poor motility, and structural abnormalities.
- Sexual dysfunction due to psychological factors or any medical condition/medication side effects that prevent adequate erection or ejaculation.
What Tests Should Be Done Before In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Treatment?
Before starting treatment, certain tests are typically required for both the woman and the man. Women may need hormone tests (TSH, AMH, prolactin, etc.), a complete blood count, liver function tests, and a contrast-enhanced hysterosalpingography (HSG). Men usually undergo a sperm analysis and liver function tests. These are basic tests, and additional genetic tests or advanced sperm tests may be necessary depending on the individual’s specific situation.
When Should In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Treatment Begin?
Your treatment protocol will be determined based on your tests and any previous treatment results. Long or short protocols for ovarian stimulation may be used, depending on the need to develop the ovaries.
- In long protocols, injections to stimulate egg development start about one week before your expected period in the month of egg collection. These injections create an appropriate hormonal environment for the egg development by suppressing hormones released by the brain. The number of injections doubles during the menstrual period, and eggs are collected after approximately 3 weeks.
- In short protocols, ovarian stimulation injections begin during your menstrual cycle. On the 5th or 6th day of treatment, a second injection is added to the protocol, and eggs are collected at the end of an average two-week period.
How Long Does the Egg Retrieval Procedure Take, and Is It Painful?
The duration of the egg retrieval procedure varies depending on the individual’s egg count but generally takes a short time, approximately 10-15 minutes. During the procedure, the patient is under anaesthesia administered through a vein, and she does not feel any pain.
Is It Necessary to Continue Taking Medication After Egg Retrieval? After egg retrieval, additional medications may be added to the treatment protocol if an embryo transfer is planned, such as progesterone.
What Is the Optimal Timing for Embryo Transfer into the Uterus?
Embryo transfer can be performed between days 3 and 5 after egg collection, depending on factors like endometrial thickness and hormonal conditions. Alternatively, embryos may be frozen, and the transfer can be postponed to another month.
When Is the Best Time for Pregnancy Testing After Transfer?
After embryo transfer, although implantation may occur in the early stages, the ideal time for the first beta hCG blood test is 10-12 days after the transfer.