In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is a mode of fertility treatment where the eggs are extracted from the ovaries of a woman and are fertilized with the sperm of a man, outside the body of the woman.
This IVF procedure takes place in a laboratory under optimal conditions. The embryos formed as a result of fertilization are again implanted in the uterine wall of the woman, thus, achieving pregnancy.
Reasons behind the success of IVF treatment
During the process of IVF, women are given medications to increase the secretion of various hormones required for pregnancy. An increase in the hormone level, in turn, causes the growth of multiple ovarian follicles per cycle.
The follicles comprise of eggs, which matures and are released with the help of medications. Since the growth and release of eggs are controlled by medication; thus, the chances of pregnancy becomes higher.
Sperm count required is less
Several factors relating to the sperm are necessary for conception to occur, such as sperm count, the health of the sperm, motility, morphology of the sperm, etc.
During natural conception, a higher sperm count is required because the sperm has to travel a greater distance to fertilize the potential eggs.
However, if the sperm count is less, then pregnancy will not occur through natural processes. In such cases, IVF comes to the rescue.
Since the fertilization process takes place in a laboratory, thus, the sperm do not have to travel any distance. Therefore, the number of sperm required is also less.
The reason behind a higher success rate of IVF treatment is that it removes a lot of barriers that may interfere in the journey of the sperm to reach the egg.
Since the fertilization takes place outside the body, all those barriers do not have any effect on the fertilization.
Various medical conditions like endometriosis and PCOS does not affect the conception during IVF.
Sometimes, men develop antibodies to their own sperm. It occurs mainly after a vasectomy. Many times, women develop antibodies to their partner’s sperm.
Both these conditions affect the chances of fertility. However, IVF reduces this effect as the time to bind to or attack the sperm is very less during the cycle of IVF.
Moreover, sperm is directly injected inside the egg(Intracytoplasmic sperm injection), which increases the chances of fertility.
In IVF, the doctors can check and evaluate the conditions of the eggs and fertilized embryos before transferring them to the uterus.
Various advanced methods like preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and PGS preimplantation genetic screening are used to check the embryos for any genetic anomalies or chromosomal abnormalities.
In this way, the strongest embryo with the highest chance of survival is chosen and is transferred into the uterus.
Reasons behind the failure of IVF treatment
Quality of the embryo
The quality of the embryos plays a very important role in pregnancy. Sometimes, the embryos are defective or of inferior quality, and they do not get implanted after being transferred to the uterus. It may look healthy in the beginning, but defective embryos die after a few days.
Response from the ovaries
It may sometimes happen that the ovaries do not respond in the manner it should have responded in normal circumstances. It may occur due to the increased age of women (after 37 years), or due to high follicle-stimulating hormone levels. In both cases, the chances of the success of IVF is less.
Sperm plays a vital and complicated role in fertilizing the egg. It must be sufficient in quantity, must be motile and healthy. When the sperm and egg meet, enzymes are released from the head of the sperm that penetrates the surface of the egg. Any abnormality in the sperm may result in the failure of IVF.
Embryos with chromosomal abnormalities may cause IVF failure. Chromosomal abnormality is one of the significant reasons for miscarriages and implantation failure in pregnancy. Women above the age of 30 experience this problem more commonly, and it increases when she reaches the mid-40s.
Lifestyle also plays a very crucial role during the IVF procedure. Doctors will tell you to stop smoking for a minimum of three months before undergoing your IVF treatment. Smoking often leads to miscarriage and reduces the chances of conception.
Age of the Eggs
Besides the age of the women, the age of the eggs also plays a crucial part in IVF fertility treatment. With the growing maturity of the woman, the quantity, as well as the quality of the eggs, are also affected in many ways.
The success rate of IVF
The success rate of IVF is uncertain. It depends on many factors such as the patient’s age, cause, and duration of infertility, ovarian response, etc. After the procedure is complete, various precautions must be taken by the woman, such as not doing any vigorous exercises, avoid smoking and drinking alcohol, regularly taking the medicines as prescribed by the doctor, etc.