It was a gathering of great minds in the field of gynecology at the 2017 Fertility Conference. The international event was graced by gynecological oncologists and pathologists, psychologists, nurses, fertility specialists, and other healthcare professionals who were interested in listening and sharing their knowledge about fertility and In Vitro Fertilization, which was one of the main topics discussed. Attendees witnessed and joined research forums, workshops, and presentations of new tools and techniques. Problems of women being able to reproduce were also of great significance, which was further deliberated during the conference.
So what is IVF, and how does it work?
In Vitro Fertilization
IVF is one of the most popular forms of assisted reproductive technology that works by utilizing surgical procedures combined with certain medications to help the sperm cell fertilize the eggs. One or more of these eggs are then placed inside the woman’s uterus. Pregnancy occurs if one of the embryos are successfully implanted in the uterus lining.
First, the woman is asked to take the recommended fertility medicines for a few months to assist her ovaries in producing some eggs that would mature and be ready to fertilize. This process is known as ovulation induction. Once there are enough mature ovaries produced, the doctor then removes them from the body, a procedure that requires minor surgery that can usually be done in the doctor’s clinic. The doctor may let you take some medicines to calm you down before the procedure.
After the egg retrieval, the eggs are then combined with the partner’s sperm cells in the lab, which is called insemination. They are stored in a special container where fertilization is going to occur. For sperms that have low motility, the doctor might directly inject them into the egg cells to hasten the fertilization. Once the fertilized eggs separate and become embryos, the staff assigned in the lab are tasked to keep track of their progress. In about five days, one or more embryos are placed into the uterus (embryo transfer), which the doctor performs by sliding a thin tube into the woman’s cervix to the uterus and inserting the embryo through the tube. If any of the embryos placed attaches to the lining, then pregnancy occurs.
After an embryo transfer, the woman is typically advised to rest and to go back to her usual activities the day after. Shots of progesterone may also be injected for the embryo to be stronger and survive inside the uterus.