When a couple has been trying to conceive and has had unprotected sex for a year with negative results, this is defined as infertility. There are many causes of this condition and they can involve the female, the male, or a combination of various factors. Sometimes the problem can be with egg or sperm production, the function or structure of the female or male reproductive systems, or immune and hormonal conditions.
What Affects Female Fertility?
There are several things that can affect female fertility:
- The age of the woman
- POS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- A pelvic inflammatory disease commonly referred to as Salpingitis, which is generally caused by STDs.
- Ovulation disorders
- Problems to do with the tubes or fallopian tubes
What Affects Male Fertility?
There are several things that can affect male fertility as follows:
- Sperm Production failure
- Absent or blocked vas deferens
- Genetic diseases like cystic fibrosis
- Low sperm count
- Poor production of sperm
- Chromosomal disabilities
- Fragmentation of sperm DNA
- High numbers of sperm that is abnormally shaped
- Antibodies that are anti-sperm
IVF is able to help in some of these conditions. Basically, an IVF cycle will mean taking the egg and sperm and combining them together in the lab. The embryos that result from this process undergo a quality assessment before they are inserted into the uterus via the cervical opening.
Can IVF Help in My Condition?
IVF is able to assist with impregnation if you are suffering from the following conditions:
- Egg quality problems
- Ovulation problems
- Fallopian tubes that are blocked
- Problems with sperm motility
- Sperm count issues
It can also help in cases of unexplained infertility especially where other less invasive treatments have failed.
When you finally decide to go with IVF, you will need to first do some research to find out what the chances of success are. The CDC and SART put together reports that you can review for data. Reports such as this will give you a better understanding of the outcomes you can expect with assisted reproductive technologies. Of course, you will need to see a doctor to get prognosis that is more personalized, but for now this SART report will give you a good idea of the outlook.
How the Treatment Works
The steps in the process include the following:
- Stimulation of the ovaries – to release multiple eggs
- Development of follicles – these are sacs filled with fluid where ovum matures
- Trigger shot – This will help your eggs mature faster and be ready for fertilization
- Egg gathering – 8 – 15 eggs are retrieved.
- Fertilization – eggs and sperm are combined and left overnight
- Selecting embryos – This is done 3 – 5 days after the eggs were retrieved
- Embryo planting – 1-5 eggs are placed in your uterus
- Implantation – This is where an embryo ‘takes’ by implanting in the wall of the uterus and begins to grow.
It is important to note that just because one becomes pregnant does not mean that the pregnancy will result in a live birth. Be sure to understand the entire process and the implications of each stage of the process.