In vitro fertilization

In vitro fertilization

85 % of couples achieve a pregnancy with IVF

In vitro Fertilization consists in obtaining several oocytes from the woman and putting them in contact with her partner’s sperm, in the laboratory. The resulting embryos are transferred into the uterus to achieve a pregnancy.

In vitro fertilization is indicated in:
1. Obstruction or damage in the fallopian tubes.
2. Endometriosis.
3. Severe alteration in sperm parameters.
4. Women over 38.
5. Long term sterility of unknown origin.

IVF consists of:

1. Preparing the ovaries: The ovarian stimulation can be preceded by a preparation of the ovaries by means of a hormonal treatment (oral contraceptives, subcutaneous injections or inhaler) which lasts 2 to 3 weeks. With this treatment, menstruation is induced and ultrasound and a blood test are sometimes performed to confirm ovarian down-regulation.

2. Ovarian Stimulation: It starts after the menstruation with injectable hormonal preparation (subcutaneous). This treatment is controlled with serial transvaginal scans and blood tests for 6-8 days, with the aim of achieving a good oocyte development and determining the optimum moment for their recovery.

3. Oocytes Recovery: The oocytes are collected by an ovarian puncture through the vagina, under ultrasound control, and aspirating the content of the follicles (small sacks of fluid containing oocytes). The follicular puncture is performed under sedation in the operating theater, and lasts 10-15 minutes. A few hours later, the patient returns home, where she rests throughout the whole day.

Fuente: Atlas de Reproducción Asistida

4. Oocytes Insemination: The partner gives the semen sample the morning of the oocyte recovery, and it is processed in the laboratory to inseminate the oocytes. In a conventional or spontaneous insemination the oocytes are placed together with the sperm in a culture tray in order for the sperm to penetrate the oocytes spontaneously. In the ICSI or intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a single sperm is inserted in each oocyte with a micropipette. The fertilisation of the oocytes is assessed 18-20 hours post insemination.

5. Embryo Transfer: One or two embryos are transferred into the uterus 2, 3 or 5 days after the oocyte retrieval. This transfer is carried out inserting, through the uterine cervix, a thin cannula loaded with the embryos. When the transfer is concluded, the patient rests for a few minutes. After the transfer a treatment with progesterone is indicated to support the implantation of the embryos.

6. The pregnancy test is carried out in blood approximately 15 days after follicle aspiration and the results are available in a few hours.

IVF treatment will last from 2 to 3 weeks (depending on the ovarian stimulation protocol). During the treatment the patient can lead a normal life, although after the oocyte recovery it is recommended to rest for 4 hours everyday until the pregnancy test.

Pregnancy rate per cycle (or month of treatment) is 30 – 55% depending on the woman’s ageMore than 70% of couples conceive during the first 3 cycles of treatment. Incidence of twin pregnancy: 20%. Click here to see our latest IVF results

Freezing or vitrification of embryos

Embryos which are not transferred are left to evolve in vitro, and those with a normal evolution are vitrified, with the consent of the couple. These embryos can be warmed and transferred to the uterus, to try again for a pregnancy in the near or distant future.

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