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In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is a process where a child is conceived inside a laboratory test tube before being reinserted inside the mother's uterus. This is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) and is commonly sought out by couples where one or both partners have a fertility complication.
The first step involves communicating with a fertility specialist at an infertility clinic. A series of screening tests is performed to ensure that the procedure yields the desired result. These tests include checking the quantity and quality of egg and sperm cells, screening for infections or genetic impairments and a uterus examination.
The success of IVF is dependent on the cause of infertility.
If the mother is unable to fall pregnant, a surrogate mother can be arranged to carry the developing fetus. One can also opt to receive either egg or sperm cells from a suitable donor.
IVF involves a series of steps and medications. The process is a lot simpler for men, who need only give a sample of their sperm cells (through masturbation) on the day of fertilization.
The process for women involves:
- Ovarian Stimulants - Usually an injection that stimulates the ovaries, ensuring they release more than one egg cell to increase the chance of success.
- Egg Cell Maturation Medication - After the ovaries have been stimulated, medications will be administered that ensure the egg cells mature. These are often coupled with further medications that prevent premature ovulation.
- Egg Cell Retrieval - On the day your egg cells are ready, you will be sedated and a specialist will retrieve them through a method appropriate to your anatomy.
- Uterus Medications - Your doctor will finally give you medications that prepare the lining of your uterus for receiving back your fertilized egg cell.