IN VITRO FECUNDATION (IVF)
Technique comprising in contacting the extracted oocytes of the patient and the partner’s sperm (or donor) in a suitable growing medium, and wait for fertilization to occur, and then transfer the embryos to the uterus.
There are several reasons for resorting to IVF for example, when blocked fallopian tube is detected, hormonal imbalances, endometriosis, low sperm count, or poor quality of these. You can also use In Vitro Fertilization when other treatment has not been successful.
In Vitro Fertilization is a procedure that is divided into four phases:
- The ovarian stimulation: drugs that stimulate the ovaries to increase the number of mature follicles in the cycle are administrated. Within each follicle is an egg or oocyte. Once follicles reach a suitable size an injection of the hormone hCG is administrated, and 36 hours later the puncture (oocyte retrieval) is performed.
- The puncture: the goal is to extract the eggs or oocytes from the ovaries. This procedure is performed vaginally and under sedation, and is completely painless.
- Fertilization in laboratory: can be performed by two different methods, IVF or microinjection:
- a. Traditional In Vitro Fertilization: the extracted sperm come in contact with the oocyte. Between 18 to 22 hours later you can see if the eggs have been fertilized.
- b. Microinjection or ICSI: is a micromanipulation technique in which a single sperm is injected into an egg. Microinjection is used in cases with very low sperm count, poor morphology or poor sperm mobility. It is also used in cases where sperm have difficulty penetrating into an egg.
- Embryo Transfer: between two and five days after the puncture, 1, 2 or 3 embryos are transferred into the woman’s uterus. The goal is to get a singleton pregnancy but depending of the age of the patient and the quality of the embryo, in a joint decision between the medical team and the patient they decide the number of embryos to be transferred.