Some 30-40 years ago, who would have thought that test tube babies would become a possibility? Fertilisation in a test tube? How absurd and far-fetched would it have sounded? Yes, that would have been the typical response if such an idea were discussed. 

But now, it has become a routine practice with impressive success rates. If you are considering enrolling for IVF or are simply curious to know more about it, you have come to the right place. This blog will cover the basics and answer some of the most commonly asked questions about IVF. 

Brushing the basics

IVF, standing for In-Vitro Fertilisation, is a procedure which leads to pregnancy. It can be helpful in cases of infertility, where one or the other partner, has fertility issues. The procedure involves the collection of eggs and sperm which are then fertilised outside the body, in a lab. Once the fertilisation takes place, the egg is transferred to the woman’s uterus where it can be implanted and develop in a baby. 

Answering some common questions about IVF? 

Is IVF safe for the baby? 

As per studies, the risks of musculoskeletal and central nervous system malformations, heart defects,  low birth weight and preterm birth, are increased in children born through IVF. The risks majorly seem to be based on paternal and maternal factors, but also on IVF. 

When should I go for IVF? 

Women should consider IVF  as their last resort, i.e., when other fertilisation techniques fail. However, you must know that age matters; the quality of eggs decreases with age.  

Are there any risks for the woman? 

IVF may lead to complications like gestational diabetes mellitus and hypertension. They are observed in 2-3% of pregnancies. 

Does IVF lead to twins and multiple births?

Yes, IVF can lead to twins, or multiple births if multiple embryos are transferred to increase the chances of successful pregnancy. However, this used to be a common practice a few years ago, but with the recent developments in reproductive technology like extended blastocyst culture and PGS/CCS, multiple births have become scarce.  

Does the success of IVF reduce with age? 

Unfortunately, age matters for IVF. IVF procedures begin to be less effective and successful with age. Women and men over the age of 35 may face some challenges due to diminishing ovarian reserve and egg quality. But don’t lose hope yet because there are several advanced technologies like PGS/CCS which may expedite the procedure and improve the chances of a successful pregnancy by identifying and replacing only healthy embryos in the uterus.

How long does IVF take? 

The procedure can take anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks before the egg is retrieved. Implantation can take between 2-5 days. 

Are there any lifestyle changes I need to make while undergoing IVF treatment? 

Yes, you need to make some lifestyle adjustments. This includes quitting smoking and alcohol. You must also not indulge in vigorous exercises or refrain from taking any herbal supplements. As for prescription medicines, do not take them without informing your doctor about IVF. 

What other side effects a woman may experience after undergoing IVF? 

Women may experience nausea, headaches, hot flashes, abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, cramping and breast tenderness during the treatment. 

Closing thoughts 

If you are planning to undergo IVF treatment, you may have a few questions. While these are some generic questions, feel free to have a word with a renowned specialist if you have more questions and want to know the exact procedure and your possible success rate, depending on your age and health condition. Remember, every question asked is a step towards understanding and empowerment in your pursuit of parenthood.

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