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In Vitro Fertilisation is a procedure of assisted reproduction in which a man's sperm and a woman's eggs are retrieved and combined in a laboratory dish. When one or more eggs are fertilised, they are transferred into a woman's uterus, where they implant and develop in the uterine lining. An IVF treatment cycle usually lasts for four weeks, and more than one IVF cycle may be required to get a positive pregnancy test.
IVF is more popular amongst couples because it can be done using their own eggs and sperm or even from a donor's sperm or embryos. Some less-invasive treatment options that a couple can choose include reproductive medications, increased production of eggs, ovulation induction, and Intrauterine insemination (IUI). An IVF treatment is usually only recommended when the rest of the options fail. It is also the only option for women whose fallopian tubes are blocked. IVF is one of the most effective treatments to get pregnant and serious complications from IVF are rare; however, it is a time-sensitive procedure.
IVF is known to have a higher success rate without a delayed initiation. Therefore, a couple needs to consult a fertility specialist as soon as they undergo the first sign of infertility. They should understand their biological clock, as the success rate of the treatment will depend on their ability to produce eggs or sperm. The procedure consists of numerous tests like evaluating ovarian reserve, semen analysis, uterine cavity examination, etc. Women and men over 37 years are more vulnerable to losing their reproductive potential, causing infertility. They have a low ovarian reserve and low sperm count with depleted quality. The entire procedure is a time-sensitive and delayed decision of IVF treatments that can lead to unsuccessful IVF results, further causing depression, anxiety, and poor quality of life.
Couples with fertility issues often question whether they can still undergo IVF treatment to conceive a baby. Although there are various successful cases of women in their 40s and 50s conceiving with the help of IVF, one should also keep in mind that the success rates decrease with the patient's age. There is also a higher risk of pregnancy complications. These complications include an increased risk of gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, miscarriage, and even genetic abnormalities. Therefore, the most common age group who pursue IVF is around the mid 30s and 40s. Women in their 30s and mid-40s are the ideal candidates for IVF, but women in their late 40s and above should be healthy without any medical conditions to become good candidates for the treatment. Women can use their eggs for IVF, but as they grow older, the quantity and quality of eggs continue to decline. Even if the eggs of older women are fertilised, they may have a difficult time implanting, causing more complications making the process more challenging for the women. It is recommended that older women use younger eggs to have a higher chance of successful pregnancy. They can use either their own eggs that were frozen at an earlier stage or eggs from the donor.
IVF treatment has helped many couples around the globe and blessed them with a baby. Although there is no wrong time for having a baby, it is best if you are aware of all the consequences of trying to conceive at a later age. While women can opt for IVF treatment to conceive when they are older, similar to natural pregnancy, the success rate of IVF also decreases with age. Therefore, it is recommended not to ignore the signs of infertility and visit a doctor to evaluate and ensure a successful pregnancy.
The article is contributed by Dr. Preeti Mahawar, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility East, Uttam Kumar Sarani, Kolkata.
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