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In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most effective types of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that has helped countless couples struggling with infertility. When you set out to begin your IVF journey, the road ahead may seem very uncertain and the process demanding and overwhelming. Every couple is unique, and it is impossible to predict exactly how your IVF cycle will go. In order to understand what you will be experiencing throughout the IVF process; it is important to have a good grasp on what IVF actually is and how it works. Here, Dr Sneha Sathe, Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility Mumbai, have outlined the most important landmarks along the IVF journey.
The IVF Process in Five Steps -
You will be given fertility medicines (injections) in order to stimulate your ovaries to grow more eggs. During this period, you will need to follow up for regular transvaginal ultrasounds to check on your ovaries and your endometrium.
Once your ovarian follicles are ready, you will be given an injection (trigger shot) for final egg maturation followed 34 to 36 hours later by a minor surgical procedure called Oocyte Pick Up (OPU) to retrieve your eggs. OPU is done under anaesthesia and with the help of ultrasound guidance.
The morning that your eggs are retrieved, your husband will be asked to provide his sperm sample.
Now, in the IVF laboratory, your eggs will be fertilized with your husband's sperm and the resulting embryos will be cultured in a special culture medium that supports their growth for 3 to 6 days.
On the day your eggs have been retrieved, you will be advised to start certain medicines to prep the lining of your uterus to receive the embryo/s that will be transferred into your womb. About three to five days after fertilization, your doctor will place one or two embryos in your uterus using a catheter. This embryo transfer procedure does not require any anaesthesia and will be done while you are awake.
Not all women have an embryo transfer in the same cycle that the eggs are retrieved. In some situations, it is advised to freeze all embryos and then plan the frozen embryo transfer a month or two later.
The next step of course is the pregnancy test which is done two weeks later! During this two week wait till your pregnancy test, bed rest is not required at all and is in fact discouraged. You need to be sure to continue all your medicines as advised, and other than that try to keep yourself occupied and busy. It is advisable that you refrain from strenuous physical activities as well as sexual intercourse during this time.
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