IVF is a procedure widely used for conception by infertile couples i.e. couples with repeated unsuccessful attempts of getting pregnant. IVF has its variants and they all have different success rates .This tells us that if one procedure doesn’t work there is always another way.
Around Australia, the dream of
starting a family and bringing a child into the world isn’t such an easy one.
Many women face troubles with conceiving for a variety of reasons. For
heterosexuals experiencing fertility issues, single women starting a family,
and same-sex couples wanting to conceive, IVF is an option that many turn to.
Intra Vitro Fertilisation, more
commonly referred to as IVF, is a medical procedure in which reproduction is
supported using technology. In this procedure, the egg from the female is
fertilised by sperm from a male outside of the uterus.
When IVF is determined as the best
course of action for a woman, there are bound to be endless questions that
arise. This guide is designed to outline some of the main concerns about IVF
and fill in some missing details.
Of course, the best way to get the
right information about IVF and how the procedure will affect your life is by
talking to your doctor. Remember, any genetic or medical or lifestyle
conditions need to be discussed in detail with your doctor to make sure that
IVF is right.
IVF falls under the category of
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). There are many technologies such as IVF
which assist people to reproduce if they have trouble naturally conceiving.
The process of IVF is different to
other ARTs. It involves taking eggs (ova) from the woman and fertilising it
outside the womb. This is done by retrieving a sperm sample from a male, either
a known partner or an unknown donor. The egg and the sperm are then manually
fertilised in a laboratory dish.
If fertilisation is successful
inside the laboratory, the fertilised egg is then surgically transferred to the
uterus. From here, the embryo grows into a baby as per the normal pregnancy
IVF is one of the most popular and
commonly used forms of ART for many reasons. Others include gamete
intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT). There
is also artificial insemination (AI).
There are many reasons why couples
(both heterosexual and same-sex) or singles seek out IVF. The reproductive
system, although biologically systemized, doesn’t always work the way that it
should. Many lifestyle, health, or dietary factors can have a negative impact
on natural conception. Thankfully, there are many technologies available today,
such as IVF, which can help all people reach their fertility dreams.
Around Australia, IVF is available
to all people upon referral from a fertility specialist or doctor. Many
same-sex couples seek out IVF either using a known or unknown sperm donor (for
IVF can make a huge positive
different to the lives of many by granting them the gift of conception.
Typically, IVF takes place after many fertility diagnostics and assessment to
find out if this is the right treatment for certain individuals. In some cases,
such as health concerns or cancer recovery patients, IVF will not be
recommended by a fertility specialist.
is the right time to seek out IVF?
Realizing that infertility is a
problem can be emotionally distressing. It can cause many frustrations for
couples. Similarly, deciding to pursue fertility options for singles can a
taxing journey. This is why IVF is only recommended after numerous
consultations with fertility doctors and specialists. There are also fertility
counsellors which doctors can recommend patients to depending how your journey
Infertility is typically defined as
being an issue after trying to conceive for 6 months to a year. This is true
for women who experience regular menstrual cycles and have had no previous with
irregularities with their period or uterus.
It is also important to remember
that infertility is more common in women aged 35 and above. This is due to a
nature decline in fertility after this age. The eggs that are released from the
ova after this age are naturally less fertile. However, it is still possible to
conceive naturally, although IVF and other ART treatments are more commonly
used for older women.
Infertility is first explored and
evaluated by visiting a general practitioner doctor, an obstetrician or
gynaecologist, or a reproductive endocrinologist after referral. IVF is
recommended and the treatment carried out after a long evaluation and referral
period. It is important that many fertility tests are carried out throughout
this time so that the doctor can be absolutely sure this is the right procedure
there risks and side effects of IVF?
The technology behind IVF has
evolved and advanced over the years. Today, it is a relatively safe and
complication-free procedure. It is used commonly around the developed world and
there are rarely side effects that stem from IVF.
That being said, given this is a
medical procedure, some people can have adverse reactions to some of the
medications used. These are generally mild and not life-threatening. However,
if any problems do persist before, during, or after an IVF cycle, it is important
that you speak to your doctor immediately. It is always better to be safe than
sorry with these things!
Some issues that patients experience
associated with IVF include:
Passing of a light fluid,
either clear or blood, after the initial procedure
Mild cramping for a few
Constipation for some time
after the procedure
Some more serious side effects that
require immediate attention include:
Vaginal bleeding of any
Pain around the pelvic
Blood in urine or stool
A fever or hot flushes
over 38 degrees Celsius
There are also fertility medications
that need to be taken alongside IVF cycles. These can also cause some side
effects that are not particularly severe. Some women have experiences headaches,
mood swings, bloating, and mild abdominal pain as a result of the medications.
They aren’t usually something to worry about, but if something feels
uncomfortable or severe, it is important to consult your doctor straight away.
does IVF care require before and after?
Although it is relatively simple,
IVF is still a serious medical treatment so you need to take care of yourself
before and after treatment. IVF can run for many monthly cycles until a
successful conception so being in optimal condition each time can help boost
the chances of success.
To help increase the chances of IVF
working as quickly as possible, there are some things that are recommended. Of
course, everyone is different so make sure you chat with your specific
fertility doctor to make sure certain things are worth trying for your unique
In general, some of these things can
help increase the chances of conceiving:
Take folic acid in the
form of a multivitamin
Try to avoid coughing or
sneezing during and immediately after the transfer
Relax and try to laugh
after the procedure - the endorphins can help success implantation
Eat and drink healthy
leading up to the transfer and after
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
After the first round of IVF, it is
important to maintain a healthy body and mind to ensure a successful
implantation. There are some things you can do to after a treatment to take
care of yourself in the best way possible.
First, try to rest as much as
possible. While you shouldn’t confine yourself bed in the days following a
treatment, do try to get some down time and take it easy. Avoiding intense,
strenuous exercise is a good idea. Also, refrain from vigorous sexual
intercourse. The ovaries are pretty tender and inflamed immediately after an
IVF transfer to keeping high impact away from them is advisable.
Make sure your diet and mealtimes
are jam-packed with nutritional goodness. Eating as if you’re already pregnant
is the type of regime to plan for. Keeping up folate, iron, and getting a
well-balanced spread of vitamins and minerals in the body can make the womb
more hospitable for a successful pregnancy.
Remember, it is important to talk
about how you’re feeling after an IVF cycle. Emotions can be running thanks to
the hormones and medications required for each cycle. Make sure you have a
close group of friends around and talk to your family members or partner as
much as possible about how things felt and are feeling.
successful is IVF and what contributes to the success?
Given that IVF is very much a
case-by-case procedure, it is hard to say an overall success rate. The success
rate depends on many factors and varies person by person. It is worth having a
chat with your fertility specialist about the success rates they have had at
their particular clinic.
Some information that fertility
clinics generally have available to the public include:
Pregnancy ratio per embryo
Pregnancy rate for
couple’s age group
Live birth rate per IVF
Rate of patients pregnant
There are some biological factors
that will determine the chances of success for IVF treatment. For instance, IVF
is more successful in younger women, aged below 35. Since natural fertility
decreases on its own as women get older, the chances of IVF lessen
significantly past the age of 35. That being said, there are many successful
cases of women conceiving a child through IVF aged in their 40s.
Other things that determine the
success of IVF are pre-known medical conditions. If you have had any health
problems, suffered from cancer, or have a genetic history of trouble
conceiving, these may have a predetermining role. This will all be reviewed throughout
the case with your fertility specialists throughout their investigations.
Another factor to consider are past
pregnancies and/or miscarriages. If you have been pregnant before but did not
carry a baby to full term for whatever reason, this can lessen the success of
pregnancy. It is important to bring any past pregnancies and miscarriages to
the attention of your fertility specialist straight away.
There are also health concerns that
can impact on whether or not IVF will be successful. Some of these include:
Uterine fibroids or
Male infertility and
female infertility combined
As well as health concerns,
lifestyle factors also come into play. IVF has less chances of success when the
person undergoing the treatment smokes cigarettes, drinks alcohol excessively,
and is overweight or obese.
Finally, the place where the
treatment is taking place plays a role in the IVF success.
How good the air quality,
heating, and ventilation systems are in the lab
The temperature and
lighting of the room
General cleanliness of the
can you do to help IVF and boost the chances of success?
No doubt, when you’re undergoing an
IVF treatment, you want the best outcome possible. Despite so many factors that
are out of your control impacting on IVF treatments, there are many things you
can do to boost the chances of success. Before, during, and after and IVF
cycle, ensure that you follow some of these simple practices at home to give
your body the best chance for conception through IVF.
The first thing to look at is diet.
It is important to eat healthy and maintain a balanced diet. This means that
lots of leafy greens, fresh vegetables, and plenty of fruit should be making
their way into your body each day. It is also advisable to quit the caffeine
and put any alcoholic beverages aside while trying to conceive through IVF, as
you would a typical pregnancy.
Lifestyle plays a big role in
getting pregnant under any circumstances. This means having your body at its
optimal weight and not being overweight or obese is important. You don’t have
to be supermodel thin of course, but keeping off any excess and unnecessary
kilos can help the body prepare for a success IVF treatment.
Many people look into using
acupuncture when going through IVF cycles. There is much evidence that suggests
acupuncture can help balance the body, promote blood flow to the reproductive
organs, and encourage relaxation throughout the body to boost chances of
conceiving through IVF. Around Australia, there are many acupuncture fertility
specialists who work in this field and help patients have a successful IVF
cycle. It is worth asking your fertility specialist if they recommend this and
have a good acupuncturist they know.
For couples, it is recommended to
continue having sex as per usual. This is an important time to maintain a
physical connection so don’t be afraid to spend time together between the
sheets. That being said, verbal communication is also crucial and you should
both go to extra effort to communicate feelings and discuss the journey that
For singles going through IVF, be
sure to have a solid support network. Feeling connection and avoiding isolation
will help keep stress and anxiety levels down. If you feel stressed, anxious,
and alone, it can lower the chances of IVF working well.
On the actual day of the transfer,
make sure to eat plenty of warm foods to keep the abdomen cosy. Think about
packing lots of nutrients into the body via a warm and tasty soup. You can also
bring a heat pack to keep your stomach warm and calm. Make sure to rest as much
as possible to keep your cortisol levels down before the procedure.
are main IVF providers in Australia?
Many couples seek IVF treatment and
understandably, they want to know they are going through a quality provider.
All IVF providers in Australia undergo rigorous testing to make sure their
procedures are up to scratch.
Most IVF providers are private companies
working under an umbrella company covering wider fertility issues.
Some of the
main names that come up on the IVF scene around Australia include:
Primary IVF (offers
While the overall service of the
main clinics is the same (that being IVF treatment), there are some things that
differ, such as the fees and the bulk-billing options. It is important to
thoroughly discuss with your fertility specialist and the clinic itself what
the fees will be. They can vary on a case-by-case basis and depending on
circumstances, some out-of-pocket fees may be covered by insurance or
things to know before getting IVF
If IVF has been determined as the
best pathway for your infertility journey, here are some final pointers to bear in mind:
There is a difference
between successful pregnancy rates and live birth rates. Be aware of the
different statistics from varying clinics.
“Budget clinics” are not
“cheap and nasty options”, rather they use low-dose hormone stimulation
products which means that patients spend less on drugs. Just be aware of what
you are getting into with the fees of any clinic.
Embryos are highly
sensitive to laboratory conditions so make sure you choose a clinic with a
Health, diet, and
lifestyle play a huge role in IVF success so do yourself a favour and get into
prime condition before undergoing IVF.
Consider looking into
fertility acupuncture to boost the chances of IVF. It is also a great way to
relax and ease the stress of the IVF journey.
Remember, don’t go to an
IVF clinic unless you’ve been recommended by a fertility specialist. There
might be another answer out there for your infertility problems before
Hopefully, you have learnt more
about IVF treatment and what the process involves. It will be up to a fertility
doctor to review your infertility case and determine whether IVF is the most
suitable course of action. Remember, there are many other reproductive
technologies available if IVF isn’t the right one for you.
If you do go down the pathway of
IVF, remember to keep a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, and exercise lightly
and regularly to keep your body in optimal shape. The best way to conceive a
child through any method is to take care of yourself first.
IVF can be an emotionally, mentally,
and physically taxing journey. Be sure to have open communication with your partner
or a close friend and have a strong support network to keep you feeling happy
and positive throughout the journey.
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