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Transition from Contraception to Conception

Many women assume that when they stop using birth control pills or any other form of contraception, they will have difficulty conceiving, but in reality, your body takes just a bit of normal time that it would usually take, to adjust. In cases where you have been trying for a long time and haven't been able to conceive, there may be some reasons behind it, including age, stress, weight issues and sleep deprivation etc. But gladly there are many solutions as well. If ovulation is the issue, your doctor will suggest medication, that can help induce it. For a low sperm count, intrauterine insemination can be considered. The most sought after method nowadays is IVF or in vitro fertilization. In vitro means “outside the body”.

What is IVF?

In Vitro Fertilization is an assistive technology for reproduction. In this process, eggs are extracted and a sperm sample is taken and in a laboratory dish, these are both manually combined and fertilized. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus.

In what cases should IVF be used as a treatment?

If you're not able to conceive due to any of the following reasons, then IVF may be for you.

  • Absent Fallopian tubes (removed or naturally)
  • Fallopian tubes that are damaged or blocked
  • Uterine fibroids, ovulation disorders, and premature ovarian failure
  • Genetic disorder
  • Male infertility (low sperm count or motility)
  • People who've had cancer or lupus or are single or a member of the LGBTQ community can also benefit from this treatment.

What should you know before an IVF treatment?

Before going through with the procedure, it would be helpful to review the facts once.

  • Be thorough with the whole procedure. Do your research and ask your doctor if you have any questions in mind. You may also be prescribed with fertility drugs to stimulate the production of follicles. This is done to harvest multiple eggs and thus increase the chances of fertilization and pregnancy, in turn.
  • Doctors most of the time insert multiple embryos to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
  • You should know that this could also increase the chances of multiple births. Therefore, you should be mentally prepared.
  • Embryos are also frozen cryogenically in some cases, if the couple wants to have babies in the future, but not presently.
  • Depending on your age and your health status, as well as that of your male partner, the success rates of the IVF procedure can vary. As you grow old, the risk of infertility increases, especially over the age of 40.
  • You should know that when you decide to undergo the procedure, you need to be completely ready and patient. You need to be prepared mentally, emotionally and financially.

The Procedure

Firstly, as mentioned above, the patient is given fertility drugs to stimulate the production of eggs. Blood test and a transvaginal ultrasound are also performed to check the levels of hormones. Then, a surgical procedure is performed to retrieve the eggs. It is a minor surgery where using ultrasound imaging, a hollow needle is guided through the pelvic cavity in order to remove the eggs.

A sperm sample is then taken from the male in order to combine it with the eggs. This is then stored in a dish in a laboratory to encourage fertilization. If there is a lower chance of fertilization, in that case, a method called intracytoplasmic sperm injection might be used. A single sperm is directly injected into the egg, in this method. All of this is monitored to confirm fertilization. The eggs are considered as embryos once fertilization happens.

Three to five days post this, the embryos are transferred into the woman's uterus. To do so, a catheter is inserted into the uterus. Usually, this process is painless but you may experience a mild cramping. Implantation occurs around six to ten days after the egg retrieval if the procedure is successful. Bed rest is often advised for 24 hours after the IVF process.

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