Top 10 common questions around IVF

Goral Gandhi addresses the common questions people have when talking about IVF and its role in fertility preservation

In the wake of reproductive medical advances, there are specific questions regarding IVF that fertility doctors hear time and again. Dispelling some of the common questions, and myths about infertility, a leading embryologist Goral Gandhi tells us all what we need to know about IVF.

1.When should I consult with my OB/ GYN or fertility specialist if I think it’s taking too long to get pregnant?

It is generally advised to wait for a year and try to conceive naturally. However, if you fall into any of the following categories, then it is recommended to see a fertility specialist without waiting for a year.

  • If you have entered the advanced maternal age of 35 or above  
  • If you have already been diagnosed with reproductive issues such as endometriosis, PCOS, immunity-related illnesses, etc. 
  • If you’re having regular unprotected sex and having problems getting pregnant 

Every infertility problem does not need IVF. There are various treatment options available and your fertility specialist will choose the option best suited for you.

2. Can you conceive through IVF when you’ve been infertile? 

IVF is an effective option for couples who want to get pregnant. However, the treatment offered for infertility will depend on what’s causing your fertility problems and what is best suited for you.

3.What do we understand by an IVF cycle? 

In an IVF cycle, the woman’s ovaries are stimulated with hormones to produce multiple eggs. These eggs  are collected (retrieved) from ovaries and fertilized by the partner’s sperms in the IVF laboratory. Then the fertilized egg (embryo) or eggs (embryos) are transferred to the uterus. One full cycle of IVF takes about three to four weeks.

4. How many embryos will be implanted at a time? 

 “To avoid the chances of multiple births, one embryo is transplanted back into the womb known as single embryo transfer (Eset). In some particular cases, two embryos might be implanted as per doctor’s discretion, to increase the chances of pregnancy,” answers Dr Goral Gandhi.

5. What about the embryos/eggs that are not used? 

Good quality eggs and embryos can be stored through a process of egg freezing or embryo freezing. Usually, they are stored for ten years or longer, depending on when the couple plans to have babies.

6. What is fertility preservation, and is it something I can opt for?

As an embryologist, Goral Gandhi has helped many women take the preemptive decision of freezing their eggs. Egg freezing is a viable option for women who want to have children but not just yet. Fertility preservation in women usually means freezing eggs for the future, using cryo-preservation.

Eggs are now frozen using the latest technology of Vitrification. Low ovarian reserve and poor egg quality are the most common factors of infertility in women today. Therefore, through freezing your eggs, you can keep the quality of your eggs preserved for later planned pregnancies.

7. What goes inside an IVF laboratory? 

Dr Goral Gandhi, who has been actively involved in quality control and management in laboratories believes that an IVF lab is the place where the success of the entire process is established. Your IVF program is only as good as your IVF Laboratory. The eggs, sperms  and embryos are kept in an environment imitating the biological reproduction environment.

Embryologists are persons who are responsible for looking after your eggs and creating your embryos in the IVF laboratory. Embryos are assessed by your embryologist and he/she selects the best possible embryo for transfer and freezes the extra embryos for future use. The embryologists ensure that the highest quality standards are maintained to produce and continuously maintain  successful results.

8. Does undergoing IVF mean that I cannot get pregnant naturally afterwards? 

One of the most common presumptions about fertility preservation and fertility treatment is that it will utilize all your eggs, and make it harder for you to get pregnant later. However, this is not true. There are couples who have conceived naturally after undergoing IVF. However, the conception probability remains the same as it was before your IVF cycle.

9. How soon after IVF, can I do a pregnancy test?

It is advised to take the pregnancy test after two weeks of IVF. This is due to the fact that it takes several days for the embryo to be implanted into the womb, and then it has to produce enough hCG (human chorionic gonadotrophin) known as the pregnancy hormone, for you to experience a positive pregnancy test.

10. How many cycles of IVF are needed?

A successful pregnancy through IVF may be accomplished in the first cycle, or it may take repeated attempts, all depending on the couple and the protocols followed by the fertility clinic for maximizing effectiveness of the treatment.

These questions cover the crucial issues that revolve around IVF and assisted reproduction. However, if you want to start your family or are just looking at the options available, talking directly to a fertility expert can help answer all your concerns. 

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