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Introduction to In Vitro Fertilization : What, Why, When and How?

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In Vitro Fertilization – It Is Not Only About Infertility Problem

To have kids used to be the goal for most couples. However, as time progressed, many things have changed. Many young couples have decided to delay having kids. Nowadays women are giving birth for their first baby at late 20s or early 30s. There are many reasons for delayed pregnancy, such as economic factor, the desire to chase careers, lifestyle, or because thought of overpopulation problem. As a result, the world sees an increasing popularity in IVF (in vitro fertilization).

The IVF technology, developed in 1970s, has given hope to many couples that face infertility problems. But, it can also be a solution for couples that wished to delay pregnancy. In vitro itself means outside living organism, hence IVF refers to fertilization outside the womb. The egg (ovum) and sperm are taken out from the patient’s body, combined, and cultivated in the laboratory. After certain times, the fertilised egg is then implanted into the woman’s uterus1.

In Vitro Fertilization – The Success Factors and Other Options

The success of IVF treatment is hugely affected by the mother’s age2. Unlike men, women are born with limited number of eggs. Younger women will have higher chance of IVF success compared to older women as they have more eggs. In fact, Danish researchers found that the chance of live birth from IVF was only 18% for women over 40.

Unfortunately, it is not only the quantity that declined as woman aged, but also the quality of the eggs. For this reason, egg freezing has steadily become a popular option for women who wish to delay pregnancy. Through egg freezing, women can freeze their eggs while they are on the peak of their fertility, to be used later when they are ready to have children.

What are the options when the normal circumstances cannot be met? As in Kim Kandarshian’s case, surrogacy is an option if the mother have medical condition that make it dangerous for her to get pregnant. IVF with Egg donor can be an option as well when the egg quality is poor. This can be better option when you and your partner are at risk on passing genetic diseases to your child or if the mother’s ovaries are damaged through chemotherapy.

Source: Pixabay

It can be seen that IVF is a sensible option for couples who are having hard times conceiving children, or for couples who are still unsure. In recent years, there are many developments aiming to increase the success rate of IVF. This includes studies to improve the oocyte (the cell that will develop into ovum) quality through mitochondrial transfer or new method of stimulation3. Australian scientists are also developing artificial intelligence tool that allows embryologists to identify the embryo with the best chance of achieving a successful pregnancy.

To finish, for couples that are planning to go for IVF treatment, it is important to note that IVF treatment can be very expensive, laborious and not all country legalized IVF treatment. Also, while IVF success heavily depends on the woman’s side, it is also suggested that men should also prepare themselves in case of poor sperm quality.

*Solmeglas is now working on this field. We are proud to have numerous fertility clinics as our clients.

Reference

  1. Chang, AM 2013, ‘In vitro fertilization’, Magill’S Medical Guide (Online Edition), Research Starters, EBSCOhost, viewed 24 July 2018.
  2. Ben-Meir A, Burstein E, Borrego-Alvarez A, et al. : Coenzyme Q10 restores oocyte mitochondrial function and fertility during reproductive aging. Aging Cell.2015;14(5):887–95. 10.1111/acel.12368
  3. Casper R, Haas J, Hsieh TB et al.Recent advances in in vitro fertilization [version 1; referees: 2 approved]. F1000Research 2017, 6(F1000 Faculty Rev):1616
    (doi: 12688/f1000research.11701.1)
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