Vitro Fertilization(Synonym: Test Tube Baby):
Wei, Test tube baby series nos 18, 4 and
19. 1992/3. Acrylic on canvas, 125 x 48cm
each panel. Acquired 1995. UNSW P 1995/0658;
0685 and 0659
In Vitro Fertilization?
Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the scientific
name given to the process with is used to
conceive a child outside the body. A woman's
egg (ovum) and her partner's sperm are placed
together in a plastic dish or a test tube
in the hope that fertilization will occur.
IVF is a technique in which egg (ovum) is
fertilized outside the woman's body. IVF
is a revolutionary treatment for infertility
and is performed when other methods of achieving
conception have failed.
is the goal of IVF?
Women with Fallopian tube blockages cannot
conceive because their eggs cannot travel
through their Fallopian tubes to get fertilized.
The goal of IVF is to achieve fertilization
outside the body, implant this fertilized
egg in the woman's womb which may result
is an ideal candidate for IVF?
If you are under 35 years of age and are
unable to become pregnant after one year
of unprotected intercourse, if you have
had Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and have
suffered damage to your fallopian tubes
resulting in permanent blockage of your
tubes or if your partner has been diagnosed
with having low sperm counts or if the sperms
have abnormal morphology or motility, then
you are an ideal candidate for IVF.
does the procedure for IVF involve?
IVF is performed in treatment cycles. Pregnancy
may be achieved after one treatment cycle
or it may take up to four treatment cycles
to achieve a successful pregnancy. Each
treatment cycle of IVF consists of the following
for IVF - Infertility evaluation prior
to IVF is done by blood tests to monitor
your hormone levels and ultrasound examination
to determine the optimum time to harvest
your egg from the ovary. You will be
administered an injection of human Chorionic
Gonadotrophin (hCG) 35 hours before
your egg is retrieved from the ovary.
Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (hCG)
triggers final stages of ovulation.
Egg Retrieval - During this step in
IVF procedure, the eggs from the ovary
are aspirated transvaginally by an ultrasound
guided probe. A fine needle pierces
the ovarian follicle and the follicular
fluid, which contains the egg, is extracted.
This step of IVF procedure is performed
under local anesthesia and intravenous
sedation to help you relax and minimize
discomfort during the procedure.
IVF Lab.- The eggs are washed and then
cultured in a fluid containing specialized
chemicals and nutrients. A couple of
hours after egg collection, the husband
/ partner provides a semen specimen.
It is extremely important that both
egg and sperm are maintained at body
temperature. The embryologist adds a
droplet of semen to each test tube containing
the eggs and places it in the incubator.
After 16 - 20 hours, the eggs are examined
under the microscope and checked for
the first signs of fertilization. A
fertilized ovum looks like a small ball
with two eyes under the microscope.
After two to three days, if the embryos
are growing normally, they are ready
to be transferred to the woman's uterus.
Embryo Transfer (ET) of IVF - This is
not complicated at all. You will be
given some sedation, your legs will
be placed in stirrups in gynecologic
(lithotomy) position. The embryos are
placed in a tiny plastic tube which
is introduced into the uterus through
the cervix, the embryo(s) are transferred
into the endometrial cavity (uterus).
You will be required to remain lying
down for about an hour after the embryo
How do I
prepare for IVF?
The preparation for IVF basically consists
of a thorough physical examination including
a vaginal examination to ensure the normal
anatomy of vagina, cervix and uterus. Blood
tests will be performed to monitor your
estradiol, progesterone, follicle stimulating
hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH)
levels. Make sure to inform your physician
about all the prescription and non-prescription
medications (including vitamin, mineral
and herbal supplements) that you take. Stop
smoking as it may create problems during
is the recovery period like following IVF?
If pregnancy does not occur from the fresh
embryo transfer, then the step of embryo
transfer can be repaeted from the frozen
embryos. Frozen embryos are thawed and transfer
is recommended before commencing another
stimulated cycle. After the embryo transfer,
you will be instructed to absolutely restrict
your physical activities for the first 24
- 72 hours. A pregnancy test will be performed
approximately 9 - 12 days after the embryo
transfer. Your blood levels of progesterone,
estradiol, and beta hCG (pregnancy test)
are monitored. If there is a positive pregnancy
test, close monitoring of the early pregnancy
is highly recommended. The first pregnancy
ultrasound for detection of the baby's heartbeat
and evaluation of the number of embryos
implanted is usually done between the 4th
and 6th week after embryo transfer stage
is the outcome of IVF?
There is a 20 - 50% success rate per IVF
cycle. There are various factors that may
contribute to infertility. They can be attributed
to either the male or female partner, or
both. An infertility work-up is necessary
to determine the specific cause and subsequent
treatment. To provide optimum opportunity
for success, it is important that the timing
of the entire IVF procedure be accurate.
of In Vitro Fertilization
is a procedure designed to enhance the likelihood
of conception and establish a pregnancy
in couples for whom other infertility treatments
have been unsuccessful or are not possible.
IVF is a complex process and involves multiple
steps resulting in the insemination and
fertilization of eggs outside the body.
Risks of In Vitro Fertilization
reaction to medications required to
boost egg production.
Overstimulation of ovaries - This may
occur as a result to excessive secretion
of estrogen by the ovaries followed
by injection of Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin
(hCG) to trigger final stages of ovulation.
Failure of the ovaries to respond to
to In Vitro Fertilization
ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection)
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
is a technique to directly inject the
sperm into eggs
IVF using donor eggs
Ovulation Induction - This method uses
fertility drug therapy to stimulate
GIFT (Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer)
- In this treatment the eggs are retrieved
laparoscopically and 3 or 4 eggs are
transferred back into the fallopian
tubes with the sperm at the same time
Embryo Freezing - This procedure is
used to preserve (by freezing) and store
embryos for implantation at a later
Natural IVF (Drug-free IVF) - An IVF
procedure without the use of any drugs
Ovum Donation - A procedure which involves
the removal of eggs from one woman for
use by another female unable to produce
her own eggs.
Gestational Surrogacy - A woman who
carries a pregnancy produced by an embryo
that is not genetically related to her
and then returns the child to its genetic
parents at birth
Donor Frozen Embryo Program - A program
whereby couples donate their frozen
embryos to anonymous recipient couples,
usually after the donating couple have
achieved pregnancy(ies) and completed
to "Fertility Treatment"