IVF & Fertility Medicine
- In Vitro Fertilization is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) commonly referred to as IVF. IVF is the process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and thenmanually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus. Other forms of ART include gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT)and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT).
- In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is the most common and effective type of assisted reproductive technology to help women become pregnant.
- It involves fertilizing an egg outside the body, in a laboratory dish, and then implanting it in a woman's uterus.
- By 2016, some 6.5 million babies had been born using in-vitro fertilization (IVF). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1.6 percent of babies born in the United States each year are conceived through assisted reproductive technology (ART).
Fast facts about in-vitro fertilization (IVF)
- In-vitro fertilization (IVF) can help achieve pregnancy when other treatments have not worked.
- The process involves fertilizing an egg outside the body, and implanting it to continue the pregnancy.
- One percent of babies born in the United States are conceived through IVF.
- There is a higher chance of a multiple birth with IVF.
What are the risks associated with in-vitro fertilization?
As with most medical procedures, there are potential risks. More severe symptoms, typically from OHSS, include the following:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Decreased urinary frequency
- Shortness of breath
- Severe stomach pains and bloating
- Ten-pound weight gain within three to five days
Additional risks of IVF include the following:
- Egg retrieval carries risks of bleeding, infection, and damage to the bowel or bladder.
- The chance of a multiples pregnancy is increased with the use of fertility treatment. There are additional risks and concerns related to multiples during pregnancy including the increased risk of premature delivery and low birth weight.
- Though the rates of miscarriage are similar to unassisted conception, the risk does increase with maternal age.
- Assisted reproductive technology (ART) involves a significant physical, financial, and emotional commitment on the part of a couple. Psychological stress and emotional problems are common, especially if in vitro fertilization (IVF) is unsuccessful.
Symptoms of conditions treated in IVF Treatment
Smoking and Alcohol Habits
- Just about everyone knows drinking and smoking while pregnant is a big no-no. But smoking and drinking while trying to get pregnant is also a problem.
- Smoking negatively affects sperm counts, sperm shape, and sperm movement, all important factors for conception. IVF treatment success has also been found to be poorer in male smokers, even when IVF with ICSI is used. (ICSI involves taking a single sperm and directly injecting it into an egg.)
- Smoking is also connected to erectile dysfunction, so dropping the habit may reverse some of the adverse effects.
- In women, smoking can speed up the process of ovarian aging, bringing on earlier menopause. The good news is that if you quit early enough, you may be able to reverse some of the damage. Heavy drinking can also lead to fertility problems, both for men and women.
- Most studies have found that a few drinks a week won't cause any harm, but excessive drinking has been linked to lower sperm counts, poor sperm movements, and irregular sperm shape. One study found that with every additional drink consumed per week, the IVF success rate decreased.
Toxic Chemicals at Work
- Does your job involve close contact with toxic chemicals? If so, you may be at greater risk for infertility and decreased sperm health.
- Farmers, painters, varnishers, metal workers, and welders have all been found to be at risk for reduced fertility. If your job involves toxic chemical contact or high heat conditions, speak to your doctor. There may be more steps you can take to protect yourself.
- High temperatures are bad news for sperm. You've most likely heard of this in relation to the boxers versus briefs argument. The thinking was that boxers, being less restrictive and having more airflow, would lead to cooler testicular temperatures and healthier levels of fertility.
- The research isn't clear on whether boxers or briefs matter, although wearing extremely tight shorts or underwear, especially when made from a non-breathable fabric, may have an impact on sperm health.