5 Million Babies and Counting: How IVF is Helping Couples Birth Healthy Children

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For parents who suffered through involuntary childlessness, their desire for complete families has been answered through the process of IVF. In-vitro fertilization (IVF) has been able to bestow couples with offsprings, who couldn’t conceive through natural birthing. Dr Gautam Allahbadia, an IVF consultant and head of the Millennium Medical Centre (MMC) IVF Dubai, explains, “IVF is an effective procedure for solving the problem of infertility. With the treatment available, couples can plan their family and have a greater degree of choice, and control over pregnancies.”

IVF has exponentially enhanced the chances of couples having their own babies. Now the question arises that what does IVF do which natural birthing has proven to be incapable of?

IVF works using a combination of medicinal supplements and procedures, making conducive conditions to help sperm fertilize an egg and further help the fertilized egg implant in your uterus. The process of child birthing here is “assisted”, and performed in a controlled environment under a medical expert’s supervision.

What process does an IVF treatment follow?

Couples move closer to being parents with the successful accomplishment of each phase of the IVF process.

Stage 1: Ovarian Stimulation and Monitoring

The process starts with hormonal stimulation. Fertility medications are prescribed to the female for stimulating the process of fertilization. Multiple eggs are desired, which help in increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Stage 2: Oocyte retrieval (Egg retrieval)

Arranged before the anticipated ovulation, egg retrieval is ideally performed through a microscopic needle that moves through the catheter to remove the eggs. Once your ovaries have produced mature eggs, the doctor can retrieve these eggs. The patient has the opportunity to use some of the eggs for future IVF cycles.

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Stage 3: Fertilization

A sperm sample is collected from the male partner, which is placed with the eggs in an incubator (zygote). The doctors then examine the number of eggs fertilized.

Stage 4: Embryo development

This stage is based on the assessment of how embryos divide. It ensures that the embryo continues further development. After patient’s eggs are fertilized in the IVF process, a single cell is removed through a microscope glass needle by an embryologist. Once the high-quality embryos of the favored sex are traced, the parent can request the chosen sex to be transferred during the new IVF cycle.

Stage 5: Embryo transfer

The embryos are transferred into the women’s uterus usually between 3-5 days of egg retrieval. Positive pregnancy is then awaited. Implantation is observed to take place usually within 6-10 days after eggs are retrieved.

Although the process of IVF can prove to be emotionally and physically wearing, it has been able to help childless couples’ birth healthy children. “IVF has been of tremendous benefit to millions of couples – we just need to make sure we’re practicing this technology in the safest possible way,” says Professor Daniel Brison, scientific director of the department of reproductive medicine at Central Manchester.

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