IVF – in vitro fertilization is one of the treatment methods used in the therapy of many types of infertility. The essential element of this procedure is that an egg and a sperm cell are brought together in laboratory settings, outside the woman’s body (outside the female reproductive system). The IVF method consists in the first step in conducting a hormonally regulated process of ovulation followed by the retrieval of egg cells which are then joined with male reproductive cells (sperm) in laboratory settings. This results in the formation of embryos which are in the last step placed into the uterus and, if they implant, the whole process results in a pregnancy which will further on develop naturally.
The effectiveness of the therapy depends on plenty of factors: the cause of infertility, concomitant morbidities, woman’s age, woman’s body mass, response to hormonal stimulation, male partner’s semen quality.
In Europe, the average effectiveness of in vitro fertilization is 30%; at INVICTA, it was 56% in the years 2000-2011.
- A standard in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure consists of the following elements:
- ovulation (induction) stimulation, a period when the female patient is given medications with the aim to achieve the growth of many egg cells
- egg cell collection from an ovary or ovaries (ovum pick-up)
- egg cell fertilization with partner or donor sperm in laboratory settings
- culture of fertilized egg cells (embryos)
- transfer of one or more embryos to the woman’s uterus (embryo transfer)
- In many cases, additional procedures are also applied, for example:
- ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) applied in order to increase the chance of fertilization
- AH (assisted hatching) of embryos applied in order to increase the chance of embryo implantation
- extended embryo culture – culture of embryos up to the blastocyst stage applied in order to increase the chance of embryo implantation
- embryo cryopreservation – freezing the embryos which cannot be transferred to the uterus
- verifications (embryo implantation supervision and verifications 4 and 5) – preparing (with the use of appropriate medications) the woman’s uterus for the reception of an embryo and for the maintenance of pregnancy
- sperm sorting – for the purpose of choosing healthy sperm (without damaged genetic material)
- IMSI-MSOME – intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection with motile sperm organelle morphology examination
- FAMSI – functional fine, acrosome activated, morphologically selected sperm injection
- Testicular biopsy – sperm retrieval from a testicle or epididymis
- IVM – in vitro maturation – maturation of egg cells
- PGD – preimplantation genetic diagnosis