One of the greatest miracles of life is being able to give birth to a beautiful baby boy or girl, but this part of life does not come easily to everyone. There are thousands of people in the world who simply cannot get pregnant on their own for whatever reason, and it can often feel as if there is no hope of ever having a child when the news breaks that one of you is infertile.
However, there are ways of having a baby without having to worry about all of that, and one of the most popular is IVF. In-Vitro Fertilisation, which you may also know as test tube babies, is a way of giving fertilization a head start. If you and your partner have issues with fertilizing the eggs, doctors can take a few eggs from your ovaries plus a sperm sample from your partner and put them together in a test tube to encourage fertilization. If successful, the embryo is placed into your uterus to develop as normal. If you do want to undergo this treatment, here are the steps you will undergo…
- Initial Scan
Once you have had your IVF consultation you will be taken for an initial scan. This will take a look at your uterus and the ovaries to identify the reason you cannot get pregnant and to decide the best way forward in terms of IVF. They will check your ovary health as well as check that the uterus is optimised for implanting an embryo once the process is complete.
2. Monitoring Scans
During the whole process you will need to have at least 3-4 ultrasound scans to check the growth of your follicles and whether your endometrium is thickening, the endometrium is the lining of the womb which thickens to allow an embryo to settle, and then thins and is discarded during our period. Follicles will produce estrogen as they grow and develop, which will make the body more fertile, and you will have to have a couple of blood test throughout to make sure the estrogen levels are correct. Your blood flow around the follicles will also be measured as this is crucial for your embryo to develop.
3. The Trigger
Once your follicles have reached 17mm, this will indicate that your body is ready for the eggs to be collected. A hormone called HCG will be inserted into your body and this will cause ovulation to occur 36 hours later. Eggs must be collected before they ovulate because this is the prime time for the embryo to be placed in your womb.
- Egg Collection
You will need to fast from midnight on the morning your eggs are to be collected. You will be out under mild sedation and this will prevent you from feeling the eggs being collected from the ovaries. Using ultrasound guidance, your eggs will be collected by a needle.
Once eggs are collected they are mixed with your partner’s sperm and this is the point where you will know whether it has worked or not. It is the crucial step and the eggs will be monitored to see if fertilization has occurred. If the eggs are fertilized, you’ll be told the day after and then the embryo will be left to develop for 5 days or so.
- Embryo Transfer
one the embryo has been given a few days to develop, it will be transferred to your uterus. This process does not require sedation however you may be given some medication to assist the transfer. This medication will continue for a few days after the implantation to make sure that the embryo stays in your uterus.
Ten days after implantation of the embryo, you will have to give a blood sample and this will be tested for pregnancy. If your test is positive, you will have to continue with the medication for a few more days. You can celebrate at this point because the IVF worked!
The first scan you will undergo during pregnancy is at 2 weeks. It will confirm if a heartbeat is present. After this, you will be advised to book prenatal classes and start undoing the regular stages of pregnancy. At this point you have succeeded in the process and you can start to enjoy your pregnancy and get ready for the arrival of your newest member of the family. Enjoy these nine months and at the end you will have a beautiful baby!