A Complete Guide To IVF Treatment

A Complete Guide To IVF Treatment

IVF or In-Vitro Fertilization is one of the most effective types of fertility treatment that combines the sperm and the egg in a laboratory setting. If you’re facing difficulty in conceiving a baby for more than a year then you can visit the nearest IVF centre to undergo this effective treatment for a successful pregnancy. 

Overview of IVF 

IVF is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART), which is a complex procedure involving a manual combination of the retrieved sperm and eggs for successful fertilization. In this process, after a few days of fertilization, the healthy embryo is transferred into the uterus for further implantation and pregnancy. 

When an IVF is Performed? 
IVF can be recommended to a couple who are suffering from various infertility issues. In some cases, advanced maternal age and same-sex couples can also be the factors behind performing this technique. Some conditions which indicate IVF as the best treatment option are: 
  • Unexplained infertility
  • Blocked fallopian tubes 
  • Low sperm count or improper sperm morphology 
  • Uterine issues
  • High chance of passing down a chromosomal abnormality to the baby 
  • PCOS and other ovarian disorders 
Who is an Ideal Candidate For IVF? 
To make an informed decision to undergo the IVF procedure, you must know whether you’re a good candidate for the treatment. 

What Is The Average Duration of the Entire IVF Procedure? 
IVF is a complex ART technique that involves various stages. You may expect the entire procedure to last for around 4-6 weeks, which involves all the time starting from the egg retrieval preparation to pregnancy testing.
How Common is IVF in India?
What is The Main Difference Between IVF And IUI? 
IVF is totally different from IUI or intrauterine insemination. This is because unlike IVF, the fertilization of the sperm and egg happens inside the body in IUI. In IUI, high-quality sperm is inserted in the uterus during ovulation to increase the chances of successful fertilization. 

Steps Involved In The IVF Procedure 

a) Initial Assessment and Consultation 
During the initial consultation for the IVF procedure, the doctor will perform a detailed physical examination and review your medical history. This will help the doctor to create a personalized treatment plan. If you have any questions about the IVF treatment then you can ask during this consultation.

To prepare you for the IVF, various assessment tests will be conducted, which are: 
  • Ovarian reserve testing 
  • Mammogram, uterine exam, and Pap smear if you’re above 40 
  • Uterine cavity evaluation 
  • Screening for infectious and sexually transmitted diseases 
  • Semen analysis
  • Genetic carrier screening 
After performing all the tests, you and your partner will be directed to sign the consent forms. Only after taking the consent, you will be administered certain medications to boost the growth of egg sacs. After this, egg retrieval from the follicles is done with the help of ultrasound. On the same day of egg retrieval, your partner will also be advised to collect the semen sample through masturbation.
Steps involved in the IVF Process

b) Details about IVF Stages 
  • Administration Of Birth Control Pills 
After you reach the IVF center, the first thing that the doctor will do is administer estrogen or birth control pills. These medications help in controlling the menstrual cycle timing while maximizing the number of mature and quality eggs. 
  • Ovarian Stimulation 
During every menstrual cycle, only one egg matures fully and the other immature eggs start to disintegrate. However, during the IVF treatment, various injectable hormone drugs are prescribed that trigger the maturation of all the eggs of that cycle. 

Herein, individual health needs are considered to decide the frequency, type, and dosage of the medications. Continuous monitoring through blood hormone levels and ultrasound is done during this stage. Additionally, a final trigger shot is also offered to finalize egg maturation before the retrieval. 
  • Egg and Sperm Retrieval 
After the eggs are properly matured, a thin needle will be inserted in the ovaries to pull the eggs from the follicles. The collected eggs are then placed in a dish and then inserted inside an incubator. In most cases, after 36 hours of the trigger shot the eggs are retrieved. 
Herein, on the morning of sperm retrieval, your partner will be directed to collect the semen sample. If a person has ejaculation issues then testicular aspiration methods can be used to retrieve healthy sperm. 
  • Fertilization 
To fertilize the retrieved eggs with the sperm, the doctor will perform conventional insemination. In this method, the sperm and eggs are mixed and then kept inside an incubator. However, in certain instances, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can also be used to inject sperm into the egg. 
During the fertilization stage, the doctor can also decide to perform some additional techniques based on your health condition. Some such specialized methods are pre-implantation genetic testing and assisted hatching.
  • Embryo Transfer 
After a successful fertilization, one or more healthy embryos are transferred inside the uterus. It may take around 2-6 days to undergo the embryo transfer process after the retrieval of the eggs. During the embryo transfer, you will be given a mild sedative and a long flexible tube will be inserted in the vagina. 
After this, a syringe containing the embryos will be attached to the catheter and carefully the embryos will be placed in the uterus. Within a few days of transfer, the embryo will start attaching to the uterine lining. 

c) IVF Follow-Up And Pregnancy Testing 

When is the pregnancy test done after IVF?
When is the pregnancy  test done after IVF?
A successful pregnancy happens when the transferred embryo starts implanting in the uterine lining. In most cases, your healthcare provider will recommend a blood test after 9-14 days of the embryo transfer to check whether you’re pregnant or not. 

What medications are prescribed after embryo transfer for successful implantation? 
Progesterone is a hormone that your ovaries produce during the initial weeks of the pregnancy. Herein, the healthcare professional may recommend progesterone hormone drugs after the embryo transfer to prepare the uterine lining for implantation. If you’re using donor or frozen eggs then estrogen tablets can also be prescribed in addition to progesterone. 

How is ultrasound done during IVF processes and what information it offers? 
Ultrasound scan is an important step of IVF treatment as it helps in getting an in-depth view of the endometrial lining, ovaries, and uterus. During IVF, an ultrasound is done to check the thickness of the uterine lining and for follicle monitoring. You must know that ultrasound is also an effective technique that is used during egg retrieval from the follicles. 

d) Ethical And Legal Considerations
There are various legal and ethical considerations that you need to consider if you’re opting for donor eggs, embryos, or sperm. As per the legal laws of India, you can only use donor eggs or sperm if you or your partner are suffering from any medical conditions and have experienced multiple failed IVF attempts. To know more about the ethical or legal considerations, explore our page. 

Benefits And Risks Associated With IVF 

a) Benefits of IVF 
One of the most successful fertility treatments as compared to other treatments is IVF. This is why it is often recommended to couples who have experienced failed attempts of IUI. You must know that almost 50% of women under 35 years who have undergone IVF procedures have experienced a successful pregnancy. 

What factors are associated with the high IVF success rates? 
The high success rates of IVF is dependent upon multiple factors. Some such factors include-
  • Reproductive history
  • Maternal age 
  • Lifestyle factors (Caffeine intake, smoking, and alcohol consumption) 
  • Underlying causes of infertility 
  • Embryo status 
Explore The Common Benefits of IVF: 

1. Minimized risks of miscarriage 
2. Increases chances of having a healthy baby 
3. Overcome the challenges of male or female-related infertility 
4. You can flexibly choose the timing for the embryo transfer 
5. Donated sperm or eggs can be used to eliminate infertility complications 
6. High success rates of a healthy pregnancy 

b) Risks of IVF 
1. Side-effects of IVF medications: Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), Clomid, Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG), and Human Menopausal Gonadotropin (hMG) are some of the IVF medications. The main risk of IVF is the side effects from these medications which may include bloating, abdominal pain, mood changes, weight gain, shortness of breath, blurry vision, and hot flashes. 

In some cases, fertility medications can also lead to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Not all side-effects of the medications can be alleviated but your doctor can lower the dosage or recommend some medications to manage the symptoms. 

2. Risks of multiple pregnancies: In some cases, doctors transfer more than one embryo to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. This raises the likelihood of multiple gestation. 

Carrying more than one baby is considered risky as it enhances the risks of various pregnancy complications. You can discuss with the doctor the transfer of only one healthy embryo to reduce the chances of multiple pregnancies. 

3. Increased Rates of miscarriage: Pregnancies conceived through IVF procedures have a slightly higher risk of miscarriage as compared to natural pregnancies. However, you must know that this elevated risk is not directly related to the procedure but to the underlying medical factors. 

Chromosomal abnormalities and implantation difficulties are the main factors that are associated with IVF miscarriages.

c) Impact of IVF on Relationships and Mental Well-Being 
IVF Impact on relationships

Can IVF impact your marriage and relationships? 
The impact of IVF on your relationship may vary. In some cases, the financial pressure, fear of disappointment, and stress may negatively impact the relationship while causing misunderstanding and tension. On the other hand, some couples may notice an improvement in bond and support between them due to the treatment pressure. You can definitely reach out to social support if you experience any issues that may damage your relationship.

How does stress impact the IVF procedure? 
If you experience marital or relationship issues then it can lead to the development of stress which will ultimately interfere with the IVF procedure. You must know that stress can increase cortisol levels which can impact the egg retrieval and embryo transfer processes. Psychological well-being is crucial to experiencing a successful IVF cycle. 

What mental health resources can the IVF patient avail? 
Explore the page, to know more about the mental health resources and techniques that an IVF patient can adopt to reduce stress and other psychological symptoms. 

d) Legal Considerations 
There are various legal considerations in the IVF procedure especially if surrogacy or donor eggs and sperm are used. In such cases, you must make sure to opt for these techniques only if you have medical conditions. Other than medical issues and failed IVF attempts, it is not allowed in India to opt for surrogacy independently.

Recovery and Outlook For IVF 

a) Effectiveness of the IVF Procedure

What are the IVF success rates based on different age groups? 
IVFSuccess rates for different age groups

In addition to the decreased success rates, the advanced age of the mother can also make the pregnancy quite risky for both the baby and the mother.

What measures can one take to increase the IVF success rates? 
If you’re expecting IVF success and a healthy pregnancy then you must adhere to various lifestyle modifications and effective measures. Some highly beneficial measures include-
  • Improve sperm health by dropping unhealthy habits such as high heat exposure, smoking, and alcohol consumption. 
  • Maintaining a healthy weight through changes in physical activity levels and diet.
  • Reducing stress by practicing stress-relieving techniques such as acupuncture, meditation, and mind-body programs. 
  • Be patient during all the stages of IVF since in some cases, you need more than one cycle for a successful pregnancy. 
  • Quit vaping or smoking as it can deteriorate both sperm and egg quality.
How common is it to attain a successful pregnancy in the first IVF cycle?
It is not rare to need more than one cycle of embryo transfer for an IVF success. However, if you have more than one viable and genetically perfect embryo then it is quite common for you to attain a successful pregnancy on the first IVF cycle.

b) Post-IVF Measures  

After how many days of IVF can you know that you’re pregnant? 
If you have undergone an IVF treatment then it may take around 7 days to know whether you’re pregnant or not after the embryo transfer. Getting positive news of pregnancy can be quite exciting but you shouldn’t hurry to check it as it can lead to misleading results. This is because, after the transfer, the embryo needs at least 6-7 days to implant in the uterine lining and show a positive pregnancy report.

What pregnancy tests are conducted after the IVF cycle?
In most cases, at-home tests are not accurate for IVF pregnancy testing as they can indicate false negatives and false positives. This is why the only reliable test that you must consider is to get it done by your fertility doctors. Herein, after 7 days of completion of the procedure, the doctor will schedule a blood test that will measure the levels of hCG. 

If the doctor witnesses high levels of this hormone then it will indicate positive pregnancy results. Additionally, the fertility team will also schedule an ultrasound during the 3rd or 4th week of embryo transfer to check for pregnancy. 

What are the normal symptoms after an embryo transfer? 
You may experience a range of pregnancy-like symptoms after the embryo transfer which are usually normal and don’t require any medical attention. Some such normal signs are- 
Normal Symptoms after an embroy transfer

Are follow-up appointments and tests required after the cycle? 
After the completion of the IVF cycle, the doctor will schedule a follow-up appointment within a few days to discuss the post-procedure symptoms and health habits you can adopt to promote a successful pregnancy. During this period, a blood pregnancy test will also be conducted to confirm the pregnancy.

What post-IVF complications need immediate medical attention? 
After undergoing an IVF treatment, you will be continuously monitored by the doctor. However, there are certain symptoms that you may experience after the embryo transfer which need medical attention. Some such symptoms are prolonged spotting or vaginal bleeding and severe cramping. If these symptoms persist for a longer time then don’t delay to visit the nearby IVF centre.

c) Dealing With A Failed IVF Attempt 
How much time should I wait before attempting another IVF cycle? 
If you have experienced a negative pregnancy test during the first IVF cycle then the standard time to wait before another cycle is around 4-6 weeks. Doctors also recommend waiting for a full menstrual cycle before opting for the next cycle. 

This break after the unsuccessful IVF is required to overcome inflammation caused in the reproductive system due to fertility medications. Herein, the break will also help you to control the anxiety and stress associated with the failed attempt. 

How to improve your emotional well-being after a failed IVF cycle? 
A failed IVF cycle can move you towards an emotional rollercoaster with mood swings, stress, and disappointment. However, it is essential to manage this emotional stress through proper support and communication to make an informed future planning decision. 

Average Cost Of The IVF Treatment 
The average cost of IVF in India is around ₹1, 50,000 to ₹3, 00,000. This cost depends upon the location and reputation of the clinic, the number of cycles, and additional procedures performed such as testicular sperm aspiration and frozen embryo transfer. Some of the components that are included in this basic cost range are- 

  • Ovarian stimulation medications 
  • Consultation fees
  • Medication cost 
  • Sperm preparation and freezing 
  • Diagnostic and ultrasound tests 
  • Egg retrieval 
  • Embryo development 
  • Cryopreservation of the extra-healthy embryos 
  • Embryo transfer 
  • Pregnancy testing 

Exercise and Diet Recommendation During IVF 

a) Diet 

Can diet interfere with IVF outcomes?
Nutrition and a balanced diet play a major role in ensuring IVF outcomes. This is because proper nutrition influences overall reproductive health while boosting egg quality, hormonal balance, and increased fertility rates. 

Herein, you must note that it is pivotal to intake proper amounts of healthy fats, whole grains, lean protein, vegetables, antioxidants, and fruits to improve IVF success rates. 

Which supplements are recommended for women undergoing IVF? 
Benefits: You must know that fertility supplements are quite beneficial for IVF treatment as they will help in maintaining nutrition. It helps in decreasing oxidative stress and preventing nutrition deficiencies during pregnancy. You will surely get improved pregnancy outcomes and fetal development through effective fertility supplements. 

Risks: If you take fertility supplements without any special guidance from fertility doctors then it can lead to various risks. Some side effects that you can notice if you take a high dosage of the supplements are increased chances of heart disease, nausea, headaches, higher risk of cancer, and blurry vision 

b) Exercise 

Role of excerise in IVF
Can physical activity boost fertility and increase IVF outcomes? 
Physical activity is beneficial for your overall health. Herein, you should note that indulging in physical activity every day will also help you attain improved IVF outcomes. Exercise stimulates regular ovulation, boosts production of reproductive hormones, and maintains proper body weight while disabling menstrual abnormalities. 

All these factors contribute to improving your fertility rates and IVF success. However, you should never indulge in too much exercise as it can contribute to luteal phase defects, low progesterone levels, and ovulatory dysfunction.

What exercise should I do and avoid during the IVF treatment? 
It is important to understand that you only need to practice low-impact exercise during the IVF process and not more than 4 hours a week. 

Exercises To Do: 
  • Low-intensity swimming 
  • Light stretching 
  • Yoga 
  • Walking 
  • Water aerobics
  • Tai Chi 
  • Pilates 
  • Exercises using low hand weights
Exercises To Avoid: 
  • Heavy weight-lifting 
  • High-intensity interval training (HIIT)
  • Running 
  • Sports 
What role does exercise play in improving emotional well-being and reducing stress during IVF? 
Stable emotional well-being and stress management are extremely essential during an IVF cycle. Herein, various mindfulness-based exercises such as yoga and meditation can achieve emotional stability and attain profound peace. You should always remember to enjoy some moments of relaxation while you’re busy in your parenthood journey. 

Amazing IVF Facts 

What is the main concept of IVF? 
The main concept behind the IVF procedure is to remove eggs from the ovary and then combine them with the retrieved sperm outside the human body. In this process, the embryos are grown in a controlled environment before transferring into the uterus. 

Who is the father of IVF technology? 
Sir Robert Geoffrey Edwards was a pioneer in reproductive medicine who is considered the father of IVF technology. He also received a Nobel prize for the same. 

Who is known to be the most famous IVF baby? 
Louise Joy Brown is the most popular IVF baby as she was the first human who was conceived with the help of IVF technology in the year 1978. 

Which country first started IVF? 
The first successful IVF cycle was done in the Oldham General Hospital of Great Manchester in the United Kingdom. 

Who was the first IVF baby in India?
Kanupriya Agarwal was the first IVF baby in India and is the second baby across the globe born with the help of the IVF procedure. 

What are the main three types of IVF? 
The main three types of IVF include mild stimulation IVF, natural cycle IVF, and in-vitro maturation (IVM). 

How much time does a full cycle of IVF take? 
One full IVF cycle involves various stages and to complete all the processes, it may take around 2-3 weeks. 

What is the most painful IVF procedure?
Injecting fertility medications is the most painful procedure during the IVF cycle. All injections in this stage can cause a tingling sensation which will resolve within a few moments. 

Who proposed IVF? 
Dr. Patrick Steptoe and Sir Robert Edwards are the two pioneers who have proposed IVF technology. 

Who was the first male IVF baby?
Alastair MacDonald of Scotland was the first baby boy born with the assistance of IVF technology.

FAQs Related To Infertility And IVF Treatment 

1. Who is a good candidate for IVF and when should someone consider it?
Couples experiencing infertility owing to a variety of causes, such as blocked fallopian tubes, male infertility problems, unexplained infertility, or advanced maternal age, are frequently good candidates for IVF. When all other reproductive therapies have failed, it is usually taken into consideration.

2. How does in vitro fertilization (IVF) function as a fertility treatment?
In vitro fertilization, or IVF is an assisted reproductive technology that includes removing eggs and sperm, fertilizing them outside of the body in a lab, and then transferring the healthy embryos into the uterus to start a pregnancy.

3. What steps are performed throughout an IVF treatment cycle?
Ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, sperm fertilization, embryo culture, and embryo transfer into the uterus are the usual steps included in an IVF treatment cycle.

4. Are there any age restrictions on those pursuing IVF treatment?
Although there isn't a set age limit for IVF, success rates often decline as a mother becomes older, especially around the age of 35 to 40.

5. How can one increase their chances of success with IVF and what elements can affect the success rate?
A woman's age, the reason for her infertility, the quantity and quality of her embryos, and her lifestyle choices, such as smoking or obesity, can all have an impact on her success rate. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and adhering to medical recommendations are essential for maximizing IVF success.

6. What is the average timeframe for an IVF treatment cycle, and how long does it typically take?
An IVF treatment cycle might last anywhere from two to six weeks, depending on the particular procedure and the circumstances of each case. In some cases, it may take longer if additional procedures such as assisted hatching are performed. 

7. How painful is the embryo transfer process, and what should couples expect during it?
The process of transferring embryos is usually painless and done without the need for anesthesia. It's a simple and reasonably short process. However, certain side effects that one might expect include vaginal discharge, bloating, breast tenderness, and cramps. If these signs persist then visit the IVF centre immediately. 

8. What are the possible complications and adverse effects of IVF?
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), multiple pregnancies (such as twins or triplets), ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, and emotional stress as a result of the process are possible side effects of IVF.

9. How many IVF cycles might be required to get pregnant and what happens if the first cycle is unsuccessful?
It's critical to speak with your healthcare team if the first IVF cycle doesn't work out so that you can determine the cause of the failure and modify your treatment strategy. Each person or couple needs a different number of IVF cycles, which vary depending on things including age, diagnosis and treatment response.

10. How much does IVF cost, and are there any alternatives for financial aid?
IVF costs might differ significantly based on the clinic, the patient's location, and the particular treatment plans followed. Options for financial support, such as grants for fertility and insurance coverage, can be available. In India, the average price for the IVF cycle can be around ₹1, 50,000 to ₹3, 00,000.

Blog References
To ensure the accuracy and reliability of the information presented, we have referred to the following reputable sources:

These sources provide valuable insights and data that have been integrated into our comprehensive guide on IVF treatment.

Dr Priyankur Roy
Dr. Priyankur Roy


Dr. Priyankur Roy is a distinguished expert in Infertility Treatment and Gynae-Endoscopy. With advanced qualifications from Germany and the UK, he excels in providing high-quality medical care.

This blog is clinically verified by Dr. Priyankur Roy to ensure accuracy and reliability.

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