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Published on December 13th, 2012 | by AJ

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What Is IVF Or In Vitro Fertilization

Couples sometime cannot get pregnant in the normal manner. In these cases, an egg is harvested from the female and sperm is introduced in a petri dish . What may be lacking in romance is forgotten when the embryo is placed in the womb, attaches, and a pregnancy results. This is a simplified explanation of what is IVF, or in vitro fertilization is.

When eggs are harvested, there is often more than one. This method of implementing pregnancy does not always work and the spare eggs can be frozen for future use. It should be mentioned that this procedure does not come cheaply and insurances will not always cover what is still considered to be experimental procedures.

The first thing to happen is the introduction of birth control pills or medication injected to prevent ovulation in the female. This allows the physician to control ovulation and when the eggs can be harvested. After basic bloodwork and ultrasounds are performed, the female will then begin taking hormone stimulation drugs. The doctor continues to monitor follicle growth through the use of ultrasound every few days.

The doctor will decide when the follicles look ready and more medication will be given the female to cause the eggs to grow. At the precise time the eggs will be retrieved using a needle that is passed through the vaginal wall. This procedure can be uncomfortable even when sedation is given.

During the time the eggs are harvested, the male will be asked to provide a sample of semen. This can be done prior to retrieval and the sperm is frozen. Both the semen and the egg will be placed in a sterile dish in the hope that the semen will impregnate the egg. A fertility expert will examine the embryos and pick the ones that seem to be the most healthy. Again, any embryos that are left can be frozen and used at a later time if pregnancy does not develop.

The success or failure of IVF is dependent on a number of factors. These can include age and whether or not donor eggs or sperm are used. If you opt for this form of getting pregnant, many couples will look closely at the success rate of the clinic they choose to attend.

IVF is a medical procedure and although it is considered to be safe, it has risks involved like any other medical procedure. The most common side effect is one known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. For a very small number of women, this condition may require hospitalization but for the masses the condition clears on its own. Rarely, you will find less than one percent of women suffering a blood clot and possible kidney failure. Multiple births are also fairly common.

Despite these drawbacks, a vast majority of couples will undergo IVF in the hopes of having a child of their own. If there is a reason the female cannot carry a child to full term, a surrogate mother is chosen and paid for her services. With the success rate of IVF hovering around 41%, the averages continue to grow, as doctors perfect the technique.

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