All protocols of in vitro fertilization are carried out in accordance with the established procedure, determined by the Law of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine 787. To date, a large number of clinical studies have been carried out to be able to speak with confidence about the safety of IVF procedures. The risks to the woman are minimal.
The first child conceived with IVF was born in 1978. Since then, reproductive medicine has stepped forward, science continues to actively develop every day, giving people the opportunity to become parents with the safest and most effective methods of ART.
In vitro fertilization – what happens to a woman’s body during the procedure?
The treatment protocol is not the same and is formed on the basis of anamnesis, laboratory results and the conclusion of accompanying specialists. IVF pregnancy differs from the usual only in the way of conception. It is these differences that underlie the variety of IVF protocols used today in reproductive medicine.
As indicated, protocols with or without ovarian stimulation are used. In the first case, the maturation of a larger number of follicles in one cycle is achieved in comparison with the natural course. Stimulation cycles are only used for medical reasons, as they are more effective in some cases of fertility treatments.
Consider just such an IVF protocol:
1. Examination of a woman.
Includes a comprehensive examination of the state of health, allowing you to accurately assess the risks and predict possible complications. Particular attention is paid to the normalization of hormonal levels, treatment of concomitant diseases and complications. The start of the protocol is possible only upon the conclusion that there are no contraindications to pregnancy.
2. Stimulation of the ovaries through hormone therapy.
In the natural cycle, one, rarely two, eggs mature, ready for fertilization. Stimulation is used to increase the chances of successful IVF. This allows you to get a large number of mature eggs suitable for fertilization in one cycle. The stimulation program is designed individually for each patient and is carried out under close monitoring by the reproductive specialist.
At this stage, it is extremely important to follow all the doctor’s instructions regarding the dosage and timing of medication. Even a slight deviation can negate all efforts.
3. Control of ovulation.
It is carried out in several stages using ultrasound methods. As soon as the doctor detects the maturation of the eggs, he appoints the day of the puncture for the collection of eggs. Oocyte aspiration is a minimally invasive operation performed under anesthesia: through the introduction of sedatives, the patient is immersed in a medication sleep. The collection is carried out by transvaginal puncture. Important: the date and hour of the puncture cannot be rescheduled or postponed, since the egg is suitable for fertilization only for 24 hours.
The procedure is simple, easily tolerated by most patients. Within a few hours after the procedure, you can leave the clinic. However, it is worth remembering that this is an operation, so in the coming days it is worth reducing the level of stress and rest. Some patients experience lower abdominal pain, bloody discharge, fever, weakness, discomfort for several days after the procedure.
4. Purification and evaluation of the obtained cells by a doctor-embryologist.
The specialist evaluates the maturity and quality of oocytes, gives an opinion on the possibility of their fertilization. After that, together with the patients, a decision is made on fertilization and/or freezing of cells.
Fertilization is performed under laboratory conditions under a microscope using the ICSI method. Using a specially designed microneedle, the embryologist injects the selected sperm into the egg. After this, the stage of development of the embryo begins. It is called cultivation, as it takes place in special incubators under the supervision of specialists.
On days 1, 2, 3 and 5 of development, the embryologist assesses the quality of the embryos and enters the data into the protocol. Based on the results of the last assessment, a decision is made about which blastocysts are suitable for transfer and have the maximum chance of giving pregnancy. Next, the replanting procedure is assigned. It can be carried out in the same cycle, then there is a fresh transfer, or at another time. Then the resulting embryos will be frozen – in this case, the procedure is called cryotransfering.
5. Transfer of the embryo to the uterus.
The procedure is painless, therefore it does not involve the use of anesthesia. A catheter with an embryo is inserted into the cervical canal, using an ultrasound scan, the doctor determines the optimal place for its replanting. After the procedure, a short bed rest is shown for several hours, after which you can return to your usual life. Confirmation of pregnancy is carried out using ultrasound and analysis for hCG.
If necessary, after the transfer or the puncture itself in the case of cryotransfer, supportive drug therapy is prescribed to normalize the hormonal levels after stimulation. After the procedure, a consultation with a reproductive physician is required at the Lada clinic. The specialist will examine and adjust the further treatment plan.
Ovarian hyperstimulation during IVF – what are the risks?
As a result of hormone therapy under the protocol, a complication may develop. Hyperstimulation syndrome is one of the potential dangers of IVF. Excessive response of the body to hormonal stimulation of the ovaries of OHSS can take different forms. Mild, as a rule, does not require treatment, but consultation with the attending physician is mandatory. Severe forms of hyperstimulation are extremely rare. Moreover, the risks of such a condition are very serious:
- thrombus formation;
- ruptured ovarian cysts;
- torsion of the appendages;
- difficulty breathing;
- termination of pregnancy.
Hormone therapy can also cause thyroid dysfunction. This happens if failures in the work of the organ were previously observed. Therefore, it is so important to undergo a thorough examination before starting treatment.
Modern methods and drugs used in reproductive medicine make it possible to avoid this pathology with a high probability. The entire stimulation process takes place under constant monitoring of the woman’s health. Thanks to this, the doctor can quickly take all the necessary measures to avoid the negative consequences of treatment.
The high quality of the programs, the professionalism of the doctors and the optimal composition of the protocols allowed us to have the best rate of IVF protocols: 100% without OHSS.
How to minimize the risks?
IVF is often attributed to dangerous consequences, such as early menopause, the development of fibroids and cysts, cancer. This statement is incorrect. During the stimulation period, the effect on the woman’s body is limited to a minimum time interval, which does not allow significant damage to health. WHO data confirm the safety of this procedure. Side effects can be caused by other factors or concomitant diseases. In particular, one should take into account the influence of some cosmetic procedures that women use to preserve their youth.
It must be understood that the risks are associated with any kind of interference in the work of the human body, including reproductive therapy. It’s important to know how to minimize them.
- Pass the examination prescribed by the doctor, take the tests responsibly.
- Strictly adhere to the recommendations of the specialist in preparation for procedures and remedial measures.
- Monitor the state of the body, regularly visit a doctor for scheduled and unscheduled examinations.