By Dr. Vandana Hegde, IVF Speciality
In Vitro fertilization (IVF) can be defined as a set of complex procedures used to treat genetic problems and fertility which can cause hindrances in the way of you conceiving a child. During IVF, the matured eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and then fertilized by a sperm in a petri dish. After that, the embryo or the fertilized egg is implanted into the uterus. A cycle of IVF requires about a couple of weeks.
The factors essential for a successful cycle of IVF include a healthy sperm count as well as a healthy egg and uterus capable of fostering a baby. Additionally, the laboratory environment and infrastructure, the techniques being employed and the expertise of the embryologists contribute immensely to the success of IVF. But there are situations when the IVF may fail to yield desired results.
Few of the possible causes of this can be:
- The egg is the foremost factor to be held responsible for a futile IVF attempt. The egg contributes majority of the ingredients necessary for a successful fertilization and development of the embryo. Age has an immense impact on the egg as both its quality and quantity decline once one is over 30. Besides, abnormal chromosome distribution during cell division renders the embryo bad.
- For a sperm to facilitate fertilization, it must be capable of motion to propel itself through the female reproductive tract to reach the egg. But genetically anomalous sperm may not be able to fuse itself with the egg properly.
- The embryos that are ultimately, to be transferred into the uterus of the female are hand-picked by the embryologist. But many a times, they are not able to differentiate chromosomally normal embryos from the abnormal ones perfectly, which might further hamper the efficacy of the entire process.
- The IVF laboratory nurtures a strictly controlled environment, absolutely recreating the same conditions that the egg, sperm or embryos experience within the female reproductive tract. Any alteration in the concentration of Oxygen, Carbon-dioxide, temperature, humidity, PH or light can put an end to the life of the embryo as well as the chances of pregnancy.
- In the surgical procedure, both the retrieval of the egg and the embryo transfer are crucial in determining the success of the IVF cycle. But recovering less number of eggs than expected or putting the embryo in an incorrect location can bear an adverse outcome.