Facing infertility doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Understanding what options are available for in vitro fertilization (IVF) today can alleviate some of the uncertainty which accompanies the process.
IVF has come a long way since the first birth in 1978. There are increasingly advanced procedures available to reach success rates. Let’s take a closer look at the options and break down the terms which accompany them:
- Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
- In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
- Physiological Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (PICSI)
- Social Freezing
- IVF using donors
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
IUI involves injecting sperm into the woman’s uterus around the time of ovulation in order to aid fertilization. The objective is to increase the number of sperm that reach the fallopian tubes boosting the chances of fertilization.
It is the closest procedure to naturally conceiving, as it does not require fertility medication. However, the success rates are lower as a result because neither partner can have any predisposing fertility conditions. Generally, IUI has an average success rate of 12 per cent per attempt.
The procedure of IVF begins with administering fertility drugs to stimulate the woman’s ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The woman is then sedated to extract eggs. The goal is to retrieve multiple eggs, as many as 8-10 to increase chances of forming an embryo. After the eggs are retrieved they are combined with the sperm sample in a laboratory, left to incubate in hopes of forming an embryo. The embryo can grow under laboratory supervision for 3-5 days prior to being transferred into the woman’s uterus.
Average success rates are higher with IVF at 40 per cent and considered to be the best go-to method when initially facing infertility. It can be utilized against a multitude of infertility issues, when the exact reason is unknown.
What are advanced procedures for IVF?
- Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)/PGS
- Assisted hatching
- Fresh blastocyst embryo transfer
- Frozen embryo transfer
ISCI is an additional procedure as part of an IVF cycle where a single sperm is injected into each egg using micro-manipulative equipment. ICSI is a highly effective method which eliminates male infertility and boasts average success rates around 90 per cent.
- Advanced Sperm Extraction methods MESA, TESE, PESA
If ICSI fails or in cases where the sperm quality is very poor, PICSI may be introduced. It is a procedure where a specialised tool is used to select healthy sperm that will be injected directly into the egg. The sperm is then introduced to a dish that contains drops of hyaluronic acid, which can act as a binding agent to aid in forming the outer wall of the egg.
Modern technology allows for women to freeze their eggs to delay starting a family. The eggs are frozen by vitrification or cryopreserved in order to use them at a later date. A relatively new option on the market, catering to those who have serious health issues such as cancer jeopardizing their fertility, or simply a lifestyle decision.
IVF using donors
The process of IVF with donor eggs is the same with the exception that the donor undergoes ovarian stimulation and egg collection. Once the eggs are collected, they are mixed together with the male partner’s sperm, then transferred into the woman’s uterus.
Typically, donors are young, which results in young eggs and yields higher success rates at up to 60 per cent.
Utilising semen from a prescreened donor.
In the event the couple would rather use a donor for both eggs and sperm, embryo donation can be an ideal solution. The process is essentially the same as egg donation, however there is no egg stimulation required. Success rates average 70 per cent. Interested in IVF, contact us today!
Contributing writer: Lorna Straka