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What exactly is IVF? IVF is a frequently used type of assistive reproductive technology. It involves a combination of specific directed medications and complex medical procedures. First, medications help to boost the development of eggs. The doctor then extracts these developed eggs and they are fertilised with sperms in a laboratory environment. One or more fertilized embryos are then implanted into the uterus. Medications continue and the pregnancy is carefully observed to detect any complications. Many patients require more than one round of IVF for successful pregnancy.

If a patient wishes to consider IVF as a possible solution for their infertility, or for other personal reasons, it is important to understand that it is a long, step by step procedure which must be followed in order to create the most risk-free environment with highest chances of conception. The tests undergone after the second step, the first being a detailed consultation with a doctor, who is likely to advise you on what he/she thinks are your best steps forward. This first step is important as once a doctor has knowledge about your medical and genetic history, there may be alternative tests that might be conducted. In vitro fertilisation best suits people who have the following issues:

In vitro fertilization is a long and complex procedure, the decision to undergo this procedure is dependent on a number of factors. There are a number of tests performed before undergoing IVF, which will determine whether or not a woman is eligible for IVF. These tests ensure that problems such as miscarriage, abnormalities in the embryo or any general infection or disease that could affect the health and chances of successful childbirth are ruled out to the highest extent. These tests can be split into several categories:

1. Ovarian reserve testing: This involves a few simple hormone blood tests, which can give a doctor an idea of how many eggs there are in a woman’s body, the ovarian reserve. Three hormones specifically are tested, FSH, AMH and Esrtradiol. AMH gives us an idea of the number of eggs remaining, high levels off FSH often means a reducing ovarian reserve, which might affect the effectiveness of IVF.

2. Tubal Patency test: HyCoSy, also known as Hysterosalpingo Contrast Sonography, this procedure is unique, normal ultrasound or x ray do not allow is to properly see and evaluate the condition of the uterus and whether the fallopian tubes are blocked or operational. HyCoSy is a specialised ultrasound examination which gives us a clear view of the fallopian tubes. A contrast agent is inserted into the fallopian tubes which allows the doctor to see. The result of this test is finding out whether or not a woman’s fallopian tubes are operational for an IVF .

3. Semen evaluation: In the case where the sperm sample is being provided, a sample is provided and sent to a laboratory for testing. Shape, motility and concentration of the sperm are some of the things that are tested for. In the case where the male is found to have infertility, ICSI or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, a process where a single sperm is carefully inserted into each egg using micro-manipulation tools, can be done.

4.  Other options include Digital High magnification, wherein only the healthiest and best sperm are chosen for insertion.

5. Prolactin test: Prolactin is a key hormone, vital in the production of breast milk. Too much prolactin in the body can prevent conception. The results of this test can allow a doctor to decide on what drug regiment might be best suited for each woman.

6.  Screening for infectious diseases: Doctors might screen a patient for HIV, hepatitis B, Chlamydia, Rubella and varicella. All of these diseases could post a risk to a growing foetus and could cause serious complications.

7.  An optional test that a doctor might conduct, in order to increase your chances and gain better knowledge about how your body works is known as a mock embryo transfer. A Mock embryo transfer appears as an option in the middle of your IVF cycle. A mock embryo transfer allows the doctor to identify the ideal route to use during the actual procedure. It allows the doctor to understand how the uterus might act during the actual procedure.

Based on the tests conducted, doctors can find information on what the ideal medications and regime the patient should follow, some of these include:

1.  Hormone related medications: FSH and LH, or a combination, is sometimes injected to stimulate ovaries. This encourages several eggs to grow at once. HCG is taken after a period of around two weeks in order to help the eggs mature.

2.  Premature ovulation medications: These will prevent the body from producing the eggs too soon

3.  Other medications include progesterone, in order to promote the lining of the uterus to develop, to prepare for implantation.

These are some important tests for IVF treatment and will be a part of a process a patient must undergo in order to find out if IVF is the best treatment option for you. It is important to discuss with a doctor what tests need to be done before IVF and share your complete medical history and family medical history, which the doctor will likely inquire about. Based on the findings there may be a number of other tests that may be required. These tests only ensure that you have the best possible chances of having a successful IVF if you decide that this procedure is right for you, it does not guarantee that the IVF procedure will be successful in your case. IVF still carry some risks, regardless of whether the patient has passed all the tests, some of the risks of IVF include:



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