IVF: Why and When?
Dr Sahana K P
Basaveshwaranagar, Bengaluru Feb 12, 2017
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technology, in which the fertilization of sperm with the egg is done outside the body (in vitro means in glass). After manually fertilizing, the egg is replaced in the womb. It is a very effective alternative for infertility and is growing in popularity due to relatively high success rate of about 40%. Here are a few cases and conditions where IVF has proved effective in treating problems related to genetics and conception:
Fallopian tube damage:
Due to various external or internal conditions, the fallopian tube gets either blocked or damaged which makes it almost impossible for the egg to be fertilized. Even if the egg gets fertilized it may not be able to make its way up to the uterus. IVF is a good alternative for conception in such cases.
Many times ovaries function irregularly or stop functioning at all. This can lead to lower estrogen levels besides irregular release of the eggs. This can also happen prematurely, even before the age of 40 and in such cases too, IVF can be done to conceive.
It’s not always about the ovaries or the female reproductive system. Sometimes, the poor concentration or mobility of the sperm, or irregular shapes etc can make it hard to conceive. In such cases, with proper diagnosis and treatment, the fertilization can be done externally as in IVF.
It is a well known fact that genetic problems pass on from generation to generation. If you or your partner has genetic disorders/problems, IVF is useful as after fertilizing externally, the embryo can be screened for any genetic irregularities (not all diseases can be screened though) and the embryo with no or minimal irregularities can be transferred in the uterus.
Sometimes the cause of not being able to conceive is not very direct or clear. It may be possible that all the tests show positive results regarding sperm quality and the female reproductive organs, still you are unable to conceive. In such cases too IVF can be worth a shot.