In vitro fertilization (IVF) has become firmly established during the last 30 years as the most effective infertility treatment. It can be used for almost all infertility problems, regardless of whether the cause of infertility is found in the man or the woman.

Vitro Fertilization Treatment

In vitro fertilization is used when the probability of conception and pregnancy by any other means is very low.

For in vitro fertilization, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) injections given into the tissue just under the skin are used to grow and mature several (5–15) follicles in the ovaries in one cycle. The eggs are retrieved from the follicles using ultrasound guided needle puncture and then fertilized in the laboratory using washed sperm.

The fertilized eggs and embryos are cultured in environmentally controlled chambers in the laboratory until the embryo is transferred into the woman’s uterus, usually on the second or third day after egg retrieval. One or at most two of the best developed embryos are chosen for transfer. The rest of the good-quality embryos are frozen for potential later use. Progesterone treatment is used to aid the embryo in attaching to the uterus.

About one in four embryo transfers leads to a live birth. If the woman is under 35 years of age, slightly less than half of the couples only need one egg retrieval in order to have a child.

Previously, two or three embryos were transferred at a time; however, the number of embryos transferred has decreased as outcomes have improved. Today, in an increasing number of transfers, only one embryo is transferred at a time. This has not decreased the success rate, but has effectively decreased the number of twin pregnancies. Twin pregnancy is the greatest single risk factor for the newborn’s health.