Have you ever wondered what In Vitro Fertilization means? Explore this article to learn more.

Test Tube Baby

‘Test tube baby’ is a conversational term given to ‘In Vitro Fertilization’ (IVF), due to the container in which the process takes place. This treatment comes as a ground-breaking progression in science for couples who cannot bear children due to various impediments ranging from infertility to damaged fallopian tubes. In 1978, under the care of Steptoe and Edwards, the first test tube baby, Louise Brown was born. A number of IVF babies have come into this world since then. In this procedure, the egg (ova) is collected using a procedure known as laparoscopy. Sometimes, in order to increase the odds of getting pregnant, the ovaries are stimulated into generating more eggs. Next, the ova and the sperms are put into a ‘petri dish’ or a ‘test tube’. This is where the fertilization takes place. The embryo is then either frozen for later implantation or transferred into the woman’s uterus for further growth. IVF treatments being so defined, may take up to three to four weeks and once the fertilization takes place, the patient is required to come three days later for the implantation. The possibility of the procedure being successful to a great extent depends on the age and weight of the woman. For instance, the younger the woman, the healthier the eggs will be. Having a healthy BMI (body mass index), will also increase the chance of success. The average success rate however is 20 percent for each cycle of treatment and experts believe that IVF is unlikely to work if it hasn’t by the third attempt.

Pros And Cons Of Test Tube Babies

Though IVF is a very expensive and time consuming method, it is by far the most effective treatment in order to bear a child. Many couples resort to this treatment when all fails, because of the following reasons.

  • Doctors, through years of analysis have proven that children conceived through IVF are not subject to health issues when compared to children who were conceived normally.
  • However infertile the couple might be, the ova and sperm will always unite. Hence, IVF by itself is always successful. The challenge lies in the implantation.
  • The treatment gives women suffering from damaged or blocked fallopian tubes a chance to have a baby.
  • If the man’s sperm is unusable or the count is low, it is possible to use a donor in this situation.
  • As mentioned earlier, the unison of the sperm and the egg is certain, but it is unsure if the implantation will be a success.
  • It is extremely time consuming as it can take several months of planning. The woman has to take fertility injections on a regular basis and her cycles are constantly scrutinized to ensure the retrieval and transfer of the egg takes place in a timely fashion. 
  • An elaborate procedure like this is bound to be expensive. One treatment cycle can cost up to Rs 30,000 – 75,000 (costs may vary) depending on the program and drugs used. The number of times taken to get pregnant also increases the cost.
  • The drugs used to stimulate the production of eggs may cause a condition known as OHSS, or ‘Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome’, which could mean an extended stay at the hospital until the ovaries are back to normal.
  • There is a huge risk of multiple embryos attaching themselves to the uterus. This can cause complications such as twins or triplets or selective termination of the embryos.
  • The drugs may have risky side effects
  • Women who go through IVF are usually at a high risk of a condition called ‘ectopic pregnancy’. This is a severe condition where the embryo implants itself either in the fallopian tube or in the uterine cavity.

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