IVF made simple!
While the very early stages of an in vitro conception take place in an unusual manner, the rest of the pregnancy, including the delivery of the baby, can be expected to take place normally.
Even though conceived differently than most, the baby doesn't look any different and, in fact, is no different from other babies.
The very first IVF baby was born in 1978. Since then, IVF has become a quickly growing field of medicine, showing how medicine and technology join together to overcome an obstacle of nature.
A challenge has been set by an English reader of Kosmogonia to simply explain the IVF protocol. So, here goes….
In the menstrual cycle a single egg develops day by day, the womb lining (endometrium) thickens in preparation for the fertilized egg to implant (or not !).
In the middle of the cycle the egg is released (ovulation), hopefully the egg is fertilized by a sperm and the level of the hormone progesterone increases to help the fertilized egg (embryo) to implant and develop.
So, that’s what we mimic in IVF but on a larger scale.
We can’t have your hormones running amok so we suppress them before starting.
We use a Suppression drug.
We stimulate the ovaries to produce more than one egg for better success. We use a stimulation drug.
We time the egg pick-up ( like ovulation in nature) precisely so we use an maturation drug to mature the eggs before being collected by the doctor.
To help implantation we use a progesterone drug.
Step by step: Suppression-Stimulation-Maturation-Implantation
Suppression drug-taken every day until the HCG injection
Stimulation drug-when the ovaries are suppressed (determined by a ultrasound scan and blood hormone test) . The stimulation drug is taken every day until the HCG injection.
Maturation (HCG) injection-usually given around midnight, taken only once to mature the eggs for egg pick up some 36 hours later
e.g Monday night HCG injection, no more suppression or stimulation drugs!
Wednesday morning egg pick up.
Implantation (Progesterone) drug is given by most doctors around the time of egg pick-up and continued at least until the pregnancy test.
Menstrual cycle=IVF cycle
Start of menstrual cycle=Start of stimulation
Egg grows in size=Eggs grow in size- scans & blood tests
Ovulation trigger=HCG injection
Mid-cycle-Ovulation=Egg pick-up ~12-14 day of stimulation
Fertilization/implantation=In vitro ferilization/embryo transfer- progesterone taken
Two weeks later..late period- pregnancy test=Two weeks later - pregnancy test