In vitro fertilisation, more commonly known by its acronym, IVF, is a type of artificial fertilisation. It can be defined as:
“Fertilisation produced by non-natural means, such as in vitro fertilisation”.
According to the latest data from the Spanish Health Ministry, in 2018 a total of 149,337 cycles of IVF were carried out across the different assisted reproduction centres in Spain. This implies an increase of 6% over 2017 and 28% with respect to the first National Registry in 2014.
Artificial fertilisation is an assisted reproduction treatment that is increasingly widespread. As proof of this we can consider the declarations made by Dr Fernando Prados, coordinator of the assisted reproduction report of the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF).
Dr Prados affirms that “despite the overall birth rate decreasing in Spain, the numbers of children born thanks to an assisted reproduction treatment are increasing.” Specifically, according to data published by the Spanish National Institute of Statistics (INE), during 2018, 37,094 babies were born thanks to assisted reproduction treatments, which accounts for 9% of the total number of births.
“In recent years, IVF has been perfected with new techniques and nowadays is the most optimized assisted reproduction treatment, and as such, the most sought after by our patients to achieve the longed-for pregnancy”, explains the team of embryologists at Ovoclinic.
Consult our success rates for in vitro fertilisation treatments.
HOW MANY TYPES OF IN VITRO FERTILIZATION ARE THERE?
Within reproductive medicine, IVF is a treatment of high complexity that is achieved by the union between an egg cell and a sperm cell in the laboratory. The resulting embryo is then transferred into the uterus to produce a pregnancy.
There are two types of in vitro fertilization:
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, ICSI
- Conventional In Vitro Fertilization
IVF-ICSI is the most precise technique of fertilization. In IVF-ICSI, a single sperm cell is selected and introduced into the egg cell using a special microinjection needle.
It is the specialist who selects the sperm and who performs the artificial fertilization and a special microscope is used in this process.
WHEN IS THIS TREATMENT RECOMMENDED?
IVF-ICSI is recommended for:
- Men with low sperm quality
- Patients with cryopreserved sperm
- Patients who do not produce sperm
- Men who have had a vasectomy
- Women who need to used donor sperm
- Women with poor quality eggs
- Women with advanced maternal age
- Couples with a history of genetic diseases
- Couples who have experienced multiple miscarriages
HOW IS AN IVF-ICSI PERFORMED STEP BY STEP?
IVF using ICSI is carried out as follows:
Controlled ovarian stimulation. The patient self-administers hormonal medication via subcutaneous injection. This treatment usually lasts for approximately twelve days.
Egg retrieval. This is the step in which the egg cells are extracted. It is a simple surgical procedure, performed under sedation, which lasts approximately between 10 – 15 minutes. A semen sample is also collected at this point to be able to perform the fertilization.
IVF. As we have previously described, the technical specialist will introduce a single sperm into the egg using a microinjection needle.
Embryo culture. The embryo(s) are grown in incubators for five or six days, until they reach blastocyst stage. This is the moment when embryologists decide which are the best quality embryos and most likely to produce a successful pregnancy.
Embryo transfer. The best quality embryo of those that made it to the blastocyst stage will be transferred to the maternal uterus.
WHAT OTHER TECHNIQUES CAN BE APPLIED WHEN USING IVF-ICSI?
When the process of artificial fertilisation is carried out by ICSI, additional complementary techniques can be employed to achieve the success of the treatment.
Some of these include:
- Selection of the best quality sperm using the triple sperm selection technique.
- The Time Lapse multicamera incubator. With the Time Lapse, the embryologists can exhaustively control the development of the embryos via the cameras.
CONVENTIONAL IN VITRO FERTILISATION
Conventional in vitro fertilization (IVF) is performed in a glass dish, where the egg cells are placed along with a drop of the sperm sample containing millions of sperm cells. A wait of 24 hours is then allowed for the fertilisation to occur by a sperm encountering and penetrating the egg by its own means.
WHEN IS CONVENTIONAL IVF RECOMMENDED?
Conventional IVF is recommended for:
- Patients who have had previous failures with artificial insemination
- Women of advancing maternal age
- Women with poor quality oocytes
- Women with damage to the Fallopian Tubes
- Women with severe endometriosis
- Couples where the male has low sperm quality
- When pre implantation genetic diagnosis is necessary.
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If you have any questions or doubts about assisted reproduction then get in touch and we will be happy to help you find the answers.