What is In Vitro Fertilization and How Does It Work



What is In Vitro Fertilization?

In vitro fertilization is a process where a woman’s eggs are fertilized outside her body.

Then placed back inside her body to help her get pregnant.

A woman’s reproductive system includes

The vagina

Cervix

Uterus

Fallopian tubes and ovaries

During the monthly menstrual cycle, one of the ovaries releases an egg in a process called ovulation.

After ovulation, the egg enters the fallopian tube

A woman is most likely to become pregnant if she has sex in the days just before during or right after ovulation

ovulation

ovulation

During this time a sperm cell from a man’s reproductive fluid called semen is able to fertilize the egg just inside the fallopian tube.

sperm-enters-fallopian-tube

sperm-enters-fallopian-tube

As it travels along the fallopian tube the fertilized egg now called an embryo loses the outer cells that nourished it in the ovary

ovary

ovary

The embryo passes from the fallopian tube into the uterus.

In the uterus the embryo sheds its protective outer layer called the zona pellucida in a process called zona hatching.

Zona hatching is necessary for the embryo to implant in the tissue lining the uterus.

zonahatching

zonahatching

During implantation a connection between the woman and the embryo begins to grow.

This organ called the placenta allows oxygen and nutrients to pass from her to the embryo.

placenta

placenta

In vitro fertilization may be performed if a woman has been having trouble getting pregnant a condition known as infertility or it may be done if a woman wants to have a child without a male partner.



Before in vitro fertilization a woman will receive fertility medication that causes more than one egg to grow and mature in the ovaries.

A man will provide a semen sample so that the healthiest sperm can be collected for fertilization.

In-Vitro-Fertilization-How-does-it-work

In-Vitro-Fertilization-How-does-it-work

If the male partner is completely infertile also known as sterile or the woman doesn’t have a male partner a donor may be arranged to provide sperm for this process

Procedures to be perfomed during In vitro fertilization consists of

Follicle aspiration

Follicile Aspiration

Follicile Aspiration 

Fertilization

fertilization

fertilization

Embryo transfer

embryo-transfer

embryo-transfer

During the first procedure called follicle, aspiration eggs will be harvested from the ovaries.

At the beginning of this procedure, an ultrasound probe will be inserted into the woman’s vagina so that her doctor can view her ovaries.

ovaries-through-vagina

ovaries-through-vagina

Inside the ovaries, the doctor will look for follicles.

Each follicle is a fluid-filled sac that contains an egg.

Then the doctor will insert a long thin needle into and through the wall of her vagina and guide it to the ovary.

A suction device connected to the needle will collect several eggs from inside their follicles.

During the second part of in-vitro fertilization called fertilization, the collected eggs will be taken immediately to a laboratory where they will be fertilized.

Fertilization may be performed by insemination where several sperms are mixed with the healthiest Eggs or the eggs may be fertilized with sperm injected directly into them during a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

The fertilized eggs also called embryos will be monitored for three to five days as they begin to grow.

At this time the lab may create a hole in the zona pellucida surrounding some of the embryos this process called assisted hatching will help these embryos implant in the uterus.

Some of the embryos will be used right away for embryo transfer and the rest will be frozen and stored for future use if necessary



3. Vitro fertilization is called embryo transfer which is done three to five days after fertilization.

final-step-of-in-vitro-fert

final-step-of-in-vitro-fert

During embryo transfer a tool called a speculum will be inserted into the woman’s vagina so that the doctor can see her cervix.

A syringe will be loaded with fluid containing one or more of the hatched embryos then the syringe will be attached to a long thin tube called a catheter.

The doctor will insert the catheter into the vagina through the cervix and into the uterus.

Once inside the uterus the doctor will inject the embryos.

Then the catheter and speculum will be removed the woman may continue to lie on her back for about 15 minutes.

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