In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is one of the most effective and popular assisted reproduction methods due to its high success rates (65 – 95%). With this technique, egg fertilization occurs in a laboratory; the resulting embryo is transferred into the woman’s uterus, allowing pregnancy. IVF offers a chance at parenthood to couples who would be otherwise unable to conceive due to infertility problems such as blocked or absent fallopian tubes or low sperm counts.
The best reproductive capacity is usually between 20 to 30 years. After 35, age becomes a factor for infertility, meaning in-vitro fertilization could be a viable option. However, there are a number of factors involved in determining if a patient is suitable for IVF treatment, as the case of patients with:
Before beginning an IVF cycle, you and your partner will likely need various screenings, including:
Once the necessary screenings are done, the IVF is performed. The procedure consists of 5 steps:
1- Ovarian Stimulation
It consists of the application of medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs (instead of the single egg that normally develops each month) – this is necessary because not all eggs will be fertilized.
2- Egg retrieval
Also known as follicular aspiration, it involves obtaining the produced eggs through a simple surgical procedure (which involves a needle connected to a suction device); once retrieved, they are reviewed and prepared for fertilization (this is done by an embryologist).
There are two methods through which fertilization can be attempted:
4- Embryo culture
An optimal environment is created for the culture of human embryos; those fertilized eggs will continue to grow in the laboratory for up to 6 days before being transferred into the uterus.
The embryos are placed in the uterus using a catheter – usually, two or more are transferred with the hopes that at least one will develop. Sometimes more than one embryo ends up implanting, which is why multiples are common in women who undergo an IVF treatment (the number of embryos must be discussed with your doctor beforehand). Each transference offers pregnancy rates greater than 70% and a cumulative rate of 94% in three attempts. The next step after the In Vitro Fertilization is getting a pregnancy test to see if the procedure was successful. If there are leftover embryos, they can be frozen for future attempts.
Also known as Micro or Minimal Stimulation IVF, this technique takes less time and medication than a traditional IVF, however, the process of egg retrieval and insemination are the same.
The ideal candidates for this type of assisted reproduction method, are patients with:
A small amount of medication is applied for egg maturation. Next, 2 to 3 high-quality eggs are retrieved for fertilization. A single embryo is implanted in the uterus, avoiding the risk of a multiple pregnancy.
A Natural Cycle IVF is a conventional In Vitro Fertilization, with the only difference being that the eggs are produced naturally by the patient.
This procedure requires monitoring the fertile period of the woman for its identification. It’s highly recommended when:
This procedure begins with an ultrasound during the first days of the menstrual cycle to monitor the woman’s health status and rule out complications. After this, with an ovarian puncture at the precise moment of maturity of the oocyte, it is removed for fertilization in the laboratory; it lasts approximately 30 minutes or even less.
Afterward, the strongest sperm found in the semen sample is injected; 5 days after fertilization it becomes an embryo, which is kept under observation for 3 to 6 days and, if its development is correct, it is transferred into the woman’s uterus.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a male-factor infertility treatment to help sperm fertilize the egg during an IVF treatment. ICSI is used when the sperm is not capable of penetrating the outer layer of the egg, called cytoplasm (which is where fertilization takes place).
An ICSI is recommended when the mother is a candidate for In Vitro Fertilization and the father suffers from the following complications:
The patient will undergo a minimum of 3-day abstinence to increase the quality and quantity of sperm; when the time comes during the IVF treatment, the sperm is directly injected into the egg, facilitating fertilization. After approximately 5 days, the resulting embryo is implanted in the woman’s uterus to achieve pregnancy.
Currently, Tijuana receives more than 2.5 million tourists, mainly from the United States, who seek quality medical treatments in modern facilities that are equipped with the latest technology and where they can find highly skilled specialists, but at much lower prices when it comes to medical consultations, procedures, medications, and surgeries. The opportunity of finding the same quality treatments here, 70% cheaper in comparison to prices in the USA, motivates millions of Americans to cross the border for medical tourism.
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