Are You Considering Fertility Treatments?

Are you thinking of having a child? Debating over the appropriate timing?
Maybe you’re one of those couples seeking to buy a house or travel the world carefree before becoming parents? However, you’re probably saying to yourself that if it happens you’ll accept happily. And now the moment has finally arrived, and you decided to avoid the use of contraceptives, and thereby, get pregnant. You try month after month. Months go by without any results, and you start wondering why it hasn’t happened yet. After all, we’ve been trying to get pregnant for half a year already.

As a nurse midwife I specialized in the female life cycle, guiding pregnant women through childbirth for some thirty years now. I feel great satisfaction for the personal and professional growth and development I fostered through my encounters with people: couples and pregnant women preparing to have children. Early on in my career I searched for unique tools that will allow me to educate and empower women and couples in this sensitive period of their lives – all due to the deprivation I experienced myself when I first became a parent.

Empower Fertility Book

As a nurse assisting women, couples, mothers, and parents I have witnessed all these types of emotional situations, happy and worrisome alike. I lent them my ears, and they first asked for approval that their feelings are normal, seeking advice and solutions to their plight. As a nurse involved in the sensitive area of childbearing, over the years I experienced my patients’ emotional intensity and mine as well. So you can imagine how natural it is for me to be looking for answers to these questions from different directions.

My vision is to help as many people as possible to discover how to tap into simplicity, to their inner strength and passion. My goal is to learn and teach others how to develop mental flexibility, instill self-confidence and inner freedom in order to promote a high quality lifestyle of joy and gratitude. These values will manifest upon the creation of your family, starting from conception, through the pregnancy itself, childbirth, and even postpartum. My dream is that your concerns, fears, and dilemmas will be addressed and that you receive emotional support with regard to building your family nest.

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IVF – In Vitro Fertilization

Having a child is one of the most precious gifts one could ever have and these little angels bring smiles and joy to the whole family; however, there are those who go through difficulties when conceiving a child so they search for different ways to be able to bring these bundles of joy into their lives.

In Vitro Fertilization or more commonly known as IVF, is one of the processes to treat fertility as well as genetic issues while simultaneously assisting with the child’s conception; additionally, this process is also known as a single assisted reproductive technology or ART by which the eggs are carefully extracted from the ovaries. After this, the eggs will be combined with a sperm set in a laboratory culture dish which is where the fertilization will take place – “in vitro” which basically means “within glass”.  IVF is generally the original and first test-tube child technique that was developed mainly to help women with flawed Fallopian tubes.

IVF pregnancy has been done since the year 1978. Aside from In Vitro Fertilization, there are other forms of ART and these include the ZIFT or Zygote Intra-fallopian Transfer and GIFT or Gamete Intra-fallopian Transfer.

History of IVF Pregnancy

In the year 1953 at the Australian Foxton School, researchers have reported about the procedure of a transient biochemical pregnancy in which John Rock was the very first individual to successfully extract a fertilized egg that was still completely intact. When the year 1959 came, an individual named Min Chueh Chang from the Worcester Foundation confirmed and demonstrated that the process of fertilization in vitro was possible after positively achieving the birth of a live rabbit. The discovery of Chang was seminal and because of this, it clearly showed that fertilized Oocytes in vitro could be successfully developed when transferred to the uterus to produce a living young.
The very first successful pregnancy through In Vitro Fertilization of a human’s Oocyte was achieved in 1973 at The Lancet coming from the group in Monash University; however, this only lasted for a couple of days and today, the process would be categorized as a biochemical pregnancy. In the same year, Landrum Shettles attempted to carry out an IVF procedure but it was prohibited at the last minute by his department’s chairman. Aside from this, Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe reported an ectopic pregnancy that had occurred in the year 1976; and in the next year, the two had successfully executed a pioneering conception, resulting in the world’s very first child to be conceived via IVF pregnancy.

The Duration of the IVF Treatment

If you are wondering how long the In Vitro Fertilization treatment will last, one cycle normally takes about four to six weeks to complete which means that you and your partner should expect to spend half a day in a clinic for the egg recovery and fertilization process. After this, you should return to the clinic after two to three days to have the embryos infused to your uterus; you could also return after five to six days to undergo the blastocyst transfer instead.

Success Rates of the IVF Process

There definitely have been a large number of successful IVF pregnancies in the past yet the success rate of this procedure really depends on your age and the specific fertility problems that you are experiencing; the younger you are and the healthier your eggs are, the chances of achieving a successful IVF is much higher.

If you already have had a child in the past, there is a higher chance for success when you undergo the In Vitro Fertilization process; however, you can further improve your chances of success by doing a few simple things before the treatment such as achieving a healthy weight that is appropriate for your height. If your BMI or body mass index is between nineteen and thirty, IVF pregnancy is more likely to be successful on your part. Another way to increase your chances with a successful IVF is by keeping your consumption to not more than a unit of alcohol per day; drinking more alcohol than suggested will decrease the effectiveness of the whole process. Additionally, your caffeine consumption should be very low or none at all since consuming even just two to fifty milligrams of this has already been linked to decreased success rates; this also goes for smoking and you (as well as your partner) should completely stop during the whole IVF process.

The IVF Process

For almost forty years, the In Vitro Fertilization process has aided millions of individuals all over the world to overcome different forms of infertility issues, allowing them to realize their biggest dream of becoming a parent. The whole process of IVF mainly works by helping infertile individuals become pregnant; if you are someone planning to undergo this process, it begins by simply combining the sperm and egg in a special embryology lab where it will be cared for and developed before actually returning and infusing it back into the uterus.

If you are interested in the whole IVF process, the first thing that you should know is that it can be broken down into different parts beginning from the pre-cycle preparations and appointments to the pregnancy tests; it does not matter if you have just begun searching all about the whole treatment or are already a patient ready to undergo the process, what matters is that you have a clear idea of how the whole IVF treatment goes. This can definitely ease any form of worry or anxiety since it will help you feel more prepared, as well as ready for the treatment.

Initial Consultation and Ovary Preparation

You will need to go through and complete the pre-cycle testing before meeting your physician; together, you will be able to review the results while also planning on the treatment protocol – this being similar to a blueprint utilized by you and the assisting medical team during the IVF treatment. Remember that this plan will give you a set of tentative dates and usually, the time for treatment will have to be adjusted depending on how you respond to the actual medication process. It is best for you to expect changes to easily block time that is necessary for your travel or work schedule.

To prepare for the whole In Vitro Fertilization cycle, you will have to go through a mock embryo transfer – a practice that is carried out before proceeding with the actual embryo transfer. This will allow your doctor to test and examine the size, as well as the placement of the catheter to be used; he or she needs to make sure that it is fit for your anatomy before the actual process. During the procedure, an extremely thin catheter will be carefully inserted into your uterus with the help of a sonogram which will work as monitoring guide during the whole process. A lot of patients have compared the mock transfer to a Pap smear since it is painless and takes only a couple of minutes to finish.

Ovarian Stimulation

During the regular ovulation cycle, there will be a single egg that matures per month; when it comes to the IVF cycle, the aim is to have a couple of eggs to mature since this will increase your chances to have a successful treatment. During this stimulation point, your doctor will make use of injectable medications that will be utilized for about eight to fourteen days; these medications will be necessary to better stimulate follicular growth.

While undergoing the stimulation process, you will be required to visit the clinic about seven to eight times for morning appointments; the visits are mainly for monitoring your status and these consist a Transvaginal Ultrasound – a procedure to determine the growth and size of each follicle that contains an egg; the ultrasound also determines the thickness of your uterus’ lining which should increase while taking the medications. Bloodwork is also part of the monitoring process since it measures the levels of estrogen present in your body.

Trigger Shot and Retrieval of the Embryo

The trigger shot will be the last step of the stimulation phase and this gives the final development to the growing follicles, setting the ovulation process in motion. Timing during this step is extremely vital since the retrieval of the egg must be done even before the expected ovulation period. Your doctor will then decide if you are ready for the trigger and this will be determined by two key factors namely the follicle size and the levels of estradiol or estrogen. The size of the follicles should be between 18 to 22mm while the levels of estrogen are directly connected with the number of follicles present in your ovaries. This is to help your physician determine the adequate medications to utilize for your trigger shot.

When the egg retrieval process begins after the trigger shot, the retrieval process will occur in one of the clinic’s accredited ambulatory surgery centers and simultaneously, the donor’s sperm will be collected during the retrieval process. The egg retrieval usually takes about twenty to thirty minutes and during the procedure, an ultrasound will be utilized to carefully and precisely guide the needle into your ovaries. This is necessary to remove the egg and the follicular fluid.

Fertilization and Development of the Embryo

Even before the development of the embryo, fertilization should occur first; when both the sperm and eggs are collected, sorted out, then prepared, these will be ready for the process. These will go through two methods namely conventional fertilization and ICSI or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injections: the conventional fertilization is considered as a regular method of fertilization utilized during the IVF process and it is also mostly used when there are instances of unexplained infertility or blocked Fallopian tubes. For the ICSI, it has become one of the most amazing developments when it comes to the treatment of harsh male factor infertility.

Embryo Transfer

This is probably one of the simplest procedures during the whole In Vitro Fertilization process since it only takes about five minutes to accomplish; a recovery period nor anesthesia is required after the embryo transfer and the process may be compared to the mock embryo transfer that has been performed previously. Once you have been scheduled for an embryo transfer, you will usually be notified regarding this and will also be provided with specific instructions that are necessary for preparation.

When it begins, your doctor will carefully use a catheter to push the embryo right into your uterus; an abdominal sonogram will be available during the procedure since it will serve as your doctor’s visual monitor. Once it has been transferred, the catheter will be removed slowly and carefully to lessen any signs of uterine contractions. Keep in mind that once extracted, you will not be able to see the embryo since it is invisible to the naked eye, so it will be inspected under a microscope, ensuring that the embryo was released successfully.

The Pregnancy Test

The final step of the IVF process is the pregnancy test which usually occurs on the eighteenth day after retrieving the egg. Keep in mind that all of these types of tests are necessary to assess if the hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin is present.