Designing the Human Race: In vitro Fertilization
In vitro fertilization or IVF, is the most common and effective type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) to help women become pregnant. Approximately 99 percent of ART cycles performed is in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET). IVF-ET has helped many couples conceive successfully. It involves fertilizing an egg outside the body, in a laboratory dish, and then implanting it in a woman’s uterus.
By 2016, some 6.5 million babies had been born using IVF. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), around 1.6 percent of babies born in the United States each year are conceived through ART. At present in India, 40,000 cycles of fertility treatment are being done nationwide, up from 7,000 cycles in 2000.
Thirty-nine years ago the world was introduced to its first test-tube baby when Louise Brown was born through the IVF technique. Robert Edwards and Patrick Steptoe, who collaborated on the procedure, are considered to be the pioneers of IVF. Research suggests there has been a 50% increase in infertility in urban India since 1981 and 10-15% of couples in India are suffering from infertility.
Over the past few years, there has been a significant rise in the use of assisted reproductive technologies in India. The central component of any IVF clinic is the embryology lab and the best possible laboratory conditions are essential to achieve the best results in IVF treatment. Largest ‘clean room’ laboratory in which means the temperature control and air quality is optimal for embryo growth, therefore creating higher pregnancy rates. Recent researches and studies show a significant increase in the use of assisted reproductive technologies in India.
The reason why IVF has become the preferred choice of conception is the fact that with an alarming increase in obesity in urban areas, stressful lifestyles and greater adherence to unhealthy habits such as smoking and alcohol consumption, the issues of infertility are becoming more complex nowadays. Studies indicate that the use of various IVF techniques when conducted in safe environments raise active possibilities of positive outcomes.IVF or test tube baby is one of the medical procedures helpful to people who are dealing with fertility problems. Presently, IVF in India is more effective because the best IVF centers in India are using advanced IVF techniques to help infertile couples cope with fertility issues.
Among all the advanced techniques, ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) is one of the easiest techniques for the treatment of IVF in India. This treatment is used when a couple is unable to conceive.
In the near future, every couple can have babies if the concept and knowledge is clear and communities become more open to new experiments.
“It’s very much about engaging fully with your own healing and turning this potentially devastating crisis into something that is going to enlarge your life rather than leave you bitter and childless and broke”
General Procedures in IVF
Techniques may differ depending on the clinic, but IVF usually involves the following steps:
- Suppressing the natural menstrual cycle
- Super ovulation
- Retrieving the eggs
- Insemination and fertilization
- Embryo transfer
Who are the candidates?
In-vitro fertilization is ideal for women who have not been able to become pregnant through regular unprotected intercourse or after 12 cycles of artificial insemination.
IVF can be an option if: either partner has received a diagnosis of unexplained infertility. Other techniques, such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) have not worked; woman’s fallopian tubes are blocked, etc.
“It’s not about how long we are trying. It’s about what we have in those years of trying”
New ground-breaking IVF Technologies
Medicine is always moving forward. Every year, huge sums of money are spent on scientific research and development for the benefit of mankind. The sphere of reproduction is no exception. Thanks to new technologies, experts have learned the way to select reproductive cells, by choosing only the best quality cells, thereby increasing the chance of pregnancy.
Modern methods of cryo-conservation (vitrification) allow a delay of parenthood because of social reasons as well as medical reasons – cancer or other disease treatment.
Future parents now can be sure about the health of their baby, especially if one of the family members has a genetic disease. Modern technology can to check all chromosomes and detect deviations at the stage of the embryo. In July 2013, an American couple had the first baby to be born through IVF as a result of next-generation DNA sequencing, a new way of screening embryos that improve IVF success rates and significantly reduces the cost of treatment. DNA sequencing technology helps doctors screen embryos created by IVF to identify those most likely to lead to successful pregnancies.
All of these are modern advances in artificial insemination – this is another step for anyone who wants to experience the joy of parenthood.
1. Assisted Embryo Hatching: Assisted embryo hatching is the micro-manipulation procedure during which “embryo surgery” or “zona drilling” is performed to soften the shell of the embryo before the transfer into the uterine cavity. This will make the process of natural hatching and implantation easier.
2. Blastocyst Culture: Nowadays, it is possible to grow embryos in the laboratory until they reach the blastocyst stage – the embryo is cultured for five days, at which point it reached its highest stage of physiological development, after which it may be transferred into the uterus. By culturing embryos for a longer period of time, it makes it possible to choose the best ones for transfer into the uterine cavity.
3. Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS) by aCGH: Pre-implantation genetic screening by microarray-based comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH). This method provides high accuracy for the identification of chromosomal abnormalities prior to embryo transfer and implantation. In the near future, genetic analysis will allow for obtaining positive IVF results in the first cycle, eliminating failed attempts and termination of pregnancy after embryo implantation.
4. Cult-Active – an innovative method used in order to activate the Eggs (Oocytes) after fertilization: Cult-Active is a new method which is used in patients who have a low amount of fertilized egg cells (oocytes) during previous Artificial Insemination cycles after ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection). It indicates that eggs are immature. Oocyte (egg) activation is initiated by protein contained in sperm. During egg activation, there is a fast increase in intracellular concentration of calcium.After ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection), fertilized eggs are placed in the Cult-Active medium for 15 minutes, which helps to activate an egg. Thereafter, an increasing amount of fertilized eggs emulate the biochemical process of egg and sperm fertilization. Calcium ionophore contained in Cult-Active medium- connects calcium ions and delivers them to an egg, thus having activated them.
5. EmbryoGen:EmbryoGen medium it is possible to improve the development of an embryo also in the uterus of a female. EmbryoGen’s composition has signal molecules which are also found in the mother’s tissue. These signal molecules improve the level of cell communication between the mother and embryo, thus protecting the embryo from stress and making it stronger at the beginning of implantation and at its end.
6. Embryo Glue: It is a specially designed medium for usage in embryo transfer which improves implantation ability of the embryo. This medium is rich with hyaluronic acid, carbohydrates and amino acids, which when applied together work as a binding agent at the moment of embryo implantation in the uterus.
7. PICSI/IMSI – Detailed Sperm Selection Technique: Using the latest PICSI technique (injection of the physiologically best sperm cell into the cytoplasm of an egg) it is possible to select sperm cells without visible defects. This method improves the selection of sperm cells by up to 98%. Using the latest PICSI technique will increase the possibility of getting a successful pregnancy.
8. Time Lapse Technology Monitors Embryo Development: The time lapse technology is used to check the development of the embryo at regular intervals. This information is then analyzed by a computer. The time lapse technology also allows for a more precise understanding of the embryos.
9. Transvaginal Ultrasound has replaced laparoscopic retrievals and Fallopian Tube transfers: Gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT), zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT)