In Vitro Fertilisation- IVF


In-Vitro Fertilisation or IVF is the most popular fertility solution your doctor might offer you these days. When hormonal treatment and IUIs fail to help you conceive, doctors quickly suggest IVF as a last resort.

Some doctors even believe that when someone is considering IVF, problems like PCOS, fibroids, ovarian cysts, endometriosis or other hormonal disorders don’t matter. They consider IVF to be a foolproof plan. Although that’s not the truth, patients generally don’t know that.

Hormonal treatment could overcome egg growth, developmen, and ovulation issues. IUI could help with conception. If the sperm is not reaching the egg timely, IUI could bypass the issues and plant the sperm directly into the uterus.

Similarly, people think that IVF can bypass all the other reproductive issues and easily help any woman get pregnant. Although it sounds like music to the ears, it isn’t the truth.

Some Important IVF Facts:

  • IVF can push your ovaries to the limits with its excessive hormonal boost. Hence, every additional IVF attempt will have a lower success probability.
  • While several embryos are cultured and then planted in the uterus, this process does nothing to improve the endometrium health and its nourishment leading to higher chances of implantation failures.
  • 2 Specific Problems with the IVF Procedure:

  • In the IVF procedure, heavy hormonal doses are given to the patient to increase egg production in the ovaries. This increase is abnormal. Normally a woman produces around 4 eggs a month, and they finally merge into one in the developmental stage.

However, during the IVF procedure, excess hormonal stimulation produces 400-600 eggs at once. Your ovaries get overworked and overstretched. Even one IVF can deplete your overall egg count considerably. In the next IVF, your ovaries will produce even fewer eggs, and you will have to be administered heavier doses of hormones.

It severely increases the risk of perimenopause and will cause hormonal imbalances that might trouble you for years to come.

  • The fertilised embryo is planted directly into the womb through the IVF procedure. Hence, it bypasses the whole process of fertilisation through regular intercourse. More than one embryo is planted at once to increase the chances of successful conception.

However, it cannot improve the quality, health, and nourishment of the endometrium. It is the bed where the embryo is planted. Hence, IVF has a high implantation failure rate. Even the risk of multiple pregnancies, premature deliveries and miscarriages can be high with IVF.

As you can see in the chart above, even IVF starts with hormonal stimulation. In fact, hormones are given in very heavy doses to stimulate an extraordinary production of eggs.

Normally, women produce a couple of eggs every month. As time passes, only one egg develops to maturity, and the rest of the eggs dissolve. Around the 14th day of your period cycle, ovulation occurs. That’s how the reproductive cycle works in normal circumstances.

In the case of reduced fertility due to hormonal imbalances, this egg production, growth and ovulation are affected. IVF procedure tries to overcome these issues by increasing the production of these eggs several times over. Normally 4-5 eggs are produced in a period cycle. Excessive hormonal stimulation can raise the production anywhere between 400-600. In some women, around 1000 eggs are formed.

Heavy hormone doses are administered to increase the egg size. Still, only 5-6 eggs can achieve the desired growth and size. The doctor will keep checking the egg growth through periodic Sonograms.

Once the eggs achieve the desired size, they are extracted from the ovaries using injections. Further on, these eggs are nurtured and grown in petri dishes.

Separately, the semen from the male partner is obtained. It is washed, and potent sperm is extracted.

Once these eggs are ready, they are fertilised with potent sperm in the petri dish.

Once the embryos are formed, they are reintroduced into the womb.

Hence, this process cuts short the whole process of ovulation and fertilisation in the body. The uncertainties regarding the fertilisation of the egg by the potent sperm in the right window are eliminated by this process. You have a fertilised embryo right in the uterus. A big part of the process is mechanised and controlled.

Yet, it is important to note that the body’s chances of rejecting this embryo as a foreign object are high. That’s why more than one embryo is injected at the same time. That’s also the mystery behind multiple pregnancies often witnessed during IVF.

If the implantation is successful, the woman will miss her next period. Her pregnancy tests will come positive. If things go fine, her pregnancy will stay.

Causes of Failure

The causes of failure in IVF are usually simple.

This procedure bypasses the complete conception process and plants the fertilised embryo directly into the uterus. However, the chances of the body rejecting some or all the embryos are high. The embryos are introduced from the outside, and the body’s immune system starts treating them like foreign objects.

Sometimes, one or more embryos can implant themselves but don’t get the required nutrition from the endometrium and the pregnancy fails. In most women, their endometrium isn’t capable of holding and nurturing the pregnancy. Endometrium failure is the biggest cause of IVF failures.

Endometrium failures are primarily caused by hormonal imbalances. IVF doesn’t address this problem. On the contrary, excessive hormonal stimulation can wreak havoc on your hormonal balance for years to come.

Hormonal treatments in IVF are very aggressive. These procedures can impair your overall ability to conceive in the future. IVF also has a deep impact on your aggregate egg count, which is predetermined at your birth.

However, IVF is an excellent procedure if a woman has a blockage in the fallopian tube or other such issues preventing pregnancies.

Side Effects

IVF has some usual side effects of the excess hormones administered during the process.

Those side effects are:

  • Weight gain
  • Pigmentation
  • Excess facial hair growth
  • Male pattern baldness
  • Mood swings
  • Hormonal acne
  • Period cycle disruption

However, the side effects don’t end here.

Actual Reasons for Concern

  • Low AMH: Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) is a hormone in the body that determines the total egg count in your body. Hormonal stimulation in IVF can rapidly exhaust the total number of eggs in your body. Hence, after IVF, your AMH may go down rapidly. It will deter your future pregnancy chances.
  • Every IVF cycle leaves you with fewer eggs than before. Hence, the chances of recurring IVFs also come down.

  • Early Menopause: Menopause is the stage when the eggs in your body end and your period cycle stops. This stage can come much before the expected duration due to repeated IVFs. These procedures rapidly deplete the egg store, advancing the onset of menopause.
  • Hormonal Imbalance: The hormonal balance in a woman is very delicate. In a large number of cases, infertility is also caused by these hormonal imbalances. However, IVF doesn’t address the specific hormonal imbalances in the body. On the contrary, it exposes you to heavy hormonal stimulation that can have far-reaching consequences on your overall health. Disorders like PCOS and endometriosis can also affect your successful pregnancy chances even after IVF.
  • High Implantation Failure: Inadequate endometrium nutrition and receptivity are major reasons for implantation failures. You must remember that while IVF can plant a fertilised embryo in the womb, that embryo must survive on the endometrium bed for the next few months.

If the endometrium isn’t receptive, it might reject the embryo, and implantation failure might occur. It happens very often. That’s the reason multiple embryos are placed in the womb simultaneously. It is also the reason for multiple pregnancies through IVF.

In the more unfortunate events, the implantation occurs successfully, but the endometrium cannot provide adequate nutrition to the embryo required for survival. Hence, miscarriages might occur. This is more unfortunate because that poor woman would have received the good news of a successful pregnancy just a few days ago. However, hormonal imbalance can make the endometrium nutrient deficient. The embryo has to survive on the nutrition provided by the endometrium for the initial period of pregnancy until the placenta forms. It derives all its nutrition from this jelly-like uterus bed called the endometrium. That’s why untreated hormonal imbalance is a big problem, even with IVF.

  • Multiple Births: It is common for women to have multiple pregnancies simultaneously through IVF. It isn’t good as it raises the risk of miscarriages and other complications.

Important Aspects Ignored

IVF has a very limited scope. This procedure is incorrectly projected as a magical fertility program. In reality, this procedure is effective only for women with depressed fallopian tubes or similar structural defects in the reproductive system.

IVF cannot help in every infertility case. That is why it has a very high failure rate.

It must be noted that over 80% of women are incorrectly pushed for fertility procedures like IUI and IVF. These procedures are only beneficial in select cases.

Until issues like hormonal imbalance, PCOS, poor egg quality and endometriosis are addressed, implantation failures and miscarriage rates will remain high.

IUI and IVF are helpful procedures. But they cannot guarantee fertility to every individual.

Ayurveda has numerous herbs to improve egg quality and enrich the endometrium. With healthy lifestyle changes, a proper diet, and Ayurvedic herbs, most of the obstacles in the way of your pregnancy can be easily removed.

Ayurveda doesn’t just treat the symptoms. It helps address issues like PCOS and endometriosis, the biggest cause of infertility in women.

Key Learning

Assisted fertility treatments like IUI and IVF are only beneficial in cases of structural defects in the reproductive system or when the sperm cannot reach the egg. If the root cause of the problem is not addressed properly, hormonal treatments are usually counterproductive and inefficient. These procedures must not be used as an easy replacement for natural conception.

Proper Ayurvedic treatment can help most couples achieve their dream of parenthood naturally with minimal distress to them physically and emotionally.

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