Parenthood is every couple’s pursuit sooner or later. It’s a bliss to be able to conceive naturally whenever you start planning. It turns out to be a nightmare if one finds it difficult to achieve conception naturally. It is labelled as infertility if a couple is unable to conceive even after trying for more than a year. There are many causes of infertility both in males and females. Nowadays many treatment options are available for helping out such couples. Some of them just need medicines while few may respond positively to minimal interventions like injections, IUI etc. A subset of such couples gets positive pregnancy results just by undergoing laparoscopic or hysteroscopic procedures. Last resort in almost all cases is mostly IVF, also known as Test Tube Baby Treatment. While we all are aware that every procedure has its limitations and success rate is never 100%, its quite disheartening for all of us. Even then there are many factors which can help in improving the prospects of a successful pregnancy at the end.
Major factors determining the success rate in an IVF cycle are –
1. Quantity and quality of eggs – Yes, the final result of IVF is very much affected by both the quantity and quality of eggs retrieved in an IVF cycle. No doubt, the greater the number of eggs retrieved higher will be the chances of positive pregnancy results. But the quality of eggs also play an important role in achieving a successful pregnancy at the end. There are many medicines like DHEA, Coenzyme Q10 etc which are used to improve both the quantity and quality of eggs.
2. Sperm count and quality – Just like eggs, quantity and quality of sperms are also crucial factors determining the result of the IVF cycle. As sperms are usually present in millions, its the quality of sperms which is the governing parameter for growth and development of embryos. Avoiding smoking and alcohol while planning pregnancy plays a vital role while determining the success rate of the cycle. Many times, antioxidants and minerals are advised which are specifically responsible for improving the quality and potency of sperms. There is a test named DNA Fragmentation Index (DFI) which when high, is associated with a reduced success rate of cycle. Some medicines play a valuable role in reducing DFI.
3. Embryo Transfer timing – Ultrasound-guided transfer of Day 5 embryo, known as Blastocyst, in a FET cycle has been shown to have quite a high success rate as compared to the Fresh cycle transfer or Day 2 – Day 3 embryo transfer. In couples with previous multiple failed IVF cycles, it is advisable to first go for ERA ( Endometrial Receptivity Array) test. It tells us if the uterus is ready for accepting the embryo or not. If it tells us that uterus is not ready yet then we plan the transfer of embryo a bit late. This way many couples with previously failed IVF cycles have been able to achieve positive pregnancy result in one go.
4. Selecting the best Embryo – The fate of an IVF cycle into a successful pregnancy outcome also depends on the grade of embryo. Earlier we used to grade quality of embryos by looking at its structure. Now a days we have options of PGS (Pre-implantation Genetic Screening) & PGD ( Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis). These tests help in finding and discarding embryos with genetic abnormalities. This way the best embryo is selected and transferred thereby enhancing the success rate of IVF cycle.
5. Optimal body weight – This is a mostly overlooked factor while undergoing IVF. Overweight and obese women have a higher risk of implantation failure and miscarriage. Excessive weight is usually accompanied by high insulin resistance which in turn is responsible for the poor outcomes with regard to pregnancy. Many times medicines like metformin etc are prescribed to such women to improve the success rate of the IVF cycle. This medicine is usually taken by diabetics but its quite useful in obese and PCOD patients as well. It does not cause any major side effects like low sugars etc in nondiabetics.
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