Today, in vitro fertilization (IVF) has become a very popular and widely accepted infertility treatment procedure. IVF is the process in which a woman’s egg is removed surgically and then combined with the sperm in a laboratory. When or if, the egg is fertilized, it is then implanted in the woman’s womb.
As technology and research continue to advance, in vitro fertilization treatment and other fertility treatments are becoming more and more successful. The world’s first test-tube baby, Louise Brown was born almost 37 years ago. Since then, there have been a lot of developments in the IVF treatment. Statistics show that five million babies have now been born worldwide with the help of fertility treatment - half of them in the last six years.
In this article, I will highlight some of the latest advances such as new tests that pinpoint the best day to implant an embryo, among others.
Higher success rates:
In recent years there has been an increase in the number of older women likely to get pregnant using embryo eggs through in vitro fertilization. This is because of the new approach carried out by researchers where they retrieve embryos earlier. Contrary to the popular belief that it is the aging of eggs that results into low IVF success, experts believe that it is in fact the aging of the eggs' environment that is to blame.
Able to look at pregnancy outcomes:
IVF studies are now able to determine whether or not you can get pregnant through this process. Today, it normally takes only three or four cycles for most of the women to learn if they are pregnant.
Advancements in freezing embryos:
A new technique known as vitrification, allows freezing the embryos rapidly compared to the conventional ‘slow freezing’ technique. This is because; during the freezing process eggs are more vulnerable to damage from ice crystallization compared to the fertilized eggs i.e. embryos.
Vitrification is highly beneficial for cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment, as they can preserve their fertility.
Time-lapse cameras have made monitoring of IVF embryo easier and efficient:
This is a new procedure that has revolutionized the success rate of IVF as it can double or even triple the percentage of healthy babies born as a result of IVF treatment. Experts monitor the first few days of the embryo by taking numerous time-lapse pictures.
Previously, embryologists checked the embryo manually every day, but the time-lapse cameras have made monitoring easier because of the time-lapse cameras which can take pictures of the embryo every 10 minutes.
“With time-lapse we have the ability to view more than 5,000 images over the same time period to observe and measure more closely each stage of division and growth. As a result of continuous monitoring we have demonstrated that delays at defined points indicate abnormal development,”
Able to have an entire family:
What could be better than to be able to have an entire family going through only one cycle?
IVF treatment allows for some of the couples to be able to have more than one child during one cycle. This is possible because the fresh embryo provides them with the first baby while they can use the frozen embryos for other children later.
Developments in IVF have seen a lot of success as now more couples take home with them healthy babies. Thanks to rapidly changing technology a lot more is possible today than it was yesterday.
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