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What is infertility?
Infertility is when a couple of fertile age has not been able to conceive within 12 month of unprotected intercourse.
Management of infertility
Getting pregnant depends on many factors in both partners. About a third of fertility problems are due a woman, a third is due to the man, and the last third is due to problems in both partners.
Treatment of infertility may vary depending on the cause and preference of the patient. However, one of the most common treatments involves Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART).
ART is group of procedures that involves handling women’s eggs, man’s sperm or embryo outside of the body in the laboratory in order to assist in achieving pregnancy.
One of the commonly used technique of ART is In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). This is a procedure that involves fertilisation of the sperm and egg in a petri dish in a laboratory incubator overnight to create an embryo.
IVF may be used to treat infertility that is due to blockages of the fallopian tubes, endometriosis, abnormal sperm as well as unexplained infertility.
A typical IVF cycle involves 6 main stages
Woman’s ovaries are stimulated with medication to increase egg production. This is then followed by the egg collection 36 hours later.
Eggs are collected by a fertility specialist using vaginal ultrasound probe. The eggs are then collected, washed and prepared for fertilization by an embryologist in the lab.
Short time after egg collection, fertilisation of the eggs takes place by incubating them with fresh or thawed sperm in a laboratory dish. The next day fertilisation should take place and an embryo is formed.
Embryo transfer to the uterus
Top quality embryos are picked for the transfer into the woman’s uterus. This is done using a fine catheter which is passed through the cervix into the uterine cavity under the ultrasound guidance.
Luteal phase support
During ART there may be insufficient levels of progesterone released to prepare endometrium for pregnancy. Progesterone gel or pessaries may often be prescribed by the fertility specialist after embryo transfer to increase the chances of embryo implantation.
Around 2 weeks after the transfer of the embryo your fertility specialist will run a blood test to check for pregnancy