Thursday, May 21, 2015

IVF hurdles and milestones

IVF can be thought of as being a series of hurdles which the patient needs to cross in order to reach the finish line and get a baby.  She needs to grow eggs; we need to retrieve the eggs ; we need to fertile them to make embryos; we need to transfer them ; and finally these need to implant , so that they become a baby.  Each of these hurdles can be thought of as being milestones along the race to the finish line.  Some of these are in the patient’s control ; some are in the doctor’s control ; and finally some are in no one’s control.

Thus, whether to start the IVF journey ; when to start it ; and where to start it is a decision which is in the patient’s hands.  Growing eggs is a biological variable , and trying to optimize your pre-IVF health will perhaps help to improve egg quality.

The doctor has a key role to play , because he selects the superovulation protocol, which influences the number of eggs he collects, and their quality . The  IVF lab is responsible for creating good quality embryos , and up to this point , all the variables are under human control , and can be tweaked and optimised.

However, once we make the embryo and transfer it back into the uterus , no matter what we do , we still can’t be sure that an embryo will implant or not . Sadly, the final outcome is still not something we can control , because implantation is a messy biological process . We don’t completely understand it, as a result of which we cannot manipulate it.

The important thing to understand is that no matter whether the cycle results is a success or not , the outcome which an IVF clinic can provide is embryos , and this is why it is so important that patients demand that the IVF doctor give them embryo photographs before the transfer. All good IVF clinics so this routinely and proactively, even before the patient asks- this is a part of their SOP ! Embryo photos help to reassure patients that they have received good quality medical care .

Need help in overcoming the IVF hurdles you may encounter ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at so that I can guide you better !

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