Offlate many couples are opting for IVF to conceive. While IVF babies can be made from sperm donation, that is not the only way in which IVF happens. There is a lot of confusion and taboo about IVF, so here we clear it out for you!
What is IVF?
IVF stands for “in vitro” fertilization. In vitro, means “in glass” referring to the insemination happening outside of the woman’s body. The insemination takes place in a Petri-dish and not a test-tube. Also, test tube baby is kind of an offensive term! So don’t use it to describe IVF babies. Basically, for some health reasons as well as other causes, couples are not able to have children in the typical biological way. So, the sperm and the egg are inseminated in a Petri dish and then this mixture is inserted into the woman.
Sometimes, couples may choose to hire a surrogate mother to carry the child for them, in case the woman who will later be the child’s mother, does not or cannot carry the baby to term. Along with this process, the woman who carries the baby is also given hormones to help with the process of pregnancy and to create a supportive environment in the body.
What are some of the reasons for which couples choose to have IVF babies?
Reading the above paragraph, you must be thinking, why take so much effort? Well, there are some cases in which a regular pregnancy is not possible or advisable and so, couples go for this method. Some major reasons why couples have IVF babies are listed below:
Fertility problems in men
Men may have certain fertility problems, like low sperm count or inability to ejaculate. It is possible for such men to father a child biologically if they choose the IVF route.
Fertility issues with women’s body systems
Blocked or dysfunctional fallopian tubes, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian disease (and syndrome) are some of the health conditions that make it tough for women to get pregnant the regular way. They choose to have IVF babies to experience the joy of motherhood.
Men and women have to undergo sterilization for health reasons, like having cancer of reproductive organs. Sometimes, they may be force sterilized due to political moves of controlling the population. Such couples can also get pregnant if they have IVF babies.
Sometimes, couples may be aware of some genetic disorders that they inherited and do not want to pass on to the child. IVF eliminates this to a large degree as sperm and eggs can be chosen and it is not random selection as in the regular method.
Timing and menopause
Some couples are not able to have children the regular way. They try for so long that the woman comes very near the age of menopause. For such couples too, IVF babies are a great option. Women who may not menstruate on a monthly basis can still carry the baby to a full term if inseminated artificially. Some couples also use IVF to space out their babies and have them at a time convenient for them.
Sexuality and orientation
Lesbian and gay couples do not have the option of a regular pregnancy. Therefore, they make use of this method to have IVF babies. For a lesbian couple, they may use donated sperm. Additionally, a gay couple will use a surrogate mother to carry the pregnancy to term.
How successful is it?
International, as well as Indian figures, suggest that the success rate can be between 20 to 40%. This depends on age, health factors, quality of sperm and egg and other treatment considerations (like whether the medication was taken regularly etc). However, many couples report that they did get pregnant in their second or third attempt. The whole routine was too new in their first attempt and they were not able to follow it in a timely manner.
What are the costs of IVF in India?
IVF babies, though a ray of hope for a lot of couples, can surely be costly. Cost estimates suggest expenditure of INR 1.5 to 2.5 lakhs for the whole cycle (insemination, hormones, consultations). There are extra charges for sperm donation or surrogate mothers. However, India is one of the cheapest places for the process compared to America and European countries.
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