IVF Painful Or Not? The Hidden Stages of IVF That You Don’t Hear About
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Dr. Namita Kotia has been practicing infertility treatment at Aastha Fertility Care since 2010, and during this time, she has helped around 2000+ couples become parents through IVF treatment and also other assisted reproductive technology (ART) methods like ICSI, IUI, GIFT, etc. Dr. Namita provides her patients with the best possible care and treatment options.
In vitro fertilization, or what we commonly refer to as IVF is an artificial process that can help couples deal with their infertility issues. The IVF process is much considered because of its high success rate. It is about artificial fertilization of the sperm and egg, during which the sperm and egg are kept together in a petri dish, and when the embryo is formed, it is placed in the uterus.
A few years back, medical science had no such option; but IVF is a boon to all those couples who had fertility issues but now are successful parents. However, many females still are skeptical and want to know if it is really painful? and how females deal with the pain at various stages of the IVF process. So to get answers to all these questions, read the article till the end.
How In-Vitro Fertilizations Works – Is it Painful or Not?
In vitro fertilization comes under Assistive reproductive technology or ART, fertilizing the egg and sperm outside the female body in a lab. Also, this process can be done using donor eggs and sperm. So, if you are going through infertility issues, do not worry, as you can quickly get a donor sperm or egg from a donor bank. Also, the process of IVF mainly includes five significant steps: medication, harvesting eggs, fertilization, embryo culture, and transfer. However, the process can seem long and complex if you prepare yourself well emotionally and physically. You can quickly get through the treatment to have successful results.
The detailed step by step IVF process is as follows-
Step 1: Preparation of the Pituitary Glands and Ovaries
During an IVF cycle, several eggs should mature simultaneously with FSH injections, with a trigger injection given to mature the developing eggs before collection. Hence the need for pituitary suppression arise. IVF specialists will select the best cycle type for your individual needs.
Patients may experience some discomfort like abdominal cramping during this process. Applying heat/cold to the affected injection area(s) can be helpful.
Step 2: Ovulation induction
As the IVF cycle starts synthetic hormones are induced to stimulate the ovaries for producing multiple eggs. Several eggs are required for succesful IVF as a large number of eggs may fail to fertilize or develop normally after fertilization.
There are several types of medications that may be used to retain the eggs life, including:
- A doctor might inject you with a drug containing follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), or both for ovary stimulation.
- To help the eggs mature, you may have to take medicines when the follicles are ready for retrieval.
- The doctor will prescribe medicines to prevent your body from prematurely releasing the developing eggs.
Typically, ovarian stimulation or ovulation requires one to two weeks. You may need a vaginal ultrasound and blood tests to determine when the eggs are ready for collection.
Sometimes women might experience bloating, breast tenderness, fluid retention, mood swings, headaches, and insomnia from the hormone fluctuation caused by the injections. Still, these side effects are not usually severe or painful. Consult your doctor for prescribing medications if you experience any major pain or any side effects.
Step 3: Egg retrieval
The doctor will retrieve your eggs 34 to 36 hours after the final injection and before ovulation via a surgical process- under sedation so you will not feel any discomfort. Ultrasound visually guides a thin needle through the vagina and into the follicles to retrieve the eggs. A needle is connected to a suction device to remove the eggs from the follicles. This process takes around 20 minutes. Mature eggs are then placed in a nutritive liquid and incubated dish.
Some women might experience mild side effects such as cramping, bloating, or feelings of pressure. To treat the discomfort, your doctor might prescribe you an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen.
Step 4: Fertilization
The next step is to fertilize the egg. It is a painless procedure. There are two common methods of fertilization:
- Conventional insemination: It involves mixing healthy sperm and mature eggs and incubating the mixture overnight.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): ICSI involves injecting a single healthy sperm directly into an egg. It is used when semen quality is not the appropriate or male partner has a low sperm count causing fertilization attempts during previous IVF cycles fail.
In certain situations, your doctor might suggest other procedures prior to embryo transfer.
- Assisted hatching: If you are older than 35 or have had multiple failed IVF attempts, your doctor might recommend assisted hatching. This technique involves making a hole in the zona pellucida just before transfer to help improve success rates and prevent complications.
- Preimplantation genetic testing: Doctors can test the embryos created through IVF for specific genetic diseases before transferring them to your uterus. It allows you to avoid having a child with a genetic problem, though it’s not a guarantee.
Step 5: Embryo transfer
The embryo transfer usually takes place two to five days after egg retrieval. The doctor will give you mild sedation and insert a catheter into your vagina via your cervix into your uterus. The embryo or embryos are placed into your uterus using a syringe containing embryos suspended in a small amount of fluid attached to the end of the catheter. Your embryo will implant in your uterus within six to 10 days after egg retrieval if it is successful.
This procedure is usually painless, although you might experience mild cramping.
After a week, a woman can go under a pregnancy test to know if she has successfully conceived or not, as the woman is only pregnant if the embryo attaches itself well to the inner lining of the uterus. Also, the whole process is conducted under the influence of sedatives; thus, a woman does not feel any pain during the IVF process. However, some women complained of mild cramping, which goes away in a day or two.
The Hidden Stages of IVF that You don’t Hear About.
Well, in the very beginning, even before the process starts. The doctors generally ask the women to go under the AMH test and the Hysteroscopy. Any of these tests can be used; however, Hysteroscopy is more popular. An ink-like fluid is injected into the uterus, which gives the doctors a clear view of the patient’s uterus. This provides the doctor with a clear picture of the issues causing infertility in the woman.
The second point, which many people do not know, is that the success of the process of IVF depends on various factors. Such as age, quality of eggs and sperms, and how well the embryo attaches itself well to the inner lining of the uterus. The process has about 43 to 47 percent of the success rate for women under 35 years, and the success rate decreases with age.
The females suffering from Bulky uterus should not worry, says Dr. Namita Kotia, the head of the IVF department of Aastha Fertility center. They can easily choose a surrogate mother, which can be her friend, family member, or someone unknown, who will carry her baby till birth.
And lastly, the quality of the created embryo also can be a significant factor for the success of the IVF process. Thus, being positive and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with a healthy mindset can make the process much more successful. And these two things directly affect the fertility of a person.
Is IVF Painful Than IUI Technology?
There is no significant difference in both the processes; however, in IVF, the fertilization is done outside the body of the woman; as eggs and sperm are fertilized in a lab. And in the IUI process, the sperm is directly injected into the uterus; thus, the fertilization occurs inside the womb.
Both the processes are highly painless and do not cause any pain, but you can feel mild cramping in both of them. The cramping, however, goes away as soon as the process is completed. Thus the process of IVF is not more painful than the IUI process.
Also, read IUI Procedure is Painful.
How to deal with the discomfort during the IVF process
Patients experience various side effects during the IVF process, including the discomfort. You might feel abdominal cramps and pain during IVF injections, which is quite normal. Expect abdominal cramping and bloating for up to a week after your retrieval. Fortunately, there are steps that a patient can take to minimize pain when cramping strikes, including the following:
- Use an over-the-counter pain reliever that the doctor has approved.
- Take acetaminophen to relieve pain.
- Soak in a warm bath
- Rest a warm compress on the area of discomfort
- Make sure you are getting enough fluids.
- Try deep breathing or other relaxation techniques.
Overall, IVF is not that painful. For a successful IVF, you must consult a reliable doctor, and Aastha Fertility Care is among India’s top fertility centers. They provide the best care and have the best IVF specialist with the most success rates.
If you also wish to have a baby through IVF, you should consult the doctors of Aastha Fertility center. We have a highly experienced and educated team of doctors who have helped many couples from all around the world; and have given them the gift of parenthood. Aastha Fertility center is also very transparent with their patients under all the treatments.
Dr. Namita Kotia, the head of the IVF department, has been recognized by many prominent people at various conferences for her excellent contribution to medical science. You can also book an online appointment with the doctors of Aastha Fertility care. The hospital has about a 90 percent success rate in IVF treatments, and the cost of IVF in the hospital is around 85,000 INR to 1,00,000 INR. If you wish to have any other information about the clinic or the doctors, visit our clinic once.