They say knowledge is the best kind of empowerment, and when it comes to assisted reproduction, knowing the journey a couple is about to take to bring their child into this world, can make them certain about choosing IVF as a pregnancy option.
Dr Goral Gandhi, a senior embryologist and trainer who has helped thousands of women conceive healthy children through the process, takes us through a week by week human timeline of development features of how a single cell transforms magnificently into an infant, bringing joy to families all across the world.
- Stimulating ovulation and monitoring follicle growth
Fertility hormones are supplemented, suppressing premature ovulation. The next step is focusing on multiple follicles by daily injections of gonadotropins. “We useUltrasound imaging, and hormone assessments to monitor follicular development,” says Goral Gandhi, best embryologist in India. The entire team of fertility specialists is involved in the entire process of IVF ensuring quality protocols for desired results.
- Egg retrieval
In this process, the follicles are retrieved and fluid is drained, further sent to the controlled atmosphere of an IVF lab.
“We then place the retrieved eggs in a petri dish, fertilise these eggs with the partner’s sperm which are cultured in an incubator until embryo transfer or embryo cryopreservation,” This process is called Embryo Culture, explains the senior embryologist.
- Embryo culture and development
The eggs are examineddaily and on the third day after retrieval, if sufficient numbers of embryos exhibit good growth and development, they are selected to grow to the blastocyst stage.
Embryos at this stage have a higher potential for implantation,and to reduce the chances of multiple pregnancies, fewer embryos are transferred on day 5.
As for the transfer, embryologist assesses the quality of embryo through an evaluation process. Based on the rate and development of the embryos, the embryologist and the reproductive endocrinologist mutually decide the optimal number of embryos to be transferred.
· Embryo Transfer
Embryos are transferred on day 3 when they are at the cleavage stage (6 – 8 cells) oron day 5 when they have reached the blastocyst stage.
After the transfer is completed, the remaining embryos may be further sent for vitrification (embryo freezing), which is an option available to all patients undergoing IVF treatment. Frozen embryos can also be used in subsequent cycles if the first one is not successful.
- Luteal phase
“Many aren’t much aware about the luteal phase. The luteal phase of a menstrual cycle is the period after ovulation. In a normal cycle, during this time, a woman’s body releases progesterone, which thickens the lining of the uterus to prepare for pregnancy. In an IVF cycle, a luteal support in form of micronized progesterone is given to the patient to support an early pregnancy. ” explains Dr Gandhi.
- Pregnancy Test
About 12 days after the process of embryo transfer is carried out, the woman patient will undergo a blood pregnancy test. If pregnancy is confirmed,the patient further gets ultrasounds to eliminate to confirm the pregnancy. If the pregnancy appears normal at 9-10 weeks, the patient will be referred back to their obstetrician.
From a single cell — To having your dreams come true through a newborn infant
“IVF is a journey that takes you on an emotional ride where the couple can see their lost hope resuscitate in the form of a healthy baby, bringing happiness to thousands of families,” says Dr Goral Gandhi, who takes pride in helping couples initiate and complete their IVF journey.