IVF is a treatment option for those couples where female partner is having problems related to normal production of the eggs, or tubal blockage or the male partner has severe male factor infertility. When a couple visits an infertility specialist and advised IVF, often the next question that comes in their mind is, what is the success rate of this procedure? First of all, it should be understood that the chances of getting pregnant varies from patient to patient according to the cause of infertility. The older female partner, severe endometriosis, highly abnormal sperms, history of past IVF failures poses a challenge for the clinician. These patient related factors are not modifiable, however there are some factors which if taken care of , can increase the success rate of IVF procedure for the couple .
Choose the clinic which has all the facilities under one roof – It is very important to choose wisely an infertility centre which has IVF laboratory, IVF operation theatre, Pharmacy with cold storage , pathology lab, facilities for freezing embryos, oocytes and sperm all under one roof.
Choose the experienced fertility specialist and embryologist( in house)– Patient selection, use of appropriate drugs in appropriate dosages, trouble shooting at every step of IVF, tackling different case scenarios like thin endometrium etc. require a level of competence that comes with experience. Similarly, the embryologist also has a key role to play right from maintaining correct laboratory protocols to handling of gametes.Pregentic screening/ Pregenetic diagnosis( PGD) involves taking biopsy from the embryos which requires high level of skill .Therefore it is very important to select a fertility specialist with requisite experience and competence also select a clinic which has in house and experienced senior embryologist.
Cold chain of IVF medication to be maintained – The drugs that are used for IVF should be stored between 2 -8 degree Celsius. This means a strict cold chain should be maintained right from the production till the end of supply chain . Therefore , it is very important to use drugs from a trustworthy and reliable companyand still better to use the drugs available in IVF centres phrmacy.
Right age and time to move towards IVF- This is very important factor in the success of IVF. As the female age advances, the number as well as quality of eggs become less. The quality of eggs means that normal chromosomal ( genetic) mutations increase with as the age of the female partner becomes more than 35 years. Therefore, one should not wait for too long and consider moving to IVF keeping in mind that IVF results are also better when it is done at an appropriate age.
Healthy lifestyle, diet and regular exercise- The importance of a healthy lifestyle cannot be overemphasised. Alcohol and smoking should be avoided. Stress of lifestyle should be reduced through yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises. Fruits and vegetables should be included in the diet. Regular exercise which involves 30 minutes daily of cardio vascular work out should be done. Exercise is very helpful in patients with PCO as it improves insulin sensitivity and chances of ovulation. Exercise also releases endorphins which is helpful to elevate ones mood and reduce stress
Investigations of both partners before moving on for IVF- Basic blood tests of both the partners and semen profile is important prior to moving for IVF
Blastocyst transfer – The day 5 embryo has better chance to implant due to multiple reasons. Firstly, the abnormal embryos are naturally deselected and only healthy embryos are able to reach by day 5 in the culture media. Also the endometrium is better receptive as hormonal interplay causes endometrium to be more receptive on day 5.
Frozen cycle IVF should be considered –Frozen embryo transfer has better conception rate than fresh transfer cycle in certain cases. The reason could be due to raised hormones which are more raised in fresh embryo transfer making the endometrium less receptive .