In vitro fertilization (IVF)

Feature Summary

Infertility issues for which IVF may be necessary include:

  • female factor: advanced age, fallopian tube blockage, ovulation disorder, endometriosis, uterine fibroids
  • male factor: oligoasthenoteratozoospermia (OAT), azoospermia
  • unexplained infertility
  • genetic disorders: it would be indicated for preimplantation genetic diagnosis

 

Overview

Infertility is the failure to conceive after 1 year of regular unprotected intercourse. About 40% of cases, infertility can be traced to the woman. About a third, it is because of the man. The rest could be related to both partners’ problems and sometimes no cause can be found. There are specific treatments like fertility drugs, assisted reproductive technology, and surgeries for the couple to achieve pregnancy.

 

Features

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a treatment for infertile couples. During IVF, a good number of high quality eggs are wanted to maximize success rates. Mature eggs are retrieved from the wife’s ovaries and fertilized by husband’s sperm in a lab. The fertilized eggs (embryos) could be transferred into uterus either within the fresh cycle, or be cryopreserved and then transferred in subsequent frozen-thawed cycles.

 

Procedure

One cycle of IVF takes about two weeks. It involves:

  • Ovarian stimulation: there are fertility drugs (injectable FSH product is commonly used) to stimulate multiple follicular development
  • Egg retrieval: when the follicles are mature (determined by ultrasound measurements of follicle size and hormone measurements), the transvaginal follicle aspiration is done to take the eggs out
  • Fertilizing the eggs in the laboratory : it could be done through conventional IVF or ICSI (Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection). ICSI means that the embryologist selects a single sperm to be injected directly into an egg, instead of fertilisation taking place in a dish where many sperm are placed near an egg
  • Embryo transfer to the uterus. Supplement of progesterone are prescribed for use following the embryo transfer and a pregnancy test is done approximately two weeks after the embryo transfer.

 

Notification

The process of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle carries risks, including:

  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome: signs and symptoms typically include abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, and vomiting. Rarely, it's possible to develop a more-severe form of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome that can cause rapid ascites accumulation and shortness of breath.
  • Complications from egg-retrieval procedure: bleeding, infection or damage to the bowel, bladder or a blood vessel
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Multiple births
  • Premature delivery and low birth weight

 

Estimated Cost

The procedure cost is about 350,000 NTD, prices are subject to change without prior notice, need to pay in accordance with the actual medical expenses.

Ultrasound picture of follicles (black circular areas) in a stimulated ovary Transvaginal ultrasound-guided oocyte retrieval
Day 3 embryo Day 5 blastocyst