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World Embryologists Day: All about age, semen and eggs that spell success in IVF

Age, causes of infertility and quality of eggs are some of the factors that determine how successful the IVF procedure would be.

sex and relationships Updated: Jul 25, 2017 10:17 IST
Dr Nandita Palshetkar
One of the major reasons for infertility among couples today is their lifestyle habits.
One of the major reasons for infertility among couples today is their lifestyle habits.(Shutterstock)

Of the many treatment options available for infertility today, IVF or in vitro fertilization is perhaps the most recommended. Louise Joy Brown became the first baby to be conceived through this method on July 25, 1978, a date, which every year is celebrated as World Embryologists Day.

IVF is a ray of hope for couples with infertility issues who dream of having a baby. It is both diagnostic and therapeutic. It helps in identifying many problems related to fertilization and embryo development, which perhaps other methods cannot. Since reproduction is a complex process, as with any other procedure, the success rate of IVF also depends on many factors. Couples opting for this method should consider the following factors, which can influence the success rate of IVF.

1. Age

The older a person gets, the lesser the chances of conception through IVF. This is because the quality of eggs and sperms reduce with age. The chances of success are about 40% in couples under the age of 35. In women between the ages of 42 -50, there is only a 5% to 10% chance of conception through IVF.

2. Previous pregnancy

One of the essential factors determining success of IVF is the previous conception history of a woman. Chances of conception are more in a woman who has had a successful pregnancy earlier with or without IVF. Also, recurrent miscarriages in the past could indicate that the type of infertility is not one that responds well to IVF. However, it is not good to rule out IVF only because of a previous miscarriage.

3. Cause of infertility

Male and female infertility has a significant impact on the success rate of IVF. Women with endometriosis or blockages of fallopian tubes, issues with ovulation, or men with low sperm count tend to respond well to IVF. However, the chances of success are less in conditions such as uterine abnormalities and fibroid tumors, ovarian dysfunction and the duration for which a couple has been infertile.

4. Egg quality

The quality of eggs retrieved from the female has a bearing on the success of the IVF procedure. Healthy eggs increase the likelihood of conception through this method.

An In Vitro Fertilisation Microscope. (Shutterstock)

5. Sperm quality

A normal, healthy adult male releases about 40 million to 1.2 billion sperms in a single ejaculation. However, only one of these joins with the egg to cause pregnancy. The quality of sperm also determines the success rate of IVF.

6. Lifestyle habits

One of the major reasons for infertility among couples today is their lifestyle habits. Couples planning a family or those undergoing IVF treatment must make certain lifestyle changes to conceive successfully. Some of these include quitting smoking and drinking, getting enough sleep, reducing stress and avoiding junk food.

7. Fertility clinic

The fertility clinic a couple chooses for the process of IVF is also a factor determining the success rate. There are some things to be considered while choosing a clinic.

•Qualification and experience of doctors

•Experience of the embryologist

•Live birth rate per IVF cycle for that clinic

•Overall success rate of the clinic

Additionally, the quality of the laboratory has a crucial role in the success rate of IVF. This process requires a pristine environment which is only possible with an excellent IVF lab which goes beyond the basic requirements of the procedure. The lab should have cutting edge equipments. Today, there are so many techniques which can be employed in cases of patients who have failed IVF cycles. These are pre-IVF therapies which could be medical and surgical. Some of them are laboratory procedures and some of the changes are made in luteal support.

There is always an element of uncertainty regarding assisted conception. However, knowledge of the factors that can help in the success of procedures such as IVF can play a huge role in helping couples with infertility issues. Millions of healthy babies have been conceived through IVF, which remains one of the primary choices for couples struggling with infertility.

Dr Nandita Palshetkar is Director, IVF and Infertility at Fortis Bloom IVF Center at La Femme GK 2 in New Delhi and Fortis Hospital Gurgaon

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