In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
IVF is the most common kind of ART. It is done by joining the sperm and eggs outside a woman’s body in a small dish in the laboratory to allow fertilisation to occur. One or more embryos are then transferred into the woman’s uterus. Patient will need to undergo an ovulation induction with a combination of a few drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce more follicles or eggs.
Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
ICSI is a procedure whereby a single healthy sperm is injected into the centre of the egg using a delicate microneedle. This method is used when the sperm have difficulty penetrating the egg or when the sperm count is very low. The wife will still need to undergo ovulation induction with a combination of a few drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce more follicles or eggs.
Embryo Freezing / Banking
Embryo freezing is useful for storing surplus embryos after a cycle of IVF, as patients who fail to conceive may become pregnant using such embryos without having to go through a full IVF cycle again. Or, if pregnancy occurred, they could return later for another pregnancy. Embryo freezing is also an alternative to couples that might not want to transfer too many embryos and risk a multiple pregnancy.
It is an extended embryo culturing to provide high quality embryos which are capable of continued development and result in higher live birth rate. This is particularly useful for younger women with good prognosis for pregnancy from IVF. However, only less than 55% of the human embryos progress to the blastocyst stage after 5 days of culture and there will be fewer embryos for freezing.
Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
A FET cycle is for women with wish to use their frozen embryos in the future, e.g. after delivery of a child, after an unsuccessful stimulated IVF cycle. FET is also a good option when the endometrium lining or hormone is showing signs of not suitable for a fresh embryo transfer during a stimulated IVF cycle.
Laser Assisted Hatching (LAH)
It is a laboratory procedure performed mostly on cleavage stage embryos before being transferred back to the patient’s womb. During the procedure, a small opening is made on the outer shell of the embryo. LAH can assist the embryo in breaking out of this shell to facilitate the implantation process.
Another infertility treatment which is a component of assisted conception is Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
IUI is a simple procedure where the doctor uses a small catheter to put the washed sperm into the uterus after minimal stimulation with medications or injections.