In vitro fertilization is not always the first assisted reproduction method chosen by a couple. Other, less invasive, techniques are also available depending on the cause of infertility and the couple’s medical history.
Thanks to the use of an assisted reproduction method, more than one and a half million children have been born worldwide in the last twenty years.
IVF is a process where an ovum is combined with sperm outside the women’s body. During the procedure some of the retrieved ova are fertilized by the sperm cells in a specialized lab and become embryos. The doctor re-implants the embryos back into the uterus of the expectant mother. Oocyte fertilization can be performed either by conventional IVF or ICSI methods.
In Vitro Fertilization with husband’ sperm is recommended for:
- Couples who have tried simple methods, such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), and their attempt has failed.
- Women whose fallopian tubes are absence or damage
- Women who have endometriosis and are likely to have complications in the fallopian tubes and poor egg quality.
- Women who have a limited number of ova.
- Cases where a male faces infertility problems.
In vitro fertilization with donor sperm is recommended for:
- Serious cases of male infertility when there is poor sperm quality.
- Previous sperm fertilization by the couple that has been failed.
- Bad quality of embryos or repeated failed implantation mainly due to the husband’s sperm
- When a men has a genetic disease that cannot be studied in the embryos.
- Women without a partner.
Intrauterine insemination is a simple process in which a men’s sperm is collected and transported to the laboratory where its ‘’capabilities’’ are activated and improved. During the ovulation period, it is placed with a special catheter in woman’s uterus. This process improves the sperm and facilitates the ovum fertilization.
IUI can also be combined with ovarian stimulation to release multiple eggs. Ovulation with more than one egg usually increases chance of pregnancy.
The best embryos are chosen to transfer directly with a special catheter to the woman’s uterus. The whole procedure takes place in an operating room, therefore no anesthesia is required. It is a painless and short process.
Surrogate motherhood is an assisted reproductive method where a woman lends her womb to bring to life a baby on behalf of another woman. A couple, who has decided to have a child with a surrogate mother, should choose the woman who will give birth to the embryo and follow the legal process. In many European countries surrogate motherhood is illegal. However in Greece since 2002 it is legal (Law 3089/2002).