Perhaps you’ve been trying to have a child, but the results have yet to be in your favour. If you’re starting to feel disheartened, IVF treatment, might be something you and your spouse would like to consider.
What is IVF?
In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a form of assisted reproductive technology that allows couples with fertility issues to have the possibility of bearing a child. In the process of IVF, an egg would be fused with a sperm in a laboratory glass or plastic dish. After 2-5 days, the fertilised egg, or zygote, would be implanted in the female’s uterus. The success of the fertilisation will be known within two weeks.
IVF is recommended for infertility due the following situations:
- Women with blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, or have had their fallopian tubes removed
- Male infertility including decreased sperm count or sperm motility
- Women with ovulation disorders or premature ovarian failure
- Individuals with a genetic disorder • Unexplained infertility
In Singapore, only married couples are allowed to have IVF. Both partners need to be checked for their health and potential for fertility before the procedure.
Here’s what you can expect of a typical IVF treatment process:
1. Ovarian Stimulation
You will be prescribed with natural hormonal medications such as follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) to stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs. Having multiple available eggs increases the chances of getting pregnant.
Meanwhile, regular blood tests will be taken to check your hormone levels. Transvaginal ultrasound will also be used to measure the size and number of ovarian follicles and examine the development of the eggs.
3. Egg Retrieval
A hormone injection (human chorionic gonadotropin) would be given to trigger ovulation. 36 hours later, the eggs are retrieved via an ultrasound probe inserted into the vagina. Sedation will be administered. Meanwhile, your partner’s fresh semen sample would be collected before or after the egg retrieval.
4. Fertilisation and Insemination
The eggs and sperm will be placed together and mixed in a dish. If the chance of fertilisation is low, the sperm might be directly injected into the egg. They would be placed in an incubator and monitored to check that a healthy embryo develops for 2 to 5 days.
5. IVF Embryo Transfer
After 5 days, the developed embryos (blastocysts) of the best quality would be transferred into the mother’s uterus using a catheter (small tube) that is passed through the cervix. The procedure would be performed via ultrasound. For the next two weeks, the patient is recommended to have adequate rest and refrain from strenuous activities.
6. Pregnancy Testing
Two weeks after the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test will be performed. If the result is positive, your doctor may perform a foetal viability scan to confirm the success of the pregnancy. An IVF procedure can cost between $10,000 to $20,000 per cycle depending on whether one visits a public or private hospital or clinic. Procedures done at public hospitals would cost about $10,000 to $15,000 per cycle, while private medical centres are expected to cost from $12,000 to $20,000. The cost usually includes ultrasound, egg collection, egg transfer, lab charges, nursing fees, and use of the operating theatre and recovery room.
The success rate of IVF is approximately 40%. If you are thinking of opting for an IVF treatment, there are actions and lifestyle changes you can adopt to increase your fertility and in turn, the success of your IVF treatment.
Fertility massage is a specialised massage technique that can help women improve their reproductive health and increase their chances of conception. These massage techniques can be done by the women themselves – a cost-effective way to boost one’s fertility naturally.
Here are some ways a fertility massage can help to improve women’s reproductive system:
- Break up scar tissues
- Reposition a tilted uterus
- Promote hormonal balance
- Reduce stress and stress hormones
These massage techniques are safe to use when one is preparing for IVF and can enhance the results of the fertility procedure. However, once the transfer of fertilised egg is complete, do discontinue your fertility massage treatment.
Better Support Of Egg Quality And Egg Flow
Poor egg quality is one of the most common causes of infertility and problems with egg quality can lead to embryos failing to be implanted or fertilized in IVF. Besides fertility massage, you can also try to improve your egg quality and egg flow in order to increase your chances of conceiving. Here’s how you can ensure that your eggs are as healthy as possible:
Have A Diet That Promotes Healthy Egg Development
Nutritious food such as fresh and leafy vegetables, berries, halibut, salmon, pumpkin seeds, turmeric, ginger and royal jelly can help to boost the quality of your eggs. On the other hand, avoid processed food, trans-fats, refined cards, caffeine, alcohol, and food with excessive salt and sugar, which can affect your overall health and fertility adversely.
Manage and Reduce Your Stress Level
Stress might not only impact the cycle length and menstrual flow of your menstrual cycle, but also produce hormones that can hinder or stall ovulation which delays egg production. Reduce stress by taking up activities such as yoga, meditation, or going for regular walks around nature.
Boost Your Blood Flow
Healthy eggs develop when oxygen-rich blood flows to the ovaries. Exercise regularly and aim to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day to increase blood flow. Fertility massage can help as well.
Smoking increases egg loss in the ovaries, an irreversible side effect. Chemicals in cigarettes mutate the DNA in egg cells which cause some to be unsuitable for conception.
Consume Prenatal Multivitamins and Antioxidants
Supplements such as Coenzyme Q10, melatonin and fish oil can help to produce higher quality eggs and encourage ovarian function.
After Conceiving: Pregnancy And Giving Birth
Even after successfully getting pregnant, some women might still face issues during the process of pregnancy and giving birth.
Common complications of pregnancy include high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia, preterm labour, miscarriage and stillbirth. To reduce the risk of pregnancy complications, getting early and regular prenatal care is essential. Here are some actions you can take to ensure a healthy pregnancy:
- Follow a healthy diet
- Limit caffeine consumption
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Prevent infections that can affect pregnancy
Birth complications such as prolonged labour, foetal distress, excessive bleeding and malposition can also occur during labour and delivery. They can happen at any part of the labour process which may lead to a change in the way the delivery is carried out. In some cases, a caesarean delivery may be deemed necessary.
Attending all prenatal visits during pregnancy can prevent or resolve these labour problems. It is essential to follow the doctor’s advice regarding the process of pregnancy and delivery.
Joy Of Having A Child
Though the process of conceiving, pregnancy and giving birth can be difficult, the joy of parenthood is a reward that makes the struggle worth it. Nothing quite comes close to the feeling of looking at your baby held right in your arms. You can look forward to seeing your child every morning, watch them take their first steps, say their first words, go to school and gradually grow.
In-Vitro Fertilisation Treatment In Singapore
If you would like to experience the happiness of having a child but are encountering problems with getting pregnant, IVF might be an option for you. To increase your chances of a successful IVF treatment, you can also consider going for fertility massage and increasing the quality of your eggs. Continue to consistently take care of your health to ensure a smooth pregnancy and childbirth, keeping the joy of parenthood in mind when the going gets tough.
Frequently Asked Questions
Following the transfer, you’ll have around one hour to lay back and relax and rest. However, since it is not a very intrusive process, you might not need this downtime. The complete treatment, including relaxation time, takes about 2-4 hours in total.
Unfertilized eggs retrieved from the ovaries are frozen and kept for eventual use. A frozen egg could be thawed in a lab, put together with sperm, and placed in the uterus (in vitro fertilization).
The maximum age for better outcomes is 35 years old. That suggests that retrieving eggs in your twenties may provide greater odds.
Please keep in mind that time is not really an issue if the egg retrieval and freezing are performed correctly.
Long-term freezing also enables you to take the time to hunt for a sperm donor if that is your goal. You don’t need to hasten your hunt for a sperm donor since your eggs will not be lost soon.
Women who have medical issues that may impact their capacity to conceive in the future might also benefit from egg freezing. If you have a hysterectomy for whatever reason, your eggs can be retrieved by your surgeon and freeze them until you find a surrogate.