In recent years, the choice to undergo infertility treatment is not an uncommon one, and some people choose to undergo IVF. The probability of conception through IVF varies depending on the age of the patient, so it is important to consult with a doctor and get information about the condition of the sperm and eggs, as well as the pregnancy rate.
According to the 15th National Institute of Population and Social Security Research survey (2017), 35% of couples have ever worried about infertility, which is not uncommon.
The governments in some countries have also begun to provide financial support, such as programs that subsidize part of the cost of infertility treatment medical expenses.
In this article, we will explain when to start considering infertility treatment, what methods are available, what is the success rate of IVF for different ages, and what are the chances of pregnancy.
- Artificial Insemination vs. In Vitro Fertilization
- What is ICSI?
- Success Rate (pregnancy rate) of IVF and ICSI
- In Vitro Fertilization Flow
- The Risks and Cautions of IVF
- Infertility Treatment Methods Other than IVF
Artificial Insemination vs. In Vitro Fertilization
In general, before infertility treatment begins, a person will have a basal body temperature, tests to measure hormone levels, an examination of the fallopian tubes, and an AMH (Anti-Müllerian Tube Hormone) test to determine how many eggs are left in the ovaries, and then a treatment plan tailored to the individual will be created.
Depending on the patient’s age at the start of infertility treatment, it usually takes six months to a year to achieve natural pregnancy by teaching the timing that makes it easier to get pregnant, removing the obstacle that is causing infertility through surgery or taking medication that stimulates ovulation.
However, if pregnancy still does not occur, artificial insemination, in which sperm is artificially injected deep into the uterus, is performed.
If previous treatments have not been effective, or if there is a blockage in the fallopian tubes, or if there is no hope of conception with artificial insemination, IVF is an option. IVF can be done by sprinkling sperm onto a retrieved egg, or by fertilizing the egg outside the body and implantation of the fertilized egg (embryo) in the uterus after cell division.
What is ICSI?
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a method of in vitro fertilization that is suitable when there are problems with the sperm, such as insufficient numbers of normal sperm or low motility. This is a method in which one normal, healthy sperm is extracted under a microscope and injected directly into an egg cell to fertilize it.
Success Rate (pregnancy rate) of IVF and ICSI
According to a survey conducted by the Japan Society of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the number of assisted reproductive treatments such as IVF and ICSI performed throughout Japan in 2017 was approximately 450,000 per year (treatment cycles), ranking first in the world). 2) However, the pregnancy rate and the number of births is not as high as in other countries.
The pregnancy rate and the rate at which children are born alive (production rate) is about 20% until the early thirties), but declines as people get older. If you are over 40 years old, your chances of getting pregnant and giving birth are very low, even with IVF or ICSI.
The miscarriage rate rises sharply after the age of 37, reaching 30.6% at age 39 and 33.6% at age 402). It is important to start treatment with the understanding that even if fertilization is successful, there is no guarantee that the pregnancy will implant and result in a safe delivery.
In Vitro Fertilization Flow
- Induce Ovulation
Administer clomiphene therapy or hMG to stimulate ovulation and make it easier to expel eggs.
- Egg retrieval
While watching the transvaginal ultrasound monitor, a needle is inserted into the follicle in the ovary and the eggs are aspirated with the follicular fluid.
Sperm from the husband is sprinkled on the retrieved eggs (IVF), or sperm is injected into the eggs under a microscope (ICSI)
- Embryo culture
Growth of the fertilized egg. Depending on the condition of the egg that is to be returned to the uterus, they can choose from several methods, such as transferring the sperm and egg into the fallopian tube and fertilizing the egg inside the fallopian tube (GIFT method), before cell division (ZIFT method), 5-6 days after fertilization (blastocyst transfer), or 4-8 divisions after fertilization
- Embryo transfer
In order to prevent multiple births, no more than a few embryos are returned at a time. The fertilized eggs that are not used are frozen and stored for future use if necessary.
The Risks and Cautions of IVF
The image of infertility treatment = in vitro fertilization (ICSI) has become so prevalent that some people want to undergo IVF regardless of their age or test results.
However, IVF is different from natural pregnancy in that it involves human intervention. It is important to understand that there are many risks involved. If you have any questions, please ask your obstetrician before starting treatment.
Mental, psychological, and financial burdens
Even with subsidies, infertility treatment is an expensive expense. It is advisable to set a deadline and a cost. Furthermore, infertility treatment places a heavy burden on a woman’s mind and body. If you don’t agree with your partner, it will be difficult to get through it while supporting each other.
Decreased pregnancy rate and increased miscarriage rate
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is not a reliable method of pregnancy. It is important to understand that even if fertilization occurs, there is a higher probability of failure to get pregnant, miscarriage even if implantation occurs, and failure of the fertilized egg to grow in the womb even if pregnancy occurs, compared to natural pregnancy.
Higher probability of pregnancy problems
There are reports that IVF pregnancies have a higher chance of multiple pregnancies, gestational hypertension, impending premature birth, and placenta previa than natural pregnancies.
Risk of genetic abnormalities with ICSI
ICSI is usually performed when there is a problem with the sperm. Even with azoospermia, sperm can be extracted directly from the testicles and fertilized, but the genes will still be passed on. Therefore, if a boy is born, there is a possibility that chromosomal and genetic abnormalities will be passed on.
Infertility Treatment Methods Other than IVF
In addition to consulting with your doctor, there are things you can do on your own.
Relaxation such as aromatherapy
Stress can cause hormonal imbalance, making it difficult to get pregnant. Use aromatherapy or yoga to increase your relaxation time.
Supplements and herbal medicine
In addition to supplementing nutrients that are often lacking, Chinese herbal medicine may be effective in improving blood circulation.
Improving your physical condition
Aim for a healthy body by changing your basic lifestyles, such as eating habits, sleeping habits, and exercise.
When you can’t get pregnant easily, you may want to take IVF treatment. However, if you do that, it’s important to understand some risks and what would happen. Also, be sure that you and your partner are on the same boat.