In Vitro fertilization (IVF) is a long and complicated process. Whether or not to go through with it depends on a number of factors. Before going through IVF, a woman has to go through a number of tests that will show if she is a good candidate for the treatment or not.
These IVF tests ensure that problems like miscarriage, abnormalities in the embryo, or any general infection or disease that could hurt the mother’s or the baby’s health are ruled out. Continue reading to learn more about the tests and how they can influence the success of IVF treatments.
Tests Need to be Done Before IVF
Tubal patency test
This test is also called HyCoSy (Hysterosalpingo Contrast Sonography). This is a unique test used to view the fallopian tubes.
Normal ultrasound or X-Ray doesn’t allow fertility doctors to view and evaluate the condition of the uterus and whether there are any blockages in the fallopian tubes. HyCoSy is a specialized ultrasound test that can give doctors a clear view of the fallopian tubes by inserting a contrast agent into the fallopian tubes.
This test helps doctors analyze whether the fallopian tubes are functional for an IVF treatment.
Ovarian reserve testing
This step involves a few simple hormone blood tests that can tell a doctor how many eggs a woman has in her body. This is called her “ovarian reserve.” FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone), AMH (Anti Mullerian Hormone), and Estradiol are the three hormones measured in this test.
AMH tells us how many eggs are left. High levels of FSH often mean that the number of eggs in the ovaries is decreasing, which could make IVF less successful.
A vaginal ultrasound is conducted to measure the number of ovarian follicles up to 10 mm (Antral Follicle Count or AFC). The more follicles present, the larger the ovarian reserve of the female. This test only tells the number of eggs (quantity) in the ovaries, not the quality of the eggs.
This test involves collecting semen sample and sending it to a lab for testing. The sample is analyzed under a microscope and is checked for the shape, motility, and volume of the sperm.
A semen evaluation looks at how much sperm a man has (quantity) and how good it is (quality). It is one of the best ways to find out if a man is having fertility problems. The test also lets you know if a vasectomy was successful. For sperm analysis, a sample of sperm is taken and tested in a lab.
If the man is found to be infertile, ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) can be done. This is a process in which a single healthy sperm is carefully injected into the egg’s cytoplasm.
Tests for infectious diseases
Before an IVF treatment, both male and female partners are tested for any infectious diseases like HIV, Chlamydia, hepatitis B and C, Syphilis, Rubella, and varicella. This is to prevent the infection from passing from the parent to the baby.
All these diseases can risk the growth of the embryo and cause miscarriage or other abnormalities. These tests are done to avoid such circumstances.
Prolactin and thyroid hormones test
Prolactin is a key hormone that is needed to produce breast milk. Too much prolactin in the body and prevent pregnancy.
The thyroid hormone is needed for the body to conduct normal metabolic activities. When these hormones aren’t in the right amounts, it’s hard to get pregnant.
These two tests can allow doctors to identify what drug regime will work best to improve the chances of getting pregnant.
Mock embryo transfer
This is an optional test that is done to learn more about the uterus and the cervix to make IVF work better. It lets the doctor figure out the best way to conduct the actual procedure. It also lets the doctor see how the uterus might react to the embryo during the embryo transfer.
Risks involved in IVF
The above tests are conducted to prevent any complications that may arise during IVf and achieve a successful pregnancy. However, some risks may still occur during the procedure, even for women who passed all the above tests. The complications of IVF are listed below.
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
This occurs when the ovaries react adversely to the excess hormones that are injected during ovarian stimulation. This syndrome causes the ovaries to swell and can be painful.
Ectopic Pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants outside of the uterus, for example, in the fallopian tubes. There is no way to continue the IVF process from this stage.
Age is one of the most common factors for IVF failures. The older a patient gets, the lesser their chances of having a successful pregnancy. This is especially the case for women over the age of 45. They have a very low success rate for IVF treatments.
IVF can be a stressful and challenging journey for many couples. The physical and financial constraints can be tiring for people who are already stressed about being childless.
Anyone considering IVF should think carefully about the process and the steps involved in it. They should also analyze the pros and cons of the treatment and consider if it is the right option for them. Fertility doctors is always the best person to talk to when couples are in a dilemma about what to do.
IVF is known to be the most effective and successful form of artificial reproduction, and anyone who is ready and willing to go through with the process should have taken and passed all the above tests to avoid future complications.
Frequently asked questions
About 10 to 14 days after the egg removal, your doctor will probably schedule a blood test. The blood test will find the hormone hCG, which is the pregnancy hormone, and measure it.
Patients must undergo a series of tests before the IVF procedure to ensure they are in good health and the treatment won’t affect the parent or the baby. Below are some of the tests undergone before IVF.
- Tubal patency test
- Ovarian reserve testing
- Semen analysis
- Tests for infectious diseases
- Prolactin and thyroid hormone tests
- Mock embryo transfer