IVF parents-to-be-guide on selecting a maternity hospital

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Getting pregnant is one of the most important decisions that a couple can make. There are cases, though, that natural conception may not be possible, for any number of reasons, ranging from problems with ovulation, endometriosis or blocked fallopian tubes in women, and poor sperm count in men.

While there are medical therapies available to help with infertility, there are situations where your doctor may suggest that you approach a fertility clinic. A good fertility clinic will run you and your spouse through a round of tests to diagnose the cause of infertility, and will then leverage medical treatments or surgery in cases where it is required to help you conceive.

Options that a fertility clinic can offer range from:

  • Fertility drugs
  • Surgical procedures like laparoscopy and laparotomy
  • Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF)
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
  • Gamete intrafallopian transfer
  • Donor eggs and embryos.

Let’s understand a little more about IVF treatment:

What is IVF treatment?

In vitro fertilization is one of the most common types of assisted reproductive technology, where a fertilized egg or eggs are placed in the woman’s uterus through the cervix.

What can I expect from the IVF treatment?

When you decide to get this treatment:

  • The first thing that the medical team will do is inject you with hormones, so that you produce multiple eggs instead of only one each month.
  • The team will then regularly test you to see if you are ready for egg retrieval.
  • Before the retrieval process, the team will inject you with medication that will ripen the developing eggs, and start the process of ovulation.
  • Once your doctor ascertains the right time for egg retrieval, you will be given special instructions to follow the night before the procedure, and the day of the procedure.
  • During the procedure, your doctor will locate the follicles in the ovary using an ultrasound, and remove the eggs using a hollow needle. This procedure is a relatively short one, taking as little as 30 minutes in many cases.
  • Immediately after retrieval, your doctor will mix your eggs in a laboratory with your partner’s sperm, which he will have donated on the same day.
  • After this, the fertilized eggs will be kept in the clinic under observation, to ensure that optimal growth is achieved.
  • Once the embryos are ready, you will need to go back to the IVF clinic so that the medical staff can transfer one or more of these into your uterus. Following this procedure, you will be expected to say in bed for several hours. Your doctors will typically conduct a pregnancy test two weeks after the embryo transfer.

Questions that you should ask while selecting an IVF clinic

While selecting an IVF clinic or a maternity hospital that offers IVF treatment, it is important that you have your questions planned. While case-to-case differences can be expected, there are some questions that every case has in common, and which can help you gain clarity about what you can expect beforehand. These include:

  1. Getting a complete background: Get as much detail about the clinic or maternity hospital as is possible. This will need you ask questions like:
  • When was the clinic or the department within the maternity hospital established?
  • How many IVF treatments do they conduct in a year.
  • What are the restrictions to the treatment? This can include factors like age, weight or negative screening for conditions like HIV, Hepatitis B or C.
  • Does the clinic or maternity hospital include screening tests for genetically transferred conditions like Down syndrome or cystic fibrosis among others?
  1. Getting as much information about the treatment: You need to properly understand everything that is expected of you. These will include:
  • Understanding all the different tests that are necessary before the treatment starts.
  • What you will need for each test.
  • What are the different stages of the process, and how long will it take?
  • When can the treatment start, and if there is any waiting period.
  • How many times will you need to come into the clinic.
  • What are the side-effects of the treatment, if any?
  • What happens if the pregnancy is not successful? How long before you can try again?
  1. Understanding the success rate of the clinic: A successful IVF treatment is not just one which helps you conceive, but which results in a healthy baby. Thus, you need to understand:
  • What is the live birth rate per treatment cycle started, per egg collection and per embryo transfer?
  • How many pregnancies have resulted in multiple births?
  • How many cases have resulted in a pregnancy being carried for a full-term?
  • What potential complications can be expected from a pregnancy that is a result of IVF treatment.

Choosing the right place for delivery post IVF treatment

The first step towards conceiving successfully, and giving birth to a healthy baby, is to have the right medical partner by your side. It is hard to say if all pregnancies through IVF will progress normally. Differing from case to case, there is an increased risk for the mother (high risk pregnancy) as well as the baby when conceived through an IVF treatment. Factors such as age of the female partner, age of the male factor or multiple pregnancies may contribute to high risk pregnancy.

Another point to keep in mind is the fact that most pregnancies that are a result of IVF treatment are high-risk cases, where there are chances that your baby may be born prematurely. To ensure that your delivery goes smoothly, it is important that you take the help of a maternity hospital that is capable of handling high-risk pregnancies. Since IVF pregnancies require diligent prenatal care, it is best to involve your Fetal Medicine specialist as well as a high risk Obstetrician whenever possible. For your delivery, always choose a large maternity hospital that is capable of handling high risk pregnancies and with a Level III Neonatal ICU for new-born care.

At Apollo Cradle, you not only benefit from the expertise of a large team, but also have access to the latest technology to help monitor your pregnancy through complications and ensure for a successful delivery.

For the mother experiencing a high risk pregnancy:

  • Expert obstetricians, gynaecologists and anaesthesiologists, who are available round-the-clock to assist with IVF pregnancy
  • Surgical ICU for emergency situations
  • Blood bank support
  • Availability of super-specialists, like Cardiologists, Neurologists, Endocrinologists and Uro-Gynaecologists in case of an emergency

For the baby, if he/she is a premature baby:

  • The support of a Level III NICU, which is capable of taking care of extremely preterm babies (with a gestation period of 26 weeks) and critically ill new borns.
  • Experienced Neonatologists and Paediatricians on available 24×7.
  • The services of super-specialists like paediatric cardiologists, paediatric orthopedicians, nephrologists, ENTs and paediatric ophthalmologists.

If you have undergone an IVF treatment and are pregnant, visit our Obstetrician today for expert advice. Call us on 4424 4424 or email on contactus@www.apollocradle.com