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In Vitro: Beyond The Test Tube

Every single time I see a picture of a baby, I find myself in awe of the creation of a human life.  It is beautiful.  Living in such a modern world, there are many ways to help our bodies create such beauty. Most of us are lucky enough to be able to have this come about naturally.  There are, however, others who need the help of science to experince the joy of carrying a child.  One of these scientific pathways is called In Vitro Fertilization, or as some may refer to it, a test tube baby.  For those of you who haven't heard of it or have never been informed about this form of treatment, let me share the process:

In Virto Fertilization, often referred to as IVF, had its grass roots in the 1980's.  Doctors were perfoming this procedure and were finally getting success from all of the years of study. Each year, doctors discover more and more about this process, helping more and more people each year.

The process begins with an infertile couple who is now seeing a specialist trained in preforming In Vitro procedures.  They have usually exhausted all other infertility options at this point. This couple must have piliminary blood work, fertility testing, and ultrasounds before any procedures take place. Financial agreements must be signed with the money up front, in most cases. After all the preliminary testing is done, treatments can begin.

The woman is placed on fertility medication at high doses, hopefully resulting in a large number of follicles that hold a single egg.  The more eggs, the better.  After the follicles reach sufficient maturation, they are extraced from the follicle. 

The husband, if he has low count, must take medication to boost his fertility.  After the eggs are extracted and the male specimen is recieved. The eggs are fertilized via science.  Amazing I tell ya!  I have watched this process on video and it is facinating. The egg becomes fertilized and is left to match chromosomes with the sperm and for cells to start dividing.  After 3-5 days, the strongest are chosen while the others are preserved via the freezing method (although scientists are learning how to replicate a human ovary for safer storage fertilized eggs.)

The next step is the transfer.  The cells are then transferred into the uterus for the baby to implant and to continue to grow. Most doctors only transplant 1 or 2 fertilized eggs at a time.  Octomom, as many refer to the woman who had 8 babies using the In Vitro method, is not common! It is considered unethical amoungst In Vitro doctors and also causes hazards for babies and mom.

After the transfer, the woman is monitored regularly and placed on appropriate medications. Then the couple plays the waiting game.  At a local clinic here in Charleston, SC the success rate is 50%.  Roughly 1 in 2 cycles will result in a baby.  These are great rates for couples who are told that their chance of getting a baby naturally is zero. 

In Vitro is a process that has taken time to perfect.  The time money and effort is all worth it for the families who have been blessed by its process. It is a part of medicine that is growing and changing everyday.  Families grow every year because of it. Babies are born into families who almost lost hope of bearing children.  Most of all, it is kicking infertility's trash!!

Note: This post comes from a girl who has studied and learned about the process.  It is from my experience and is stated in my opinion. I am not a doctor.  If you have any questions about the process, please consult with a physician.

 Kelly has been battling infertility for over 5 years.  He and her husband, Will, just moved to South Carolina for work (where one of the leading infertility clinics in the country is located!) Kelly is an adoption advocate as well.  She enjoys writing on her blog,  She is also working at a salon and going to school for graphic design.  And yes, she knows that is a way too much :o)

Picture provided by (permission given by Shannon Slayton)

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