Every married couple wants to have their own children. But unfortunately, some of the couples are deprived of this opportunity because of infertility problems. About 15% of the couple are infertile. Infertility is the inability to conceive & become pregnant after 12 months of even regular, unprotected sex. If a couple doesn’t conceive after a year of effort, it is likely that the husband or the women or both partners are infertile. Infertility affects men & women equally.

What Is Test Tube Baby ?
A test tube is the common name given for “In-Vitro Fertilization” or in short IVF. This is one of the method of artificial reproductive technology. In this method, a baby conceived by fertilization that occurs outside the mother’s body, the woman’s ova are removed & mixed with sperm in a culture medium – If fertilization occurs the embryo is transferred into women’s uterus.

Who Requires Test Tube Baby ?
The main indications of the requirement of test tube baby technique are :

Both Tubes Block :- If a women has got both tubes blocked & if they cannot be repaired, then she has to go in for test tube baby treatment only. If a man has very low sperm count & if all the treatment for him fails, then the couple have to go in for test tube baby treatment along with ICSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection). Artificial Insemination (by husband or donor sperm) fail for 3 to 6 attempts, then the couple may choose test tube baby treatment.

Technique :- 

The steps followed under the IVF treatment are :

  • The ovum or egg being taken from the wife (woman’s) ovary.
  • The ovum is then placed with the husband or donor sperm in a laboratory petridish (test tube).
  • After two or three days the fertilized egg is transferred to the uterus of the wife (woman).
  • The embryo grows in the uterus just like any other normal pregnancy. Rest of the events of pregnancy are identical like any other normal\pregnant lady.

Cost Of IVF :
Usually most of the IVF centres charge about Rs.80,000 or more for one cycle. One may require 1 to 3 cycles to get a child. Hence the total cost of treatment may rise to several lakhs of rupees. This doesn’t include the cost of preliminary check up, Histeroscopy & Laproscopy if necessary.

The Cost Of IVF Includes :

  • Hospital charges, consultations, egg retrival charges, fertilization technique expenses.
  • Cost of blood tests, harmone analysis, Ultrasound scan.
  • Cost of injections & medicines, mainly to stimulate the ovaries to get multiple follicles (eggs) This is the major cost of test tube treatment.
  • Other expenses-personal expenses, travelling , lodging etc.

Success Rate :
Test tube baby treatment is not 100 % successful. Failure may occur at fertilization stage or implantation stage. Abortions can also occur. Considering all these, the success of test tube baby treatment is about 25 to 50 % per cycle. Hence a lady may require one or more treatment cycles successfully to get a child.

Natural Cycle IVF :
A reduction in cost may be obtained by using “Natural Cycle IVF”. This procedure does not employ Ovarian Hyperstimulation; therefore the major expense on the injections used for superovulation is reduced. Natural cycle IVF, also known as “Low stimulation IVF”. It is an invitro fertilization procedure which uses no artificial fertility drugs, or very low dose ones. Since the major cost of IVF is of the Ovarian stimulation drugs, avoiding these drugs will reduce the cost of IVF.

Natural Cycle IVF Has Several Advantages Over Stimulated Cycle IVF :
Natural cycle IVF utilizes the body’s normal ovulation process. Natural cycle IVF can be repeated month after month, if necessary. The cumulative pregnancy rate after 3 cycles will approach or equal the success of stimulated IVF. Complications of hyperstimulation of ovaries is avoided. Therefore, in women whom do not wish to use fertility medications, cannot afford fertility medications ,or who do not produce many eggs even when they use fertility medications- Natural cycle IVF is a logical & often successful alternative.

Conclusion :
IVF technique is a boon to infertility problem. Currently IVF techniques are used successfully to produce offspring in humans. Low cost IVF enables millions of middle class women who are unable to conceive naturally to have children.