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IVF And Hormones
Useful information about "IVF And Hormones".
In Vitro Fertilization is a technique of assisted reproduction, which is largely used to aid in the conception. In Vitro Fertilization is helpful in cases of a blocked fallopian tube, cervical mucus problem, endometriosis or some forms of male infertility like low sperm count or erectile dysfunction. This technique of fertilization is also useful in older couples. Hormones play a critical role in the process of In Vitro Fertilization.
Hormones and In Vitro Fertilization
Hormones are not used in all cases of In Vitro Fertilization. Hormones are required when there is a need to stimulate the ovarian follicles to release the egg. When hormonal support is provided for stimulation of ovulation in IVF, the cycles are referred to as ‘Stimulated Cycles’. If however, ovulation takes place naturally, (i.e. when the technique is used for male causes of infertility or some forms of female infertility), the cycles are referred to as ‘Natural or un stimulated Cycles’.
Here are a few hormones and drugs that are used to stimulate ovulation:
• Clomiphene Citrate: A drug which is used to stimulate the production of Follicle stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Lutenizing Hormone (LH), which aid in the growth and maturation of ovarian follicles.
• Gonadotrophin Release Hormone Agonist: These drugs tend to have a dual action. During the first few days on intake, they help in the stimulation of the ovaries to release the vital hormones. However, when prescribed for longer durations, they result in a negative feed back and can suppress the production of certain hormones.
• Follicle Stimulating Hormone: This hormone therapy is used to increase the production of ovarian follicles by the ovaries. More the number of ovums, more the number of fertilized embryos and hence, greater the chance of pregnancy. This hormone is used to produce multiple eggs, which are then artificially fertilized and re-implanted into the uterus.
• Human Chorionic Gonadotropin: An injectable hormone is used for the maturation of the follicles. HCG injections are timed, depending upon the size of the follicle. When the size of the follicle reaches 18mm, the injection is given after which the ovum is released within 36 hours. This injection is used just prior to collecting the ovum for artificial insemination.
• Progesterone: This hormone can be taken orally or in the form of intramuscular injections. This hormone is given after ovulation to assist the implantation of the embryos on the endometrial walls. This hormone thickens the walls of the uterus, which aids in implantation of the embryo.
• Bromocriptine: A drug which is given in patients with elevated levels of prolactin. The hormone prolactin interferes with the ability of the female to ovulate and hence, this drug is given to control the levels of this hormone.
In Vitro Fertilization: Why Hormones are used?
In the process of In Vitro Fertilization, mature ovum or eggs are recovered from the female and are artificially fertilized using the sperms from the male partner or donor. After fertilization, the embryo is stored in a culture medium for a few days before it is implanted into the uterus. This procedure is very expensive and the conception rates vary from 25 to 50 %.
Hormonal therapy is essential to ensure that maximum numbers of eggs are formed, so that more number of eggs are fertilized and this increases the chances of conception significantly.