The blessing of bringing new life into this world is, without doubt, nature’s most wonderous achievement. The pride and joy a baby brings into the lives of parents is immeasurable, and lasts a lifetime. Sadly, for some, the natural desire to create new life can result in a frustrating emptiness as natural conception fails to give the gift of life.
The name Louise Brown may not mean much to most people. But, on July 25th 1978 Louise Brown, quite literally, gave birth to hope, hope for the thousands of couples across the world that had been unable to conceive a baby. Now in her 43rd year, Louise Brown was the world’s first baby born via in-vitro fertilization, or IVF.
Understanding In-Vitro Fertilization
Louise Brown gained the nickname of being the first “Test Tube Baby”, a term still common today in many parts of the world. In-Vitro Fertilization is in fact the fertilization of the woman’s egg in a glass culture dish under laboratory conditions prior to being reimplanted into the woman’s uterus.
Following the reimplanting of the fertilized egg a simple blood test, around 14 days later, can confirm the woman’s pregnancy. The expectant mother can then be referred to an obstetrician and have her pregnancy monitored in the normal way through to birthing. Since the birth of Louise Brown, there have been more than 8 million IVF babies born across the world, bringing joy and pride to couples that may otherwise never experience nature’s greatest marvel.
Infertility Treatment at Samitivej Hospital
Samitivej Hospital’s embryology laboratory has been designed to exist within a peaceful, serene environment which is conducive to stress free relaxation. The calm, friendly and informal atmosphere, allowing patients to feel relaxed during each visit, is an integral part of the success of the IVF process, and Samitivej Hospital has a success rate of which it can be proud.
The hospital utilizes the most up to date equipment, employs leading physicians in the field who exploit the most modern techniques. They are supported by a highly skilled team of nurses and back up staff. All the medical staff are multi-lingual and, in the unlikely event that it should be required, translators will be provided.
It is important that all prospective parents have a full understanding of the IVF process. With that in mind, at Samitivej Hospital the IVF program is broken down into eight parts for the full, complete clarity and understanding of the patients.
Preparing for Infertility Treatment
During the preparation for fertility treatment patients will be given an initial assessment and consultation with one of Samitivej’s trained professionals. These consultations can take place on site or remotely, which is particularly advantageous to IVF seekers form abroad.
Information will be given on general reproductive health and diseases that can pose a risk to fertility. These consultations would normally be between 3 to 6 months before actual fertility treatment begins. Any existing medical history and reports that a couple have should be made available at this point.
Beginning Infertility Treatment
The woman’s reproductive health will be checked via a transvaginal ultrasound (TVS) examination. Following this, hormone injections program can be decided upon. The dosage and frequency of the injections will be overseen by a senior specialist and assessed on an individual basis. Hormone injections would normally be given at intervals 10-14 days, although this is a flexible time scale and may be extended if there is a failure of ovulation.
Follow Up Hormone Monitoring
Follow up hormone monitoring is a very useful way for the physicians to monitor the performance of the hormone injections. After completion of the prescribed hormone injections the woman can undergo a vaginal ultrasound examination which will indicate follicle size. A blood test will also be done to test hormone levels. The results of this follow up monitoring provides the professionals with invaluable information as to the woman’s response to the hormone injections and as to whether they need to be continued.
Ovum and Sperm Pick-Up
Harvesting an egg, or eggs, takes place in Samitivej’s dedicated operating suite. The woman will be sedated for the process and, on completion, will remain under observation for no less than three hours to ensure that there are no adverse effects of having been anesthetized.
Sperm is also harvested on site in the hospital’s semen collection rooms. This is located close to the embryo laboratory which minimalizes the transfer time. Temperature control is vital, too hot or too cold and the sperms stop swimming, so the close proximity of semen collection room to embryo laboratory is important to the overall efficiency and success of the IVF program.
Preimplantation Genetics Screening (PGS)
Preimplantation Genetics Screening will test the embryo for chromosomal abnormalities prior to being implanted into the woman’s uterus. The test involves taking one or more cells from each embryo. These cells will then be sent to Samitivej’s genetic test laboratory. Hopefully this will show that the embryo is normal and unaffected by disease. It will also show if the embryo is carrying and is affected by disease. On occasions the test may show that an embryo is carrying, but unaffected by disease.
Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)
Samitivej Hospital’s preimplantation genetic diagnostic process is of particular benefit to prospective parents that have specific diseases or disorders which they carry or that run in their families. The diagnostic procedure can pin point the exact nature of any disease that has been detected in an embryo and the possible consequences of it. Specific advice can then be professionally imparted, specific to the individual disease diagnosed.
Endometrial Receptivity Analysis (ERA)
The purpose of an endometrial receptivity analysis is to determine the optimum day for the transfer of the embryo to the woman’s uterus. This is done by taking a small sample of the woman’s endometrial lining of the uterus. This sample is then sent to the hospitals laboratory where a molecular analysis can be undertaken. This will determine the best time for embryo implantation in a future transfer cycle.
The results of the test will show whether the woman is receptive, meaning that the woman is at the ideal time for embryo implantation. If the test shows that she is pre-receptive, then the endometrium is not yet ready to receive the embryo. Should the result be post-receptive it means that the optimum time for embryo implantation has passed.
This procedure will always be undertaken in Samitivej’s dedicated operating suite. One of Samitivej’s skilled physicians will insert a thin tube, or catheter, through the cervix and into the uterus. It is through this catheter that the physician can deposit the embryos into the uterus. The procedure requires no anesthesia and the process would normally not take any longer that 15 minutes and the patient should be discharged withing half an hour.
Samitivej Hospital Fertility Center has helped thousands of couples from across the world realize their dream of raising a family. As a very specialist area of medicine, there can be no doubt that Samitivej Hospital’s IVF team are equal to that of any in the world. No value can be put on the amount of joy and fulfillment that have brought to so many people.