How Does IVF Work?
During an In Vitro Fertilisation procedure, the eggs are collected from the woman and fertilised with sperm in a medical laboratory (in vitro).
In vitro fertilisation differs from artificial insemination treatments, where sperm is placed inside the uterus and conception is expected to take place naturally. With IVF, the differentiator is that the eggs and sperm fuse before being placed in the uterus.
The factors that influence a couple’s chance of falling pregnant are vast and include your age and the cause of your infertility. While one full cycle of IVF treatments can take around three weeks, sometimes it has to be subdivided and it can take longer. Sometimes more than one cycle has to be completed.
When Is IVF Recommended?
IVF is usually the first course of treatment for women over the age of 40 who want to conceive. It may also be recommended if you have one of the following health conditions
- Damage to or blockages in the fallopian tubes
- Ovarian fibroids
- Low sperm count
- Tubal ligation
- Ovulation disorders
- Unexplained fertility issues
What Can A Physiotherapist Do To Help The IVF Process?
Research into the effects of a certain technique of physical therapy has been found to be effective at helping women who had problems conceiving increase their rate of falling pregnant.
- 60% of women who had experienced infertility because of blocked fallopian tubes fell pregnant
- 53% of women who had experienced infertility because of polycystic ovarian syndrome fell pregnant
- 40% of women who had high levels of follicle-stimulating hormone, an indicator of ovarian failure fell pregnant
- 43% of women with fertility problems due to endometriosis fell pregnant
In patients who were undergoing the IVF process, between 56 and 83% of women conceived after receiving physical therapy. This is in contrast to 7% of women over 40 and 52.7% of women under 35 undergoing IVF according to CDC data from 2019.
What Are The Chances Of In Vitro Fertilisation Success?
Age is typically considered to be the single most important factor affecting the successful outcome of IVF treatment. However other factors should also be considered:
- Whether you have had a live birth in the past
- What the cause of your infertility is
- Your ovarian test results
- The strategy that you are following
How Does IVF Work With Physical Therapy?
Physical therapy is beneficial for infertility that is caused by internal scars. These internal scars develop when the body recovers from trauma, illness, infection, inflammation and endometriosis.
The scars or lesions can cause blockages in the fallopian tubes, develop in the uterine walls and compromise blood flow to the reproductive organs.
During physical therapy, a physiotherapist can manipulate your pelvis and its internal organs, breaking down scar tissue and encouraging blood flow to the area. Physical manipulation is good for your body’s hormone regulation as well as the internal organs.
Because physical therapy is a minimally invasive technique, it’s recommended for women to try it out before resorting to the IVF process, which consists of time-consuming and expensive services.
Other Benefits Of Physiotherapy And Fertility
Going through fertility problems and undergoing IVF are stressful processes, and we all carry stress in the body. Maintaining optimal physical health can help to safeguard you against stress, no matter what stage of fertility treatment you might be in.
When you do become pregnant, a physiotherapist can help you with posture and ergonomics.
You’ll need to maintain strength and flexibility when you conceive, which can be difficult when your centre of gravity changes.
As your body grows with a developing baby, aches, sprains and strains become more common.
Having a physio on your treatment can help to ease some of the physical side effects of pregnancy.
Why Alternative Therapies Should Be Considered?
IVF treatments are time-consuming and expensive and can cause a lot of stress for the expecting couple. Things don’t always go to plan, and the more stressed you become, the lower your chances of conceiving become.
The IVF process carries its own set of risks including
- A high chance of multiple pregnancies
- A chance of low birth weight and premature delivery
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Birth defects
- Not getting a successful result, which can affect your psycho-emotional state.
Some of the side effects of IVF services include abdominal pain, tender breasts, fatigue, nausea, headaches and irritability. Some patients have adverse reactions to IVF medication such as difficulty breathing, nausea and vomiting, hot flashes and sleep disturbances.
To learn more about ‘how does IVF work’ or whether physiotherapy could benefit your fertility concern, it’s best to speak to a professional. Please contact us for an appointment: (02) 9884 9300.
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