The Beginner’s Guide to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

The Basics of IVF from an Acclaimed Boutique Fertility Clinic

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a complex modern medical procedure and one of the most innovative fertility treatments in practice today. If you face severe fertility challenges on your journey to create a family, IVF may be your key to overcoming them. Infertility struggles are probably more common than you think, affecting about 12% of the population. If you are in need of help, you are most definitely not alone. While the typical success rate of in vitro fertilization cycles across the country is ~22.5%, Lane Fertility Institute achieves a much higher degree of success. The accomplished boutique fertility clinic posts stellar IVF success rates every year. Furthermore, we enjoy educating our patients and the public about the realities of IVF. We explain the basics of in vitro fertilization below with a step-by-step walkthrough of the IVF process

The In Vitro Fertilization Process

IVF is a complex medical procedure that should only be performed by the most experienced fertility health professionals. However, an IVF cycle does not seem so daunting to fertility patients when it is broken down into its distinct parts. Your fertility treatment will begin with initial visits to your local fertility experts for health and financial consultations.

Once you have taken care of these initial meetings and you have made your final decision, IVF pretreatment preparation can begin. During this time, you will undergo comprehensive lab work in order to provide your IVF specialists with a complete understanding of your health. This typically involves a blood panel, several ultrasounds, a uterine health evaluation, and tests for infectious disease. Male fertility tests will also be conducted to ascertain the health of the donor sperm.

After all medical screening has been completed, you are ready to begin your IVF cycle. There five primary steps in the modern in vitro fertilization process, the bulk of which occur in about 3 weeks.

1) Hyperstimulation of the Ovaries

After pretreatment has taken place, the IVF patient will take multiple injections to stimulate the ovary in order to mature multiple eggs at the same time. Typically, the patient will take injectable FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) for 8-11 days, injecting herself daily until her eggs mature. Taking injectable FSH will cause several follicles to mature at a similar rate at the same time.

2) Egg Retrieval

Egg retrieval is a minor surgical procedure that occurs under anesthesia at a sophisticated medical center once the follicles have reached maturity. There is very little risk associated with the egg retrieval process, but the patient should clear their schedule for the day and arrange for a friend or loved one to pick them up afterward. The entire process only takes about 15-20 minutes. During this time frame, an ultra-thin needle is used to extract the follicular fluid through the vaginal wall, which is then examined by an embryologist to find the mature eggs. If you are undergoing IVF with a partner, their semen sample will typically be collected on this day as well.

3) Fertilization

Once the egg retrieval process is complete and the semen sample has been collected, they are combined in a laboratory for natural fertilization. This usually takes place in a small medical dish with the aid of a nutrient fluid, which is then incubated overnight. However, iIntracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be used if the health of the sperm is suboptimal. In this process, one single healthy donor sperm is injected directly into the egg with a sharp glass needle.

4) Embryo Transfer

Once successful IVF fertilization has been confirmed, the embryos are transferred directly into the patient’s uterus. This is done through an opening in the cervix into the uterus with the aid of a catheter. This typically occurs about 3 days after fertilization, and the number of embryos transferred is based on how many were successfully fertilized. Surgery is not needed, but there may be some cervical discomfort following the procedure.

5) Confirming IVF Implantation and Pregnancy

After the embryos are transferred to the patient, two follow-up tests are scheduled in order to confirm implantation. Scheduling may vary, but the first test usually takes place within a few weeks after embryo transfer, and the second will occur one week after that. Once implantation is confirmed with two positive tests, the in vitro fertilization process is complete.

If you are interested in exploring your options for starting a family via IVF treatment, please contact the experts at Lane Fertility Institute today.

Author
Dr. Danielle Lane Danielle E Lane, MD, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist

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