Step-By-Step Guide to the IVF Process

IVF Process

In vitro fertilization (IVF), one of the most popular fertility treatments is likely to be at the top of your list.

IVF has been around for decades. You probably already know the basics of IVF. It involves the union of egg and sperm in culture. There’s much more to IVF than that. Let’s take a look at IVF in five steps.

IVF is used commonly to treat:

  • Women over 50 with fertility problems
  • Fallopian tubes blocked or damaged in women with a history of obstructed fallopian tubes
  • Endometriosis is a condition that affects women who are pregnant.
  • Low sperm count or blockage can cause male infertility

Five steps to the IVF process

Superovulation can boost your egg production

The National Institutes of Health will give you fertility drugs that will initiate a process called stimulation or superovulation. Follicle-stimulating hormone, also known as Follicle Stimulating Hormone, will stimulate your body to produce more eggs than the usual one per month.

You have a better chance of fertilization success if you have more eggs.

Transvaginal ultrasounds will be performed on a regular basis. These tests are used to monitor hormone levels and check your ovaries.

Take out the eggs

You will receive a hormone injection a little over a day before your eggs are due to be removed from your body. This will allow your eggs to mature quickly.

You will then have a minor surgery called follicular aspiration to remove the eggs. According to the NIH, this is usually done in an outpatient setting at your fertility clinic.

Your doctor will use an ultrasound to guide the thin needle through your vagina into your ovaries. It has a device attached that pulls out the eggs one at a while.

Don’t be afraid if this sounds unpleasant. You’ll likely be prescribed medication before you start to feel discomfort.

Donate sperm to your partner

Your partner will give you a sample of sperm while your eggs are being taken. Donor sperm may also be available. To find the best sperm, they are put through a spin cycle and high-speed wash.

Combine sperm with eggs

This is the part of IVF everyone knows the best — combing the best sperm and the best eggs. Insemination is the final stage.

A sperm can take several hours to fertilize an egg. You may have your doctor inject the sperm directly into an egg. This is termed as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

Transfer the embryo(s), into your uterus

After your eggs are collected, you will be given another medication. This medication is used to prepare your uterus for the embryos to be transferred into your body.

Your doctor will place the embryos into your uterus with a catheter approximately three to five working days after fertilization. This part of IVF, like step three, is done in your doctor’s office while the rest of IVF takes place.

In the hope that at least one embryo will become implanted in your uterus, multiple embryos are transferred to you. Multiple embryos can sometimes implant, which is why IVF is so popular among women.

The IVF process is basically a reproduction of natural reproduction. The pregnancy test is the next step in the IVF process. This will determine if the procedure was successful.

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