In vitro fertilization is a series of procedures to assist infertile couples in conceiving a child. The process involves retrieving mature eggs from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them using sperm in a lab before transferring the fertilized embryo to a womb. Collaborating with qualified physicians like Dr. Susan Wolf in Hasbrouck Heights increases your chances for IVF success by ensuring you remain informed about the process.
What are the steps involved in the IVF cycle?
A complete IVF cycle takes about three weeks. However, various factors, like the need for a sperm or egg donor, may influence the length of the process. The following are the steps to expect during your IVF cycle:
- The first day of your period
The first day of an IVF cycle is day one of your period. This day also represents the first day of your menstrual cycle. Collaborate with a fertility doctor if you are having trouble identifying the first day of your period.
- Stimulation phase
During a normal monthly cycle, your ovaries will release an egg on day one. In an IVF cycle, your doctor will prescribe specific medications that you will take for about one to two weeks to stimulate your ovaries. These medications are in the form of injections. You may need to take one-to-two shots a day for the entire cycle.
The injections contain follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone. You may need transvaginal ultrasounds to monitor your ovaries and developing follicles to help your clinician adjust your medication accordingly.
At the end of the stimulation phase, your fertility nurse will administer a trigger injection. This medication prepares the egg for ovulation.
- Egg retrieval
Your doctor will collect mature eggs from your ovaries during this hospital procedure. Egg retrieval requires the use of anesthesia and ultrasound technology.
- The sperm
The male of the couple will produce sperm on the morning of this step of the IVF cycle. For donor or frozen sperm, the required samples will be ready in the lab. Clinicians use powerful microspores to identify the most viable sperm.
Your fertility doctor will culture the eggs before insemination. Standard IV insemination combines the egg and sperm in a culture dish to allow natural fertilization. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) involves injecting an ideal sperm directly into an individual egg. Your fertility team will place the inseminated egg into a culture incubator to monitor fertilization for at least one day. Fertilization is successful upon the presentation of two pronuclei.
- Embryo development
Your fertility team will monitor fertilized eggs for at least a week by culturing the developing embryo in an incubator with ideal conditions. The cells should duplicate each day for development to be successful.
- Embryo transfer
Your lab technician will place the developed embryo in a catheter and insert it through your cervix into the uterus.
- Pregnancy lab test
Your clinician will schedule a pregnancy lab test at least two weeks after embryo transfer. A pregnancy blood test measures the human gonadotropin hormone (hCG) level. The presence of hCG indicates a positive pregnancy test.
Do not let reproductive complications deter you from getting the family you have always wanted. Contact University Reproductive Associates (URA) to undergo a successful IVF process to achieve your family goals.