In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
What is IVF?
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the most widely used assisted reproductive technology. IVF is the process of fertilization by manually combining an egg and sperm in a sterile laboratory environment. With the IVF procedure, doctors can bypass common causes of male and female infertility and help women achieve pregnancy.
Am I ready to start a Family using IVF?
If you’ve been trying to conceive for at least 1 year without success (or at least 6 months if you are over 35), it’s time to seek help from the experts. The doctors and staff at Arkansas Fertility and Gynecology are here to guide you through the process and help you reach your goal…getting pregnant!
Knowledge is Power
Undergoing IVF treatment is a very emotional experience. There’s a lot riding on one procedure. That’s why learning all you can about In Vitro Fertilization is important to put your mind at ease—so you can focus on getting pregnant and adding to your family. Below you will find a breakdown of the entire process from start to finish.
One of the physicians at Arkansas Fertility & Gynecology will preform a detailed medical history and physical exam to determine whether or not IVF is a good choice for you. We will review all relevant medical records and previous infertility treatments before we begin our assessment your ovarian reserve. After various tests and evaluations, we will perform a trial embryo transfer procedure to make sure there will be no difficulty placing the embryos in the uterine cavity. Our physicians will also conduct a comprehensive semen analysis on the male to determine if he has adequate sperm for the IVF procedure. Finally, you and your partner will meet with your IVF nurse to review the stimulation protocol and receive instructions on how to administer the fertility drugs.
Step 1- Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation
You’ll begin your IVF journey by starting fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The stimulatory drugs are usually given for 7-10 days. During this time, you will return to the office every few days for blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor the response of the ovaries. When these tests indicate the eggs are mature, you’ll be given an injection of hCG (Ovidrel) to induce final maturation of the eggs.
Step 2- Egg Retrieval
Approximately 36 hours after the Ovidrel injection, we will retrieve the eggs transvaginally under ultrasound guidance. This procedure is performed in our clinic under intravenous (IV) conscious sedation. You will be heavily sedated, but not asleep. You should experience no pain during this procedure. The egg retrieval usually takes about 30 minutes to complete. Afterwards, you will recover for about two hours before going home. You will start progesterone supplementation the following day.
Step 3- Fertilization of the eggs and embryo culture
We will need a sperm sample from your spouse shortly after the egg retrieval. The sperm and eggs are then mixed together in our laboratory and incubated overnight. The next morning, we will evaluate the eggs for signs of fertilization. On average, approximately 60-70% of the eggs will fertilize normally. The fertilized eggs are then placed in new culture media and placed back in the incubator where they will remain until the day of embryo transfer.
Step 4- Embryo Transfer
Embryos are transferred either on the 3rd or the 5th day after the egg retrieval. Embryo transfer is usually a painless procedure and does not require any sedation. The embryos are loaded in a small catheter, which is placed through the cervix and into the uterine cavity. The number of embryos that are transferred depends on several factors including the embryo quality and the age of the woman. Your IVF physician will discuss this with you and together you will make an informed decision as to the number of embryos to transfer. In our program, we typically transfer 1-2 embryos. Any additional embryos may be frozen for later use. After you are discharged, we recommend bed rest for the next two days.
Step 5- Follow Up
After two weeks, we will preform a pregnancy test to see if implantation has occurred. Hopefully, you will have a positive result and it will be time to start preparing for your little miracle.