IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a technique where eggs are surgically removed from the ovaries and are combined with sperm outside the body. After a few days, fertilized eggs (embryos) are placed inside the woman’s uterus, thus bypassing the fallopian tubes.
The possibilities of success with an IVF treatment vary from patient to patient. Your physician can best predict the outcome in your case after a complete evaluation. This includes reviewing your history and prior responses to fertility medications, a thorough physical examination and drawing up a plan to prepare for your treatment.
Your costs for IVF will depend on how much medication you will need, any co-morbidity, and other factors. Our staff will work closely with you to help you manage your costs.
Unlike the simpler process of artificial insemination in which sperm is placed in the uterus and conception happens otherwise normally IVF involves combining eggs and sperm outside the body in a laboratory. Once an embryo or embryos form, they are then placed in the uterus. IVF is a complex and expensive procedure.
What Causes of Infertility Can IVF Treat?
- Low sperm counts
- Problems with the uterus or fallopian tubes
- Problems with ovulation
- Antibody problems that harm sperm or eggs
- The inability of sperm to penetrate or survive in the cervical mucus An unexplained fertility problem.
What are the steps in the procedure of IVF?
- The first step in IVF involves injecting hormones so you produce multiple eggs each month instead of only one. You will then be tested to determine whether you’re ready for egg retrieval.
- Prior to the retrieval procedure, you will be given injections of a medication that ripens the developing eggs and starts the process of ovulation. Timing is important; the eggs must be retrieved just before they emerge from the follicles in the ovaries. If the eggs are taken out too early or too late, they won’t develop normally. Your doctor may do blood tests or an ultrasound to be sure the eggs are at the right stage of development before retrieving them. Most women are given pain medication and the choice of being mildly sedated or going under full anesthesia.
- During the procedure, your doctor will locate follicles in the ovary with ultrasound and remove the eggs with a hollow needle. The procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes but may take up to an hour.
- Immediately following the retrieval, your eggs will be mixed in the laboratory with your partner’s sperm, which he will have donated on the same day.
- While you and your partner go home, the fertilized eggs are kept in the clinic under observation to ensure optimal growth. Depending on the clinic, you may even wait up to five days until the embryo reaches a more advanced blastocyst stage.
- Once the embryos are ready, you will return to the IVF facility so doctors can transfer one or more into your uterus. This procedure is quicker and easier than the retrieval of the egg. The doctor will insert a flexible tube called a catheter through your vagina and cervix and into your uterus, where the embryos will be deposited. To increase the chances of pregnancy, most IVF experts recommend transferring up to three embryos at a time. However, this means you could have multiple pregnancies, which can increase the health risks for both you and the babies.