How IVF Works
The IVF process takes several steps:
1.) Ovulation Induction: The first step is taking medications to produce several eggs in one cycle. Throughout your cycle, you will have several ultrasounds and blood tests to determine how well the stimulating medications are working. Everyone reacts differently to medications, so every step is staffed with Dr. Henry for direction and next steps.
2.) Egg Retrieval and Fertilization: Next, the physician surgically removes the eggs. When the follicles have matured, you will be instructed to give yourself an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). About 36 hours later, the physician will remove the eggs from your ovaries. A vaginal ultrasound is used to locate the follicles and guide the needle used for egg collection. The needle is inserted through the wall of the vagina, into the ovary and follicles to aspirate the eggs.
3.).Fertilization and Embryo Culture: The Embryologist combines the eggs and sperm in the IVF lab. If fertilization occurs, the Embryologist will incubate the fertilized eggs and monitor their development.
4.) Embryo Transfer: The embryos are transferred to the uterus for implantation into the lining of the uterus. Approximately 9 days after the transfer, you will take a blood pregnancy test. A positive result means the embryo has implanted into the lining of the uterus.
5.) Frozen Embryo Transfer: Frozen embryo transfer can offer a couple another chance to conceive without undergoing another complete ART procedure. In a typical IVF cycle, more embryos are produced than can be transferred. Couples can choose to have the extra embryos frozen or cryopreserved. When the couple is ready to try for pregnancy again, these embryos can be thawed and transferred into the uterus without having to undergo ovarian stimulation and the surgical procedures necessary for IVF.
An IVF cycle takes about 7 weeks from the start of the cycle to the pregnancy testing. To begin preparing for an IVF cycle, you will start taking the birth control pill. This allows your cycle to be controlled in preparation for the ovarian stimulation medications.
PGT (Preimplantation Genetic Testing)
Both preimplantation genetic testing (PGM) and preimplantation genetic screening (PGT-A) are laboratory procedures designed to allow testing of embryos prior to implantation so that couples can significantly lower their chance of having a child affected by certain genetic conditions. PGT-A applies when one or both of the genetic parents carry a genetic mutation (an abnormal change in a gene) and testing is performed to determine if a specific hereditary disease (from that gene mutation) has been transmitted to their embryo. PGT-M applies to couples who are known or presumed to be genetically normal but wish to screen their embryos for a genetic abnormality known as an euploidy.
Intracytoplasmic Injection (ICSI)
ICSI may be recommended when there is a reason to suspect that achieving fertilization may be difficult. ICSI is most often used with couples who are dealing with male infertility factors. Male infertility factors can include any of the following: low sperm counts, poor motility or movement of the sperm, poor sperm quality, sperm that lack the ability to penetrate an egg. ICSI involves the direct injection of sperm into eggs obtained from IVF. For men who have low sperm count or sperm with low mobility, the sperm may be collected through normal ejaculation. If the man has had a vasectomy, the micro surgical vasectomy reversal is the most cost-effective option for restoring fertility. Needle aspiration or microsurgical sperm retrieval are good alternatives when a competent microsurgical vasectomy reversal has failed, or when the man refuses surgery. Needle aspiration allows physicians to easily and quickly obtain adequate numbers of sperm for the ICSI procedure.