In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample and manually combining the two in a laboratory. Once the eggs are fertilized, they are transferred back into the woman’s uterus in hopes of having a successful pregnancy.
IVF hormone injections and the retrieval process
Daily hormone injections are required to control the menstrual cycle and encourage multiple eggs to grow simultaneously. A fertility specialist will perform an ultrasound to determine when the eggs are mature and ready for retrieval. When the eggs are ready, the woman is placed under twilight sleep or IV sedation for the retrieval procedure.
IVF fertilization process
Once the eggs are collected, sperm from a male partner or sperm donor is collected, analyzed and washed from the semen. Next, the best quality sperms are injected into the best quality eggs. The fertilized eggs, or embryos, will grow in a laboratory for three to five days and be closely monitored by a skilled specialist.
IVF implantation process
Once the embryos are growing well, one or two are implanted inside the female’s uterus. A period of rest is usually recommended following the implantation procedure to increase the chance of the embryo implanting itself to the uterine wall.
Depending on your specific situation, IVF can be a four- to six-week commitment that requires daily injections and regular visits to Reproductive Gynecology & Infertility for blood work. The blood work, which comes after the transfer procedure, measures HCG levels. HCG is a hormone made when a women becomes pregnant that can be detected even before a missed period. If an IVF implantation is successful, HCG levels will double every two to three days. Progesterone injections may be required for many weeks after implantation, up to the first trimester. The egg retrieval process during IVF removes the cells that would naturally create progesterone after ovulation. Progesterone injections are needed to help thicken the uterine lining and prepare the woman’s body to support the embryo.
If you are under the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive for 12 consecutive months or are over the age of 35 and have been trying to conceive for 6 consecutive months, it’s important to know your options. To learn more about getting started with IVF, contact the reproductive specialists at Reproductive Gynecology & Infertility today at 866-537-2461. We are here to help you build your long-awaited family.