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In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) – process

In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a fertility treatment that involves growing multiple eggs (also known as oo cytes) at once, removing them from the ovaries by a procedure known as an egg retrieval, and fertilizing them with sperm in the IVF laboratory.

An egg that has been fertilized by a sperm is known as an embryo. Embryos are grown for several days outside of the body, and one or more embryos are then placed back  in the uterus in a procedure known as an embryo transfer to achieve pregnancy.  

There are a variety of different protocols in IVF. Your doctor will determine which approach is best for you.  Regardless of the details of your protocol, there are a few consistent stages of an IVF cycle that we will  review here.

  1. 1. Ovarian Stimulation
    1. Ovarian Stimulation

    The ovarian stimulation phase generally begins with the onset of menses (although  there are certain protocols in which this is not the case). The simulation involves taking  2-3 injections per day of medications known as follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and  luteinizing hormone (LH). These medications cause the ovarian follicles (fluid filled  structures containing one egg each) to grow and mature. The ovarian stimulation lasts an  average of 9-12 days, during which time you come to clinic for 5-6 ultrasounds and blood  tests to monitor the progress of follicular growth. The last step in the stimulation phase is  known as the trigger, which gets the eggs inside the follicles ready for retrieval. The next step, the egg retrieval, typically occurs 36 hours after the trigger.

  2. 2. Egg Retrieval
    2. Egg Retrieval

    The egg retrieval is a minimally invasive procedure done at CRH clinic. The procedure is  done using IV sedation administered by anesthesiologist, so you are asleep but breathing  on your own. An REI physician performs the procedure, which involves using a transvaginal  ultrasound to guide a thin needle into each follicle to retrieve the egg inside. The procedure  takes about 30 minutes, and you should be on your way home about 1-2 hours afterwards.  Please plan to take the rest of the day off as you may be quite sleepy from the anesthesia.

  3. 3. Fertilization and Embryo Culture
    3. Fertilization and Embryo Culture

    Retrieved eggs are combined with sperm to create embryos. Our state-of-the-art embryology lab is located on-site at our clinic and staffed by a team of highly trained embryologists.  Embryos are grown in the lab for 3-6 days, at which point one or more embryo(s) can be  transferred back into your uterus, and the remaining embryos are frozen. Alternatively, all  embryos can be frozen for transfer at a later date.

  4. 4. Starting Treatment
    4. Starting Treatment

    During the embryo transfer, a speculum is placed and a small catheter is used to place  the embryo(s) at the top of the uterine cavity under ultrasound guidance. At the CRH, our  transfer rooms are equipped with monitors so that you are able to visualize the embryo(s)  and watch as they are transferred into the uterus. A blood test is done 10-14 days after the  transfer to determine if you are pregnant.