What is In vitro fertilization (IVF)?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) has become the gold standard of fertility treatment options. It provides the highest live birth rate, the lowest risk of pregnancy-related complications and provides the most useful information to guide future treatment efforts.
One benefit of IVF is that it not only provides the highest pregnancy rate, but also the possibility of preserving extra embryos for future attempts. Another advantage to consider with IVF is that it can provide additional information regarding egg and sperm quality – details you can’t learn through any other test. Recent studies have shown that most couples actually save money by moving to IVF treatments, instead of the old standard of ovulation induction and intrauterine insemination (OI/IUI), which can take several tries. (FASTT Trial, Reindollar et al; F&S 2008)
IVF involves stimulating the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, then removing the eggs to combine with carefully selected sperm. Then, we observe the fertilized embryos until they have reached the stage when they are ready to either be frozen for later use or transferred back into the uterus to become a healthy pregnancy. At Conceptions, planning your cycle is a critical step, but don’t worry, we only order the tests that are necessary to individualize your IVF treatment plan. Once we get those results, you’ll meet with your doctor to discuss your options.
The IVF Process
in 5 Steps
During this phase, you’ll take a combination of medications dependent on your pre-cycle test results and medical history, and you will be monitored by both ultrasound and blood tests to optimize ovarian response.
This phase could take several weeks, but you’ll visit the clinic regularly for observation.
When the follicles have matured, we will schedule you with one of our physicians to have your egg retrieval.
While you're under anesthesia, a thin needle is used with ultrasound guidance to pass through the vaginal wall and into your ovaries. Each follicle is drained to recover as many mature eggs as you produced.
The entire process takes only 20-30 minutes, and you'll be able to go home that same day.
After your eggs have been collected, our experienced team gets to work. While your eggs are given several hours to complete their maturation process, our team prepares the sperm.
Later that same day, each mature egg is fertilized by a carefully selected sperm. The sperm is injected, and within 24 hours we will notify you how many eggs were successfully fertilized – meaning the sperm's DNA and the egg's DNA have combined and activated.
For the next 5-6 days, your embryos will be nurtured to ensure that as many as possible grow and develop to the blastocyst stage.
Embryo Testing and Freezing
Embryos that grow to the blastocyst stage have the minimal characteristics necessary to potentially implant. Additional preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy (PGT-A) can help determine which embryos are more likely to become a healthy child.
Our embryo screening is the best of the best – we use Igenomix Aneuploidy Screening using next-generation Sequencing.
When an abnormal embryo is identified, this test tells us whether that error came from the egg, the sperm, or even both – incredibly helpful information when creating your future treatment plans. Every embryo that has been biopsied will then be frozen using an ultra-rapid process called vitrification.
Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
Studies show that pregnancies are healthier after a frozen transfer than a fresh transfer, and have demonstrated less pre-delivery bleeding during pregnancy, a lower risk of pre-term birth, decreased risk for low birth weight and a lower infant mortality rate.
We believe that by splitting the retrieval from the embryo transfer, your uterus is a better environment for implantation and creates a healthy placenta to nourish your baby.