Infertility is an all-too-common problem around the world. Struggling with infertility can be heartbreaking for those who want to become parents. Fortunately, modern science presents treatments that can help people on the road to becoming parents. You’ve likely heard of one of these treatments — In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF. This powerful infertility solution has been around for decades. But how, exactly, does it work? There are four basic steps to IVF — ovarian stimulation, egg collection, egg fertilization, and embryo transfer. Let’s take a closer look.
You’ll need to take hormone injections for 7-10 days to promote the development of fluid-filled sacs inside the ovaries, called follicles. Each follicle contains a single egg. Once an ultrasound confirms that there are enough follicles, you’ll receive a Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) injection to promote the final maturation of the eggs inside.
Your medical professional will collect mature eggs using a fine ultrasound-guided needle 34-36 hours after the hCG injection. Light sedation keeps you comfortable while we aspirate the fluid within the follicles.
An embryologist isolates the eggs from the follicle fluid. Collected semen is washed, concentrated, and either placed in a culture dish with the eggs or directly injected into them, a process called Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The eggs are incubated for 12-24 hours before cryopreservation.
Frozen Embryo Transfer
You’ll take medication to prime your endometrium for embryo transfer. At the optimal time, one or more embryos are placed in the uterus via a thin tube, where they can implant naturally. You’ll take a pregnancy test after two weeks.