What is IVF?
IVF Doctor Tina Koopersmith
If you're doing your research about infertility treatments, you've likely heard about In Vitro Fertilization or IVF, as it is the most effective treatment fertility experts utilize to help women conceive (see IVF success rates).
To better understand how the IVF process works , let’s start by defining the difference between “in vivo” and “in vitro.”
Normally, women conceive "in vivo," or in the body through natural conception. For the past 40 years, women who have experienced infertility have turned to IVF to help them get pregnant, which is done "in vitro," or in a laboratory.
How IVF Works
IVF is the process of combining the eggs and the sperm in a laboratory to create embryos. Once the embryos are created and carefully assessed, the best embryo (or embryos) is placed into the uterus through a woman’s cervix.
While IVF is used by all fertility doctors, your specific infertility circumstances are unique to you. At West Coast Women’s Reproductive Center, we customize your IVF process to your individual needs and desires.
If you have decided to move forward with IVF treatment, your treatment begins with ovarian stimulation, which involves taking fertility drugs to help your ovaries grow eggs.
Egg Fertilization and Retrieval
With your natural cycle, follicles may start to grow but only one follicle (egg) reaches maturity during ovulation. When we stimulate your ovaries with fertility medications, our fertility experts are able to tell the woman’s body to release multiple eggs.
These fertility medications are usually given as injections for an average of eight to twelve days. In addition to taking fertility medications that help the eggs grow, you will also need to take a medication to prevent the eggs from ovulating prematurely.
At this stage of the IVF process, you will also visit the fertility clinic frequently to undergo ultrasounds to ensure the ovary is responding and that your eggs are growing. At these visits, boods tests to measure your hormone levels are also done.
After taking your fertility medications, the next step is egg retrieval. Before retrieving your eggs, you will go under anesthesia at one of our top-notch surgery centers with state-of-the-art technology. Our highly-skilled team will assist in retrieving your eggs and immediately transferring them to the IVF laboratory where sperm is used for fertilization. Statistically, around 70% to 80% of the eggs retrieved are expected to fertilize.
Over the next three to five days, the fertilized embryos will develop in an incubator. On day three and five, we will carefully analyze the embryos for their appearance, their cell count and if they are fragmented or if they expanded. We then choose the best embryo(s) for transfer into your uterus.
The final step of the IVF process is the embryo transfer, which is done on day three or day five after the egg retrieval process, or in the following month. The embryo transfer is done right at our fertility clinic and does not require anesthesia. However, antibiotics and anti-inflammatory pills are prescribed for the four days leading up to the embryo transfer as a precautionary measure.
To you, the embryo transfer process feels similar to having a pap smear. First, a speculum is inserted into the vagina. Next, the cervix is cleaned and then an atraumatic catheter carrying the embryos is inserted through the cervix. To ensure the best placement, we recommend the insertion of an introducer catheter and then afterload a second catheter with the embryo. During the embryo transfer, we will use abdominal ultrasound guidance to watch the catheter insertion.
How many embryos are transferred depends on factors such as age, the appearance of the embryos, and how many IVF cycles you have done before.
You will relax after the transfer is completed, and then you will be on your way!
The IVF Specialists
Our IVF doctors are here to help you understand every part of the IVF process, and we are here to answer any and all of your questions.
The doctors and staff will review the consent form, which includes options such as conventional IVF and ICSI, assisted hatching, and preimplantation screening to count the chromosome of the baby and to determine gender, among other topics. The staff will also review insurance coverage, financial options and IVF costs. We are always happy to share our success stories. Together, well find a way.
Together We'll Find A Way
The entire team at West Coast Women’s Reproductive Center will be in close contact with you every step along the way. We will answer all of your questions and give you a tremendous amount of support to ensure that your health and well-being is taken care throughout the entire IVF process.
We look forward to meeting you, learning about you, and helping you to be healthy and happy. To schedule an appointment you can call the West Coast Women's Reproductive Center at (818) 616-9277 or make an appointment online.