What is the IVF process?
Our fertility specialists guide you through the following IVF steps:
Consultation, Diagnostic Tests and Orientation: The IVF process begins with a consultation to discuss your goals and help you understand what to expect. This is then followed by diagnostic tests and orientation.
Stimulation: During ovarian stimulation, injectable medications are used to recruit follicles/eggs. Your progress is monitored by blood tests and ultrasounds every 2-3 days. When the follicles appear ready a trigger medication is used to mature the eggs for egg retrieval 2 days later.
Egg Retrieval: Using ultrasound guidance, egg retrieval is a brief surgical procedure where a needle is inserted through the vagina to access the ovaries.
Fertilization: This step can happen in two ways:
a. Standard Insemination: Insemination through IVF refers to incubation of washed sperm with the harvested eggs in a petri dish to allow fertilization. Around 30,000 sperm are incubated per egg and fertilization is allowed to occur “naturally” in the dish.
b. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): A procedure where a single sperm is injected into a single egg. The rate of fertilization of mature eggs is typically 60-70% (i.e. 7/10 mature eggs fertilize).
- Sperm parameters in a semen analysis are low
- Previous failed fertilization with standard insemination IVF
- Embryo biopsy required for genetic testing
- Long duration of unexplained infertility (> 3 years)
- Sperm is surgically extracted directly from the epididymis or testicle
- In the case of low egg numbers
Embryo Culture: Fertilized eggs are cultured in the IVF laboratory until transfer, biopsy or freezing. An intricate balance of gases and culture media choices optimizes outcomes.
Embryo Transfer or Embryo Freeze:
- Embryo Selection: Methods for embryo selection include: Traditional Morphology, Eeva™ and Comprehensive Chromosomal Screening (CCS) and Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS). Read more about the pros, cons and costs of each embryo selection method.
- Embryo Freeze: If you’re not planning to have a baby right away, embryo freezing is an excellent option. Read more about embryo freezing here.
- Tubal disease
- Severe male factor
- Diminished ovarian reserve or advanced egg age
- Long duration of unexplained infertility
- Pre-implantation genetic diagnoses or pre-implantation genetic screening/comprehensive chromosomal screening
- Previous failed treatments such as insemination, tubal surgery