In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an assistive reproductive technology used to help you expand your family. It involves taking eggs from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm outside the body to make an embryo. This embryo can then be transferred to the woman’s uterus.
This process can be used in many different scenarios – whether you're using your own eggs and your partner’s sperm, donor eggs and donor sperm, or even donor embryos. Whichever route is best for you, here at the Center for Human Reproduction, our infertility specialists Norbert Gleicher, MD, FACOG, FACS, and David Barad, MD, MS, FACOG, can help you achieve pregnancy. Together, our team has helped more than 18,000 patients achieve their goal.
Because IVF can be such an overwhelming process, we’ve made a list of things you should know before you get started on your journey to achieving pregnancy.
Who is a good candidate for IVF?
If you’re struggling with infertility – meaning you’ve been trying to get pregnant for at least a year – you can qualify for IVF. You can also consider IVF if you’re trying to avoid the risk of passing on certain genetic disorders to your child since lab testing can detect these abnormalities.
You also want to make sure you’re in good health before starting IVF treatments. If you have diabetes, are obese, or struggle with any other chronic conditions, we need to make sure these are under control before starting your IVF journey.
You can make lifestyle adjustments like achieving a healthy weight, quitting smoking, and limiting alcohol consumption to increase your likelihood of getting pregnant through IVF.
What the IVF process is like
There are five steps to the IVF process at the Center for Human Reproduction. They are as follows:
At the beginning of IVF, we prescribe medication for you that prevents the development of any ovarian cysts and helps regulate your menstrual cycle. These medications can include birth control or estrogen.
Usually, you only produce one egg during your menstrual cycle. However, for the IVF process, you need multiple eggs to increase your chances of having a viable embryo. You receive fertility drugs in order to produce multiple mature eggs.
Egg retrieval and fertilization
During a surgical procedure, our team removes eggs from your ovaries with a small suctioning needle we insert into your vagina. After the eggs are retrieved, we place them in a dish and inject the mature eggs with sperm so they can be fertilized.
Whether you’re using your own embryos or donor embryos, the transfer process is the same. A speculum is placed in your vagina, and a thin tube goes through your cervix into your uterus where the embryo is released. This whole process takes about 10 minutes.
Pregnancy happens when the embryo implants itself into the lining of your uterus. About 9-14 days after the embryo transfer, we perform a blood test to detect if you are pregnant.
These steps may vary depending on your age or your unique medical history, but our providers can tailor a plan that’s specific to you and what you need.
IVF can be emotionally and physically draining, so it’s important to know what goes into the process before you get started.
To learn more about IVF, and to find out if you’re a good candidate for the procedure, contact our team to get more information. Simply call us at 626-385-7918 or click here to book a virtual consultation today.