In-vitro fertilization, or IVF, is an in-demand and highly successful form of fertility treatment. IVF accounts for a staggering 99% of fertility treatment procedures and has a success rate of 50% (live birth rate) for women under the age of 35.
At University Reproductive Associates, with offices in Hasbrouck Heights, Wayne, and Hoboken, New Jersey, our fertility experts offer IVF as a path forward for single individuals who want a child, those in same-sex partnerships or marriages, as well as heterosexual couples who are having difficulty trying to become pregnant.
The 10 steps to IVF
IVF has several predictable steps that must be completed in order and on time for the process to have a chance of success.
1. Candidate evaluation
First, we talk to you (and your partner, if you have one) to discuss why you want IVF, what challenges you have faced, and your goals. That helps us understand your specific situation, and if you’ll be seeking an egg donor, sperm donor, or surrogate as part of your IVF journey.
2. Health and genetic screening
If you or your partner will be carrying the baby, we review all the health risks. We may also do genetic testing to make sure you and your partner are compatible and evaluate sperm samples if necessary. For women, a hysterosonography may be indicated to check for any abnormalities in the uterus. We recommend it if there has been a history of miscarriage.
3. Ovary stimulation and egg maturation
The next step is triggering the egg donor’s ovaries to release as many eggs as possible and to help those eggs mature through follicular ripening. We accomplish ovulation induction and follicle ripening with a series of hormone treatments conducted at regular intervals over 7-10 days starting a few days into the donor’s menstrual period.
4. Egg retrieval
When the follicle has ripened and the eggs have matured, we’ll collect the eggs with a fine aspiration needle and prepare them for fertilization. Some individuals choose to freeze their eggs for a later time. That is common for women who are getting older but haven’t chosen to have children yet, or for those with an illness or disease endangering their reproductive system.
5. Egg preparation
Now we are at the phase of IVF for which the process is named. In-vitro means in glass. We place the eggs in a glass dish and check each one to make sure it looks healthy and is without defects.
There are two ways we can fertilize the eggs. We can just add sperm to the glass dish and allow fertilization to happen as a matter of course. Or, we can inject the sperm directly into the egg using a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
7. Embryonic monitoring
We don’t immediately transfer the fertilized into the uterus. Instead, we wait for healthy embryos to form, starting the day after the fertilization process is complete. Any eggs that fail to develop into embryos are discarded.
8. Preimplantation testing
Between days five and seven after fertilization, we can perform genetic testing on each embryo and look for any potential issues. That is recommended if there is any history of genetic disease in any relations, if there is a history of miscarriage, or if any participant in the process is known to be the carrier for a gene that can cause a congenital defect or disease.
9. Embryo implantation
If no genetic testing is required, the transfer of embryos into the uterus is completed on day five after fertilization. If genetic testing is performed, the transfer is completed as soon as we know which embryos are free of genetic concerns. If there are many embryos, we’ll discuss how many should be implanted and may freeze any unused embryos in case further attempts are needed.
10. Pregnancy testing
Finally, pregnancy testing can be done as early as two weeks after the embryos have been implanted, although it may be a little longer before it will be clear how many embryos are on track to develop into fetuses. We will be with you every step of the way.
To learn more about the IVF process and determine if it’s right for you, talk to our specialists at University Reproductive Associates.
If you’ve had trouble conceiving, or have any other reasons for wanting to try IVF, you can schedule a consultation at URA by calling 201-288-6330 for an appointment at the location closest to you or visit our contact page for more options.