Women who are considering IVF may feel nervous or overwhelmed. This is an exciting time and the prospects of starting a family can be a dream come true for many people. While IVF doesn’t guarantee a healthy pregnancy, this is an opportunity for woman who wouldn’t ordinarily be able to conceive.
Once the decision has been made to start IVF, the woman will alert the fertility clinic as soon as menstruation starts. After 2-3 days, an appointment will be setup for an ultrasound and blood work. Once this has been completed, a birth control pill will be given for two weeks and after that the in-home shots start. These hormone stimulants are used to help the body produce mature eggs.
Typically, egg retrieval is performed in the clinic around 24-36 hours following the last injection and prior to ovulation. During the procedure, the woman is sedated and given pain medication. An ultrasound probe is inserted into the woman’s vagina to help the doctor locate the follicles. A fine needle is then inserted to capture the eggs; which takes around 20 minutes to remove several eggs. Some women feel mild cramping after egg retrieval.
If a woman is using her partner’s semen, then a sample can be provided at the clinic. If necessary, sperm can be retrieved directly from the testicles using a needle or surgical procedure. Sperm from a donor may also be used. There are several methods that can be used with TESE and TESA being the most common.
There are two main methods of fertilization. The most common is insemination. During this procedure, mature eggs and healthy sperm are combined and incubated for several hours. The other method is intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). For this procedure, sperm is injected directly into the eggs.
Embryo transfer takes place at the fertility clinic between two and six days after egg retrieval. The transfer is usually painless, although usually the woman will be given a mild sedative. The physician will insert a fine tube into the uterus. There is a syringe attached to the end of the tube which contains one or two embryos. These are placed in the uterus.
A successful embryo transfer will implant within two to three days. Some women experience breast tenderness, mild cramping, and constipation after transfer. Women who experience severe pain should seek medical advice. This process has been used successfully for more than 40 years and improvements in technology are being made regularly.