In the US today, close to 1% of all babies are born through IVF and this is not considering that thousands of babies have been born worldwide in this manner. Chances are that if you’re successful with IVF, your child will most likely have schoolmates who were conceived the same way. If you’re like most people though, you may be wondering “what is IVF?”
What is In Vitro Fertilization IVF?
IVF basically means the fertilization of the egg and sperm outside the body. Your infertility doctor can accomplish this by first having you take daily injections that will help produce hopefully around 10-15 eggs, depending on your profile. Although the thought of injecting yourself may scare you, most everyone learns how to self-inject after some instruction.
How does In Vitro Fertilization IVF work?
Your infertility doctor will then monitor the rate of growth of the follicles (the sac that contains the egg) via ultrasounds. Once the follicles are noted to be anywhere between 18-22mm, the eggs are then matured via a separate injection given called hCG. The time of hCG administration is critical since ovulation will occur anywhere between 36-42 hours after the hCG was given. Your clinical coordinator will tell you specifically at what time to take the medication.
Does In Vitro Fertilization IVF require surgery?
Right before you are expected to ovulate, your infertility doctor will then extract the eggs from the ovaries usually with a needle placed through vagina while you are anesthetized. The eggs are placed in a Petri dish and fertilized with sperm. The embryos are grown and cultivated in an incubator usually for either three days or five days. A few of the embryos are then transferred back into the uterine cavity by placing a speculum like a regular pap smear and passing a catheter through the cervical canal and into the uterus.
What happens to unused embryos during IVF?
If there are any embryos that were not transferred back, then most laboratories will attempt to freeze and store them for later use. Most of the time, if you do not deliver a baby after the first attempt, then the second time you can simply thaw a few of the frozen embryos and have these transferred back without having to undergo the whole IVF process. But say you do get pregnant and deliver a child after the first attempt and you have frozen embryos, these embryos can be thawed at a later date and transferred back into your uterine cavity to provide a sibling for your child.
How long is the IVF process?
The whole process takes 4 to 6 weeks. If this process sounds complicated, you will be guided every step of the way and a detailed daily calendar will be provided to you by your center to help make the process a lot easier.
Does In Vitro Fertilization IVF increases the changes of multiples?
This depends on the amount of embryos that are transferred during the process. It's best to talk to your Doctor to ensure that ASRM regulations are followed which provides guidelines to how many embryos to transfer.
This information was provided by Dr. Rudy Quintero, a Reproductive Endocrinologist and founder of C.A.R.E. Fertility Fertility in Los Angeles ["i"]>