IVF involves removing eggs and sperm from the body, combining them in the laboratory to achieve fertilization, and then transferring the resulting embryos back into the uterus through the cervix. Candidates for IVF include women with tubal disease, unexplained infertility, and male factor infertility, among others.
An IVF cycle involves: Ovulation induction, egg retrieval, fertilization and culture, and embryo transfer.
Ovulation induction involves taking medications to produce several eggs in one cycle. The medication also controls when you ovulate so that we are able to precisely time your egg collection.
Throughout your treatment you will have several ultrasounds to monitor the progress of the stimulation. These ultrasounds will also indicate whether you need an adjustment in your medication or dosage.
When the follicles have matured a physician will remove the eggs from your ovaries. The eggs are retrieved trans-vaginally; A thin needle, guided by ultrasound, is passed through the vaginal wall and into the ovaries. The anesthesiologist ensures that the patient is comfortable during the procedure, which takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes. Recovery usually takes about an hour and a half before going home.
Fertilization and culture
Some of the most important events in your cycle now occur behind the scenes in the laboratory. After the eggs are collected, they are allowed to mature for several hours before sperm are added, usually in the afternoon of your egg retrieval.
Embryos are transferred at either the 8-cell stage (Day 3) or the blastocyst stage (Day 5) of development. We use a very soft catheter to place the embryos in the uterine cavity. The physician placing the embryos uses ultrasound to guide the catheter to the correct place in the uterus. Great care is taken not to traumatize the uterus during this recovery bay at Oregon Reproductive Medicine and then get some bed rest for the next two days at home.
You will likely have many questions about IVF. The doctors and nursing staff will be happy to answer all of them.
These are a few of the most commonly asked questions:
Will my embryos fall out?
The embryos are placed into the uterus, which is like a sandwich with its walls touching. The lining of the uterus consists of many tiny folds in which the embryos nestle until they start to implant. The uterus is a very safe place for your embryos and they will not fall out after the transfer.
How many embryos will be transferred?
The number of embryos that are placed at the time of the embryo transfer depends on many factors: The age of the eggs at the time of egg collection, whether or not the patient has been pregnant before, the quality of the embryos and the stage at which the embryos are transferred. The average number of embryos transferred is two.
Is IVF an option for couples where the man has had a vasectomy?
For some couples IVF is the best treatment option. Sperm is obtained through surgical aspiration of the testes and ICSI is used during the IVF process with the female partner’s eggs.
Do you work with singles or same-sex couples?
Yes, we are supportive of all kinds of families and enjoy working with all of our patients.