In vitro fertilization (IVF) in the simplest sense is fertilization of a woman's egg cell outside of her body. It was originally developed as a way to allow women with blocked or absent fallopian tubes to become pregnant. This critically timed, carefully coordinated procedure involves removing the mature eggs from a woman's ovary, fertilizing them with sperm, incubating the resulting embryos in a laboratory dish under carefully monitored conditions, then transferring the developing embryo or embryos into the woman's uterus with hopes of establishing implantation.
The first successful IVF procedure was performed in England in 1978. Since then, IVF and other procedures associated with assisted reproductive technologies have become an integral part of infertility treatment, providing new hope to couples who have been unable to conceive otherwise.
At The New Hope Center, patients can take comfort in knowing that they're in good hands. Dr. Robin and her team have performed more than X cycles over the past 16 1/2 years and the center's success rates are well above national averages.
Before the start of an IVF cycle, both partners will have a series of medical tests including screening for infectious disease, male semen analysis, and a catheter-fitting for the female. Often the female partner will be started on birth control pills to regulate her menstrual cycle and to facilitate scheduling.
Injected ovarian-stimulating medications are used for approximately two weeks to cause the maximum number of egg cells to mature and become available for collection. During this time, frequent ultrasound examinations and blood tests are necessary to monitor the female partner's response to this treatment.
On the retrieval day, the female partner receives IV anesthesia and is carefully monitored during her procedure. The egg cells are collected from the ovaries using a needle attached to a transvaginal ultrasound probe. No incision is necessary and the procedure is completed within 25 to 35 minutes. The male partner is asked to provide a semen specimen on the retrieval day as well. After the egg cells have been inspected, they may be incubated with the washed sperm for 18 hours, or specialized fertilization procedures such as intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be performed.
Embryos are examined at day 1 to determine the number that fertilized and again at day 3. Commonly embryos are transferred on day 3 or day 5 following the egg retrieval. On embryo transfer day, the female partner arrives with a mostly full bladder, which straightens the angle between the cervix and the uterus. An abdominal ultrasound is used to view the uterus and a speculum is used to visualize the cervix. After a catheter is carefully placed through the cervical opening, the embryo or embryos are brought from the lab to the transfer room. A catheter the size of a piece of thin spaghetti is used to place the embryo or embryos in their droplet of fluid safely inside the uterine cavity. For most women, this process is no more uncomfortable than having an annual pap test (albeit with a full bladder). After the transfer, 24 hours of "modified bed rest" or very limited activity is recommended.
IVF is not the right treatment for all patients. At The New Hope Center, all of our patients are fully evaluated first, and an individualized treatment plan is developed. We recognize that infertility treatments, especially IVF, can be demanding on both the patient and the care team alike. We work to fully educate patients because we believe that knowing what to expect helps significantly reduce the stress associated with these procedures.
The basic definition of in vitro fertilization (IVF) is fertilization of the egg outside the body ("in vitro"), as opposed to inside the body ("in vivo"). It was originally developed as a way to help women with blocked or absent fallopian tubes to become pregnant.
IVF is a critically timed, carefully coordinated procedure that involves removing the mature egg or eggs from a woman's ovary, fertilizing with sperm, incubating the dividing cells in a laboratory dish, then transferring the developing embryo(s) into the woman's uterus with hopes of establishing implantation.
The first successful IVF procedure was performed in England and resulted in the birth of Louise Brown in 1978. Since then, IVF and other procedures associated with assisted reproductive technologies (ART) have evolved to become an integral part of infertility treatment, providing exciting new hope to couples who have been unable to conceive.
At The New Hope Center, patients can take comfort in knowing that they're in good hands. Dr. Robin has performed more than 1,700 IVF cycles over the past 9 years and the center's success rates are well above national averages.
But Assisted Reproductive Therapy treatments can be demanding on both patient and physician alike. New Hope works to fully educate patients. Knowing what to expect helps, significantly, reduce stress associated with the procedure.
Before the procedure, both partners will have a series of medical tests including an infectious disease screening and semen analysis on the male and a catheter-fitting on the female.
Ovarian-stimulating drugs are also administered during the IVF preparation to help stimulated the maximum number of quality eggs which can be harvested.
The IVF process typically includes the following stages: ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, fertilization, embryo grading and embryo transfer.
- Taking eggs from a woman, fertilizing them in the laboratory with a man's sperm, and returning the resulting embryos to her uterus several days later.
Example of Trans-vaginal Ultrasound oocyte retrieval of the eggs The eggs are then recovered by one of two methods: sonographic egg recovery, which is the more common of the two, which uses ultrasound guidance to retrieve the eggs, or laparoscopic egg recovery, in which retrieval is made through a small incision in the abdomen.
Example of Trans-vaginal Ultrasound Oocyte Retrieval of the EggsThe eggs are then recovered by one of two methods: sonographic egg recovery, which is the more common of the two, which uses ultrasound guidance to retrieve the eggs, or laparoscopic egg recovery, in which retrieval is made through a small incision in the abdomen.
- Once the eggs are retrieved, they are placed in a special fluid medium, then semen that has been washed and incubated is placed with the eggs and left for approximately 18 hours.
- The eggs are removed, passed into a special growth medium, and then examined about 40 hours later.
Embryo Transfer Day
If the eggs have been fertilized and developed normally, the embryos are transferred to the woman's (or a surrogate's) uterus.