IVF Primer

The process of in vitro fertilization begins with the decision to use this treatment.

woman_readingWhile it is the most advanced treatment, and has the best success, it is not needed for most infertility patients. Many can conceive after more conservative measures and only if conventional treatment has failed should they consider IVF.

Step two in the process is the testing to prepare for the treatment. Testing for ovarian reserve can influence the management of the treatment. This is covered in a separate article on the website. The status of semen, uterus and tubes certainly would already be established in most situations. Because of the risk of infection, certain infectious diseases must be screened as well.

In many cases hormones as simple as birth control pills can be used to time the onset of a period. This allows coordination of the patient with the laboratory and other facilities.

The IVF treatment phases begin with the menstrual period, though sometimes medication may begin prior to the period. On day 2 or 3, an ultrasound is done to check for an ovarian cyst. If no significant cyst is present, then the ReGo-IVF™ cycle begins. (ReGo-IVF™ for Regular Gonadotropin In Vitro Fertilization treatment as opposed to a LoGo-IVF™ or Low Dose Gonadotropin cycle, discussed in another article on this website).

Stimulation with hormones begins the IVF treatment. This can be modified by pituitary suppressing hormones as well. Frequent monitoring by blood and ultrasound tests is required to measure the effects on the follicles, which contain the eggs. When the largest follicle is over 18mm, it is about time for the HCG trigger shot for egg maturation and ovulation.The injection of HCG will be followed by ultrasound guided vaginal egg retrieval under anesthesia. The eggs are then fertilized in the laboratory and placed in an incubator. The complex lab steps are another topic and should be reviewed from other sources or discussed with your embryologist at your fertility clinic.For most patients, transfer of the embryo(s) occurs 3 days later, though in some cases, this is done on the fifth day. Then the wait for the pregnancy test begins.