Infertility is the inability for a woman to get pregnant after 12 months of having unprotected sexual intercourse. Fortunately, a wide variety of effective fertility treatments exist that can either stimulate ovulation, introduce sperm into the uterus to facilitate fertilization (intrauterine insemination or IUI) or develop an embryo outside the womb that can then be placed inside a woman’s uterus. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a commonly performed assisted reproductive technology procedure involving fertilization of the egg by sperm in a special, laboratory container. IVF is completed in four steps:
Stimulation of the Ovaries
Before an IVF procedure, women receive a series of hormone injections to trigger ovaries into producing multiple eggs during ovulation. A successful in vitro fertilization treatment needs several eggs to fertilize, not just one or two, because some eggs may not develop normally or become fertilized. During the ovarian stimulation stage, doctors use blood tests and ultrasounds to determine if eggs can be retrieved.
Retrieval of Fertilized Eggs
A simple procedure called a transvaginal ultrasound aspiration retrieves eggs ready to be fertilized outside the womb.
Insemination of Eggs
Once retrieved, eggs are examined by a reproductive doctor who decides which eggs have the highest potential for pregnancy. Following separation of sperm from semen, the healthiest sperm are added to the woman’s eggs inside an incubator.
Removal and Transfer of Embryo
Following confirmation by the physician that the egg and sperm have merged and developed into pronuclei (preliminary embryo formation), a one to six-day waiting period is indicated before the embryo is removed from the incubator and transferred to the woman’s uterus. After placement of the embryo, the patient rests for several hours to avoid stressing the body. When the embryo attaches to the uterine wall, a pregnancy test is given which then should yield a positive pregnancy result.
IVF has helped many women get pregnant and deliver healthy babies. To learn if you may be a good candidate for IVF, call New York Reproductive Wellness today at (516) 612-8466 to schedule an appointment for a fertility evaluation with our doctor.