In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most common types of assisted reproduction. IVF is also one of the most successful forms of assistance when a woman chooses to conceive. IVF is utilized with fallopian tube occlusion, male infertility with very low sperm count, endometriosis, or for unexplained reasons where conventional ovulation medications failed seen in women with polycystic ovarian syndrome. . The process involves extractions of the women’s eggs (oocytes) outside the body and using the partner’s sperm to fertilize the egg to produce an embryo. The embryos will grow in culture for 3-5 days and their cells will double daily. During their growth the abnormal embryos will stop dividing during these five days. The best embryos will be selected for the final transfer into the uterus and they will typically implant in two days. A pregnancy test is performed two weeks later.
The IVF Process
IVF has been used to assist women achieve a pregnancy since 1981 and about a million babies were born through IVF since that time. There are several protocols using ovulation-inducing medications, which are usually based on the women’s age and ovarian reserve (The number of oocytes eggs she has at a given time). In IVF we would like to grow several eggs in one month so that we can obtain several embryos (fertilized egg and sperm). The embryos grow in culture and the best one or two embryos will be selected to achieve a pregnancy. The ovulation medications are given in the form of an injection subcutaneously (Under skin) for a period of 10-14 days beginning on the third day of the menstrual cycle. During that time a transvaginal ultrasound is performed to monitor the size of the eggs (oocytes ) and a measurement of the hormones levels of estradiol, progesterone and luteinizing hormone are also used for monitoring. Once the follicles reach an optimal size, an injection called Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is given for final maturation. About 36 -38 hours later the oocytes are retrieved by utilizing intravenous sedation and a transvaginal ultrasound is used to extract the oocytes.
Once the oocytes are retrieved, the partner’s sperm is usually injected into the egg (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) to induce fertilization and in about 24 hours an embryo (fertilized egg) is formed.
The embryos are grown in temperature-controlled incubator and will double their cells every 24 hours. They are typically grown for 3-5 days and on day 5 they become blastocysts. The embryos can than be transferred on day 5 using a catheter inserted through the cervical canal into the top of uterus with the aid of an abdominal ultrasound. At Advanced fertility Center of Texas we utilize natural transfer where the embryos are vitrified (frozen) on days 3-5 so that the high levels of hormones seen during ovarian stimulation will naturally resolve. Prior to the vitrification process, the embryos can be genetically screened for chromosomal abnormalities (Complete Chromosomal Testing) by extracting 5-10 cells from the outer coat of the embryo and sent for analysis. At Advanced Fertility Center Of Texas we utilized the most advanced method of chromosomal testing called next generation sequencing. For the process of implanting the embryos, the uterus is prepared with estrogen and progesterone until the optimal thickness in the uterus is achieved. This preparation takes about 18 -20 days. Utilizing natural transfer not only increases the chances of conception but also minimize side effects with the newborn having a higher weight. Hormonal support with estrogen and progesterone are provided and a pregnancy test is performed about two weeks post embryo transfer. In a natural transfer, we will continue the estrogen and progesterone until about the twelve week of pregnancy.
In Vitro Fertilization Options
There are various ways to perform IVF. In vitro fertilization truly depends on your age and fertility potential (ovarian reserve- number of eggs in the ovary). If you need help with fertility or have questions about IVF, contact a fertility center. Advanced Fertility Center of Texas does not turn away complex patients with a medical history or with the diagnosis of low ovarian reserve. Advanced fertility center of Texas can provide you with a second opinion if you have previously attempted IVF. We are one of the few centers in the country where nutritional support , acupuncture and wellness programs are provided in one center for optimization of the IVF process. Our fertility specialists will guide you through the process with professional recommendations and support. For a consultation, call 713-467-4488 and see what Advanced Fertility Center of Texas has to offer for IVF.