IVF Process – Understanding IVF procedure step by step
This is Dr. Shah Consultant in Male infertility and Sexual Health, and this article is going to help you understand the basics of IVF process and/or IVF procedure…
let us move on to the good stuff…..
IVF stands for in vitro fertilization, which to put in simple words technically means; facilitating the process of the sperm meeting the egg outside the human body in a dish.
The IVF process was commonly called as the test tube baby procedure
But…most people would tend to ask the question…
Would my baby be grown outside in a test-tube??!!
The answer is NO
On the other hand…
IVF is a very technical and a skilled procedure as shown in the picture below…
Quickly go through the boxes and absorb every bit of info!
Step 1 of the IVF process – Ovulation Induction
This step involves giving a series of fertility medications to your partner. The primary aim of these medications is to help stimulate the ovary to produce a lot of eggs (6 to 8).
Consequently, the infertility specialist will usually monitor the growth of these eggs with the help of an ultrasound. Hormonal assessment will also be done
Furthermore, the basic idea to get more eggs is to improve your chances of getting pregnant. Sometimes, however, egg production may not happen for a few women, in these scenarios, your physician may ask you to opt-in for a donor egg IVF cycle.
Step 2 of IVF procedure – Egg Retrieval
During an egg retrieval, your infertility specialist will use an ultrasound-guided aspiration pump to remove eggs from the ovary. The procedure is usually painless and relatively risk-free.
Interestingly, the egg when aspirated will come with follicular fluid. What happens next is that the embryologist will separate the egg from the follicular fluid.
Consequently, the isolated egg is kept in an incubator.
Step 3 of IVF – Fertilization
The process of Fertilization is especially relevant for us to discuss next.
In this step, only motile sperm from the husband’s semen is isolated. Consequently, the motile sperm fraction is incubated or kept along with eggs in the culture dish. In some instances, a single normal motile sperm is taken and injected into the egg, this procedure is called Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Have a look at the picture below…
However, regardless of whether ivf or icsi is performed, the aim of the ivf process is to get a high quality embryo. Because, the truth is only high quality embryo’s have a good chance to implant and thus lead to a viable pregnancy.
Step 4 of IVF – Embryo Culture
The next important step of IVF is embryo culture. Interestingly, there are two types of embryo culture as follows
- Day 3 embryo culture
- Day 5 embryo culture
In day 3 embryo culture, the embryos are grown in the lab for a period of three days. In day 5, embryo culture we grow the embryos for a period of 5 days. Numerous recent studies have suggested that 5-day embryo culture, followed by a transfer probably results in better implantation and pregnancy rates as compared to a three-day culture.
However, the choice of transfer depends on numerous other factors and your fertility experts personal experience and skill.
Step 5 of IVF – Embryo transfer
Finally, the most crucial step of an IVF treatment is the Embryo transfer procedure. In the procedure, the embryo is loaded into a specialized catheter and then the fertility expert, inserts the catheter into the uterus about 2.5 cm below the upper margin of the uterus wall. The embryos are then gently pushed with the help of a syringe into the uterus.
Sometimes, the fertility physician may also perform the transfer under ultrasound guidance.
Step 6 – Pregnancy check
The final and ultimate test! the pregnancy check is usually done 14 days after the embryo is placed in the uterus. The test checks for Beta HCG (Human chorionic gonadotrophin). A positive test usually indicates implantation of the embryo.
We hope you enjoyed this short read on IVF process. Please drop your feedback and comments, you are also most welcome to contact us below for absolutely any doubt you may have!
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Meet Dr. Shah at the Male Infertility & Sexual health Clinic
Dr. Shah is Consultant Andrologist and Sexologist in Chennai. His passion for helping men facing infertility issues stems from the fact that “Men never ever get the care they deserve as far as fertility treatments is concerned”