In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) - An Introduction
Since 1978, with the birth of the first baby to be successfully conceived in vitro, the process of collecting sperm and eggs, combining them outside of the body, and placing the resulting embryo(s) into the uterus has opened the door to parenthood for thousands of infertile couples. In addition to standard in vitro fertilization treatment, options like intracytoplasmic sperm injection, preimplantation genetic screening and diagnosis, egg donation, and gestational surrogacy are made possible through this process. In vitro fertilization, also called IVF, is a cornerstone of many treatments that help our patients overcome infertility.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) was initially developed as a way to allow women with blocked fallopian tubes to become pregnant. Since its introduction, however, IVF has also been beneficial for couples suffering from male factor infertility, endometriosis, premature ovarian failure, and unexplained infertility. It is also an option for patients who have had a surgical sterilization procedure and would now like to have another child.
Additionally, special techniques performed in combination with in vitro fertilization can overcome even more fertility obstacles. A woman who has a healthy uterus but no viable eggs can experience the unique journey of pregnancy and childbirth through the process of IVF with egg donation. Likewise, a woman who cannot carry a pregnancy to term despite having an adequate egg supply can hold on to her dreams of being a biological parent with the help of a gestational carrier. IVF with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can help to overcome all but the most severe forms of male factor infertility and preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) offers couples who carry a genetic disease a way to ensure that their child will be healthy.
The most common IVF treatment begins with the stimulation of the ovaries to prepare and release a number of mature oocytes, or eggs. This process starts about one week before menstruation with the administration of medications to prevent early ovulation. Once menstruation begins, fertility medications are given daily to stimulate the maturation of oocytes. When the eggs are fully mature, usually about eight to ten days later, an additional medication is given and the patient is prepared for egg retrieval. Visit our Ovulation Induction page to learn about this process in more detail.
The mature eggs are collected for in vitro fertilization using a simple outpatient procedure known as ultrasound-guided transvaginal oocyte aspiration. This process takes between 10 and 15 minutes and recovery is brief. Visit our Egg Retrieval page for more information about this procedure.
Semen is collected on the same day as the egg retrieval procedure.
Once the eggs and semen have been collected, they are sent to our south Florida fertility clinic lab, where a brief examination and preparation process takes place before they are combined. The eggs are then monitored at intervals while, hopefully, fertilization and embryo development take place. For more information about this phase of the IVF process, please visit our Fertilization and Embryo Development page.
If in vitro fertilization of the eggs occurs, two to three healthy embryos will be selected for embryo transfer, or placement into the uterus. Any additional embryos can be cryopreserved, or frozen, for later use in case the first IVF cycle is unsuccessful. Hopefully, one or two of the transferred embryos will implant, resulting in a successful pregnancy.
Learn more about how the embryos are transferred and what happens next by visiting our Embryo Transfer and Implantation page.
Contact Our Practice in and around Fort Lauderdale, Florida
To learn more, and to request an appointment for an in vitro fertilization (IVF) consultation click here or call 888.313.0307. Our Infertility Specialists are happy to answer any questions you may have.