What You Can Expect During IVF Treatment

If you are trying to become pregnant, chances are you have considered In Vitro Fertilization treatment. However, before you begin the procedure, it can be helpful to know what to expect.

The Initial Fertility Consultation

During the first meeting with this doctor, you will tell them about your fertility issues and medical history so they can determine the treatment protocols that will work best for your needs.

The Preliminary Talks and Tests

Once the initial meeting is complete, you will undergo blood tests and an ultrasound to determine your ovarian reserve (how many eggs you have) and their quality. Your doctor may also suggest a hysteroscopy, a procedure which examines the health of the uterus, and sometimes a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) which does the same for the fallopian tubes. Your male partner (or donor) will also submit a sample for semen analysis.

Egg Retrieval

The doctor will target the specific time where your eggs are ready to be released – just before ovulation. You will be sedated and with the help of an ultrasound the eggs will be extracted from the ovaries with a hollow needle. During this time, the sperm will also be gathered from your partner, which will be taken to the lab to mix for insemination to occur. In cases of ICSI, an embryologist will inject a single sperm into each egg to ensure fertilization.

Embryo Transfer

Once the eggs are retrieved and fertilized, the embryologists will watch the embryos divide and grow for up to five days. At that point, the healthiest looking embryo (or healthiest two embryos in certain cases) will be inserted into the uterus. This process does require sedation, but not for pain — rather, the patient is sedated to ensure this delicate process can ensue without the possibility of movement or twitching. Healthy embryos do not always result from this process, in which case the patient may want to undergo IVF treatment again. When there are several healthy embryos, the patient may choose to freeze the remaining embryos for future use.

The Results

After the embryos are implanted, you will take daily injections of the hormone progesterone to help with the implantation for two weeks. After two weeks you will return to your doctor to take a pregnancy test.

If you are pregnant, you will continue to see your reproductive endocrinologist for up to eight weeks to monitor the pregnancy, at which point you will be released back into the care of your OB/GYN.

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