sperm, egg

Today there are millions of babies who have been born worldwide using this in vitro fertilization (IVF). Though more people, including celebrities, are starting to open up about their infertility struggles, many have little knowledge about IVF. The majority of people nowadays know it’s a form of assisted reproductive technology, but lack a true understanding of what all is really involved.

One of the main things that many don’t know, is the process that couples must go through. When you participate in the process of IVF and embryo transfer you will go through the following steps:

  1. A preliminary clinical assessment and evaluation of both female and male. Prior to initiating an IVF cycle, screening tests can predict how well ovulation will respond in an IVF cycle as well as determine if there are any abnormalities that may preclude IVF from being successful.
  2. Stimulating the woman’s ovaries to develop multiple eggs with gonadotropins. Her endometrium (uterine lining) is also stimulated to thicken so it can better receive embryos. During IVF, we must be able to control the timing of the egg release from the ovaries. We must also increase the chance of collecting more than one egg. To do this, we use special drugs to stimulate the ovaries. We then use an ultrasound scanner (it takes a picture from sound waves, like a submarine’s sonar) to keep track of the development of follicles.
  3. Collecting the egg(s), and collecting and preparing the male’s sperm. We use a technique called “ultrasound guided aspiration” to retrieve mature eggs from the follicles, and the man will be asked to collect a sample for insemination at the time of egg retrieval.
  4. Fertilization in the laboratory and culture with monitoring the early growth of the embryo. Our embryologist(s) examine the culture at regular intervals to make sure fertilization has taken place and the embryo is dividing properly.
  5. Transferring the early developing embryo(s) to the uterus. After assessment of embryo growth, the embryos that have the best morphology (or appearance) are transferred to the woman’s uterus. This usually happens on the fifth day after the eggs are collected.

One cycle of IVF takes about four to six weeks depending on the couple’s availability and other factors. It’s a process that takes time and patience. But once the final step is completed, the natural chain of events in the woman’s pregnancy may begin.

The ART Fertility Program of Alabama is located in Birmingham, Alabama with additional locations in Huntsville, Montgomery and Tuscaloosa. The program is led by Dr. Kathryn Honea, Dr. Virginia Houserman and Dr. Chris Allemand who are Board Certified specialists in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. All are skilled in comprehensive infertility care and offer a complete range of infertility services.

Leave a Reply