in vitroYou’ve heard the term used here and there, but have you ever really stopped to see what it means or if it relates to you? In vitro fertilization (IVF) can be used in many cases which are listed below. In normal human reproduction, an egg is released from a woman’s ovary and united with a man’s sperm. This union occurs somewhere along the fallopian tube that joins the uterus (womb) to the ovary. During the IVF process, the union (fertilization) occurs in the laboratory after the egg and sperm have been collected from the male and female. The resulting embryo is then transferred to the woman’s uterus and implanted there. Once this happens, the natural chain of events in the woman’s pregnancy begins.

Before starting an IVF program, it’s important to make sure your type of infertility can be treated using IVF technology.

IVF can be used in cases of:

  • Infertility associated with tubal damage
  • Resistant pelvic endometriosis
  • Low sperm counts or no sperm counts
  • Unexplained infertility and failed infertility therapy

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.
  2. Stimulating the woman’s ovaries to develop multiple eggs with gonadotropinsHer endometrium (uterine lining) is also stimulated to thicken so it can better receive embryos. 
  3. Collecting the egg(s). Collecting and preparing the male’s sperm.
  4. Fertilization in the laboratory and culture with monitoring the early growth of the embryo.
  5. Transferring the early developing embryo(s) to the uterus.

Data gathered from IVF clinics around the world tells us that today’s success rate using IVF techniques and superovulation depends on the quality and number of embryos transferred. In a majority of cases, one or two embryos will be transferred at one time. In older women, three may be transferred. We define “success” as a pregnancy resulting in a live birth. There are many factors that contribute to IVF success, and while there is no guarantee, IVF could be the right option for you.

To find more information on IVF visit:

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.


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