The woman undergoes ovarian stimulation to produce multiple eggs for fertilization. Fertility medications are administered to stimulate the ovaries, promoting the development of several mature eggs. Regular monitoring through blood tests and ultrasounds helps track the progress of egg maturation.
Once the eggs reach optimal maturity, a minor surgical procedure known as egg retrieval is performed. A thin needle is guided through the vaginal wall into the ovaries to collect the mature eggs. This procedure is typically conducted under sedation to minimize discomfort.
On the same day as the egg retrieval, the male partner provides a sperm sample, which is processed to obtain healthy and motile sperm for fertilization. In some cases, donor sperm may be used.
The retrieved eggs and the selected sperm are combined in a laboratory dish for fertilization. The fertilized eggs, now embryos, undergo monitoring to assess their development and viability.
The embryos are cultured in a special incubator for a few days, during which time they undergo cell division and growth. The embryologist evaluates their quality and selects the most viable ones for transfer.
A selected number of healthy embryos are transferred into the woman’s uterus. This is a relatively simple procedure performed without anesthesia in most cases. The goal is to facilitate implantation and establish a pregnancy.
Luteal Phase Support
To support the early stages of pregnancy, the woman may receive hormonal medications such as progesterone. These help create a favorable environment for the embryo to implant and support the initial phases of pregnancy.
Approximately 10-14 days after the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test is conducted to determine whether the procedure was successful. If successful, the woman continues to receive prenatal care to monitor the pregnancy.
While IVF is a highly effective fertility treatment, it is not always a guarantee of pregnancy. Success rates vary depending on various factors, including the age and health of the individuals involved. Multiple IVF cycles may be necessary for some couples to achieve a successful pregnancy.
Despite its complexities and the emotional and financial investments required, IVF has become a lifeline for countless individuals and couples, offering a path to parenthood for those who may have otherwise faced insurmountable obstacles in conceiving naturally. The continuous advancements in reproductive medicine contribute to the ongoing refinement and improvement of IVF procedures, expanding the possibilities for hopeful parents worldwide.