How Does In Vitro Fertilization Work?
In Vitro Fertilization, or IVF, is one of the most effective treatments for infertility. Even couples that believe their situation is hopeless may be able to conceive through IVF. If you are having trouble getting pregnant, IVF is definitely an avenue that you will want to explore before losing hope.
In Vitro Fertilization is a treatment in which a woman’s eggs are removed, fertilized, and then implanted into the uterus. Once you make the decision to try IVF, your doctor will usually begin hormone therapy about two weeks before the procedure. This will improve the quality of your eggs and increase your chance of success. During hormone therapy, your doctor will administer blood tests or use ultrasound technology to determine when your eggs should be removed.
When it comes time for the doctor to remove your eggs, he will guide a needle into your ovaries though the vaginal opening. While this sounds a bit frightening, it is much less invasive and scary than you’d think. During the procedure, the doctor will use local anesthesia and/or light sedation to make sure that the procedure is pain-free. About an hour after the extraction, you’ll be ready to go home.
While you are having eggs withdrawn, your partner will provide a semen sample. Once your eggs have been examined, your partner’s sperm will be extracted from his semen. The sperm will then be used to fertilize your eggs. In most cases, around two to four eggs will be fertilized through IVF.
If your partner is believed to be infertile, his sperm may actually be injected into the eggs. The fertility doctors that perform IVF do everything in their power to ensure fertilization. If you have questions about fertilization methods, make sure to ask your doctor before the procedure.
After about 18 hours, doctors will be able to tell whether the fertilization has been successful. If embryos have begun to form, they will be placed into a solution that resembles your fallopian tubes. The embryos will be allowed to grow for the next few days, until they are ready to be implanted into the uterus.
Once the embryos are ready for implantation, you will be asked to make another visit to your doctor. The doctor will implant the embryos into your uterus, using a thin catheter. This procedure is painless, and unlike the extraction, will not require local anesthesia or sedation. To increase the odds of pregnancy, some doctors will implant several eggs at once.
Directly after implantation, you will need to rest in a reclining position. This will increase your chances of pregnancy. You will also be given fertility drugs for the next few weeks to increase your chances of a successful pregnancy. Within the next few days, one or more of the eggs will hopefully implant themselves into your uterine wall. Within a week or so, you will return to your doctor for a pregnancy test to determine whether the IVF was successful. From there, you may begin your journey as a future mother or begin discussing your options with your doctor.