- Step One
The IVF cycle follows your natural menstrual cycle (28 days) and it begins on day one of when your period begins. You will be required to take oral contraceptives to help regulate hormone levels and eliminate the risk of cysts. You will have to take oral contraceptives anywhere from two to four weeks. During this time you will also be given Lupron injections. According to havingbabies.com, Lupron essentially "shuts down" the body's reproductive hormone system. Ovulation cannot occur naturally while on Lupron because LH, which triggers ovulation, is suppressed. This prevents a premature surge of the LH before the retrieval, which could cause loss of the cycle.
- Step Two
Ovarian stimulation is the next step in your IVF cycle. This period consists of fertility hormone injections that often mimic the same effects a heavy menstrual cycle. On average, the ovarian stimulation process lasts for about eight to 12 days. Throughout the injections you will be monitored to see exactly how those egg follicles are doing through an ultrasound and estrogen testing.
- Step Three
It is now time for the egg retrieval. The extraction is performed under anesthesia, so you will not feel any discomfort. The sperm will also be needed at this point to fertilize the eggs. If you are using your partner’s sperm, he will have either already provided a sperm sample, or may be scheduled to do so the same day as your eggs are retrieved.
- Step Four
Your eggs will be fertilized within hours of their retrieval. It can take up to 3 days for the embryos to be ready to be tested for genetic viability and/or gender testing. If it is a viable embryo, you will be scheduled for the exciting next step.
- Step Five
It is time for the embryo transfer! This is a procedure in which no anesthesia is needed, and your doctor will insert a tiny tube to transfer the embryo into your uterus. You will be tested for pregnancy on two separate occasions, day nine and day 12, after the transfer to see if the embryo has implanted. Congratulations, you did it!
More American women have had medical help to have their babies than ever, according to the latest annual report from the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. This is not only due to infertility issues, but due to the fact that many couples are waiting until later in life to have children. Whatever the reason may be, IVF, or in vitro fertilization has helped many. Approximately 44% of women with infertility have sought medical assistance. Of those who seek medical intervention, approximately 65% give birth. There are many infertility treatments available, but the IVF high success rates make it a popular choice among many. If you are considering this life changing treatment you should know that the average IVF cycle takes around four to six weeks, depending on how things progress. Here is a step-by-step timeline of the process:
Journey to Parenthood
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