Even if you're familiar with the basics of IVF treatments, you may not fully understand how it works. Here's what you should know about the process of IVF and how it is done.
Before a woman is injected with any type of IVF treatment, some basic screening needs to be done on both partners. Typically, testing of the ovarian reserve should be done on a woman before the injections can even be started. All of the testings that are done can help predict how well a woman's ovaries will respond to the drugs that are administered. The male partner will also be tested to see how well his sperm reacts to the treatment.
Once all of the basics have been completed, both parties need to sign consent forms. After consent is signed, the woman is injected with medications that will help her develop follicles in her ovaries. Each follicle developed contains a microscopic egg. This process will go on for about eight to 10 days to stimulate follicle and growth. Every one to three days, blood testing and ultrasounds are conducted. This is done to monitor how many follicles are growing and what the success rate is. Most fertility clinics will require a minimum number of three follicles to develop in order to move on with egg retrieval.
Unfortunately, if a woman is not able to create at least three follicles, the cycle will be canceled. This means the center will not go onto the egg retrieval process. There are other criteria that may go into the decision of canceling a cycle, but that depends on the IVF Center.
If a woman is able to create many follicles, the eggs will be retrieved and fertilized in a lab with the sperm. This sperm could come from the woman's male partner, but there are a number of options for women to choose from. If the sperm or the eggs are not viable, the IVF center may choose to try different procedures. Once the egg becomes an embryo, it is cultured in the laboratory. The embryo is then transferred back into the woman's uterus for implantation, where it will hopefully develop into a baby. This process of hopefully creating babies in a woman's womb is typically not uncomfortable for a woman.
If everything goes as planned and there are leftover embryos, a woman may choose to have them frozen for future use if she would like to try having another baby in the future.
IVF is a great option for women and men who are looking to have a baby but can't do so naturally. If you are interested in trying IVF, take a look at the steps listed above so you know what to expect.