A Beginner’s Guide to IVF

Sep 01, 2022
A Beginner’s Guide to IVF
In vitro fertilization (IVF) has a high rate of success and is becoming one of the first-line treatments for infertility. Are you considering IVF? Click here for a beginner’s guide on what to expect.

Infertility causes a roller coaster of emotions, and deciding it’s time to consider in vitro fertilization (IVF) is no different. But because IVF has such a high success rate, more and more fertility doctors turn to this form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) as a first-line treatment for infertility. 

At CARE Fertility in Bedford and Fort Worth, Texas, our fertility experts Drs. Kevin and Kathy Doody understand the emotions you feel when considering fertility treatments. They’ve devoted their careers to researching and designing tools, techniques, and treatments so you can grow your family.

One of the leading IVF facilities in the field, we offer conventional and reciprocal IVF treatments as well as effortless IVF® — an innovative fertility treatment designed by our own fertility doctors. Here, we provide a step-by-step guide to IVF so you understand the process and know what to expect.

Step 1: Superovulation

“In vitro” means outside the body. For IVF, we combine an egg and sperm in our lab to create an embryo. 

During a menstrual cycle, your ovaries start the egg maturation process for a group of eggs. However, only one egg matures enough for ovulation (the release of an egg by your ovaries). 

To increase IVF success, we give you fertility medication that stimulates the maturation of all of the eggs in the group — a process called superovulation. 

Step 2: Retrieving the eggs

When your eggs are near maturation in your ovaries, we give you an injection that completes the process so we can retrieve the mature eggs from your ovaries. This egg retrieval is a minimally invasive procedure.

Step 3: Fertilization

We fertilize your mature eggs the same day we retrieve them through a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), directly injecting sperm into each egg. 

Step 4: Egg to embryo

Once fertilized, the egg cells divide, turning into an embryo. For conventional IVF, the egg to embryo incubation process occurs in the embryology lab. With effortless IVF, we place the fertilized egg into an INVOcell®, which goes directly into the vagina for incubation. INVOcell is an FDA-cleared medical device that allows us to use the body as a natural incubator for the embryo. 

Step 5: Embryo transfer

About three to five days after egg retrieval and fertilization, we place the embryo in the uterus. For same-sex female couples, we offer reciprocal IVF for LGBTQ family building — retrieving the egg from one partner and placing the embryo in the uterus of the other. 

After the embryo transfer, you take progesterone hormones for 8-12 weeks. Progesterone is the hormone that prepares the uterus for pregnancy, helping with embryo implantation.

Step 6: Pregnancy test

About two weeks after the embryo transfer, we have you come back in for a pregnancy test. 

IVF is responsible for the birth of about 2% of the 4 million babies born in the United States every year — that’s thousands of success stories each year. Are you ready to start your fertility journey? We’re here to help. Call the CARE Fertility office near you, or schedule a consultation online today.