In vitro fertilization, or IVF, can help hopeful parents overcome fertility issues
When patients think of fertility treatments, in vitro fertilization, or IVF, is often one of the first treatments that comes to mind. However, many women and men don’t understand what this treatment involves and how it helps improve a patient’s likelihood of conceiving and bringing home a healthy baby. Our San Antonio IVF center team is here to explain what you need to know about this highly effective fertility treatment option.
A look at the in vitro fertilization process
IVF at our San Antonio IVF center involves several steps, including ovarian stimulation and monitoring, egg retrieval, fertilization and embryo transfer. Each step is designed to achieve a specific goal that will bring you closer to your ultimate goal of starting or growing your family.
Ovarian stimulation and monitoring. Injectable fertility medications that are known as gonadotropins stimulate multiple eggs to develop in the follicles in both ovaries. Based on the results of your diagnostic testing, your fertility doctor will determine the best medications and dosage to give you. While you are taking these medications, your follicular development will be monitored with vaginal ultrasounds and blood work every few days. The team at our San Antonio IVF center will make medication dosage adjustments as needed to optimize your egg development.
Egg retrieval. When your largest follicles reach a certain size – typically around 20 mm in diameter – the egg inside is ready for retrieval. Your physician will administer a medication to prepare your eggs for retrieval. Then about 36 hours later, you will come in for a quick outpatient procedure. During this procedure, you will be comfortably sedated while your physician uses a thin needle to retrieve your mature eggs.
Fertilization. Shortly after your retrieval, your eggs will be fertilized with your partner’s or a donor’s sperm. This process generally occurs by placing the sperm and eggs in a petri dish. However, when severe male infertility is present, our embryologists can use intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to inject the sperm directly into each egg. After fertilization, the egg becomes an embryo that starts to grow and divide.
Embryo transfer. About five days after your egg retrieval procedure, your embryos will have reached the blastocyst stage. At this time, your fertility doctor will either transfer one embryo to your uterus or your embryos will be frozen for a future transfer.
On average, 10-12 eggs develop during an IVF cycle. The number of eggs that will be retrieved in your particular IVF cycle depends on your age and the results of blood tests like follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and antimullerian hormone (AMH).
Who should consider IVF?
In vitro fertilization at our San Antonio IVF center can help many women and men bring home a healthy baby. At our San Antonio fertility center, our team recommends IVF to hopeful parents who have been diagnosed with Fallopian tube damage, very low sperm counts, severe endometriosis and extensive pelvic adhesions. This treatment can also help when other fertility treatments have failed or simply when time is of the essence.
Recently, more patients are choosing IVF so that we can perform genetic testing on their embryos before transfer. Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) has been shown to increase pregnancy rates, reduce miscarriage rates and facilitate the transfer of a single embryo.
Contact our San Antonio IVF center to learn more about how in vitro fertilization can help you bring home a healthy baby. Our team is here to provide treatment and support as you travel the path to parenthood.