What is In Vitro Fertilization?
In vitro fertilization, or more commonly known as IVF, is a procedure used to help infertile couples conceive a child. The procedure is complex and takes place outside of the womb and is typically used when other treatments have not been successful. IVF involves five steps. In the first step, the patient takes injections to stimulate the ovary to mature multiple eggs at the same time. Then the eggs are retrieved and placed with sperm in a dish, or in some cases, a single sperm is injected into the egg to achieve fertilization. Once the embryos are formed, they are placed inside the woman’s uterus via a catheter. If there are additional embryos, they are frozen for future use if the treatment is not successful.
What Actually Happens During Hyper-stimulation of the Ovaries?
Typically, the patient will take injectable FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) for eight to eleven days, depending on how long the follicles take to mature. This is the same hormone a woman’s body produces naturally to cause one egg to develop. Taking the injectable FSH causes several follicles to develop at once, at approximately the same rate. The development is monitored with vaginal ultrasounds and following the patient’s levels of estradiol and progesterone. FSH brand names include Repronex, Follistim, Menopur, Gonal-F and Bravelle. The patient injects herself daily.
What Happens During Egg Retrieval?
When the follicles have developed enough to be harvested, the patient is anesthetized at the Lane Fertility Clinic Surgical Center. Then an ultrasound probe is used to guide a needle through the vaginal wall and into the follicle of the ovary. The thin needle withdraws the follicle fluid, which is then examined by an embryologist to find the eggs. The whole process takes about 20 minutes.
What Happens to the Eggs?
The harvested eggs are then fertilized. If the sperm has normal functionality, the eggs and sperm are placed together in a dish with a nutrient fluid, then incubated overnight to fertilize normally. If the sperm functionality is suboptimal, an embryologist uses Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection to inject a single sperm into a single egg with an extremely sharp glass needle. Once fertilization is complete, the embryos are assessed and prepared to be transferred to the patient’s uterus.
How are the Embryos Transferred Back to the Uterus?
The doctor and the patient will discuss the number of embryos to be transferred. This number is usually determined by the the number of eggs successfully fertilized. Embryos are transferred to the uterus with transabdominal ultrasound guidance. This process does not require anesthesia, but it can cause minor cervical or uterine discomfort. Following transfer, the patient schedules two pregnancy tests to confirm success. Once two positive tests are completed, an obstetrical ultrasound is ordered to show the sac, fetal pole, yolk sac and fetal heart rate.
What is a success rate?
At Lane Fertility Fertility, we’re pleased to have worked with more than 3,000 growing families since our opening, helping bring hundreds of healthy and happy newborns into the world. Given our unique dedication to transparency and patient education, we pride ourselves not just in our high success rates, but in the accuracy and honesty with which we provide them, as well as in our commitment to your complete understanding of what they mean to you.
While many practices can be selective in how they source the data that constitutes their success rates, often providing misleading or unclear information. For example, some practices will exaggerate their success rates by basing them solely on smaller, usually younger, samples of their total patient base, while excluding other patients.
At Lane Fertility Institute, however, we are fully inclusive and transparent in the success rates that we list. We take all of our patients into account to provide you with a fair and honest assessment. We work with patients up to the age of 49, and factor all patient outcomes into our overall rates. We take great pride in the compassionate and caring treatment we offer to every patient we see. We are committed to opening our doors to everyone who has a need for fertility treatment.
The Importance of Patient Education
When it comes to our success rates, we are dedicated to patient education and it is just as important as all other areas of our practice. During your consultation with us, we’ll discuss the best treatment plan for your personal situation and family-planning needs, the associated success rates, how they apply to you, and what you can expect throughout your journey. We’ll work closely with you to create a customized treatment plan with the greatest chance of success—and the least emotional and financial stress.
How are individual success rates determined?
Individual patients will respond differently to stimulation and egg retrieval. By evaluating the antral follicle count, an estimated number of day 5 embryos can be determined. Using this combined with age, we are able to make an estimate of what to expect during an IVF cycle.