If you're having trouble conceiving, In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) can maximize your chances for a healthy pregnancy. According to Generation Fertility's Dr. Michael Hartman,
"I recommend IVF as the optimal initial treatment for my patients in cases of moderate to severe sperm issues, advanced reproductive age, diminished ovarian reserve, a history of bilateral removal or blocked fallopian tubes, or in cases to preserve embryos to assist with family planning."
Dr. Michael Hartman, MD, FRCSC, GREI
But what is involved in the IVF process? Below we break it down for you into 5 steps.
The 5 Steps of IVF
If you're considering IVF, it's natrual to have questions. It's a very personal and intimate experience, and it's important to feel comfortable. Knowing what to expect, step-by-step, can help ease your concerns and empower you to take the next step in your fertility journey. Below, Dr. Hartman breaks the IVF process down into 5 steps.
1. Ovarian Suppression
Not all women require this step, but if recommended by your doctor, medication will be used to replace your natural cycle with an artificial cycle. This allows it to be more "controllable" for the next steps.
2. Ovarian Stimulation
This stage is also called superovulation. Your ovaries usually produce and release a single egg per cycle. To conceive using IVF, more eggs are usually needed. Medications are given to stimulate the production of several ovarian follicles to help retrieve more eggs.
3. Egg Maturation
When the follicles are ready (large enough and hormone levels are adequate), you're given an injection to stimulate egg maturation and ovulation (release). This injection is given into a muscle (e.g., your arm).
4. Egg Retrieval
Using an ultrasound to guide them, your doctor retrieves the eggs. This is done through your vagina (transvaginally). Your doctor will insert a needle, attached to the ultrasound probe, into each follicle and withdraw fluid from each of them. You're given IV sedation to help ensure you're comfortable. Once this procedure is complete, you are told how many eggs were retrieved.
On that same day, those eggs are fertilized with sperm in our laboratory to create an embryo, which is prepared for implantation once matured. The embryo maturation process usually takes about 5 days. At this point, the embryo can either be frozen for later use, or implanted right away (fresh).
5. Embryo Transfer
The best (most viable) embryo (or embryos) are chosen and transferred into your or your surrogate's uterus. A blood test is done 12 days after implantation to confirm if it was successful. No matter the outcome, we will continue to support you in the ways you need most.
Dr. Hartman encourages all patients to ask questions and openly communicate throughout the entire process. Our caring team of leading fertility doctors, nurses, and embryologists are highly experienced in safely and effectively providing this advanced approach to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment in Canada, and we are with you every step of the way.