What Are the Five Stages of IVF

What Are the Five Stages of IVF

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IVF (In vitro fertilization) has been a blessing for several million couples and individuals who have had difficulty getting pregnant. It is a type of assisted reproductive technology that uses artificial means to fertilize and develop a healthy embryo.

During IVF, the eggs and sperm are collected from the female and male partners, respectively. The eggs and sperm are fertilized and developed in a laboratory. After a few days, the embryo(s) with the highest chances of pregnancy are transferred into the female uterus for development.

IVF is a complex procedure and involves five steps, namely

  • Ovarian stimulation,
  • Egg and sperm retrieval,
  • Fertilization,
  • Embryo culture, and
  • Embryo transfer.

In this article, we have discussed the above five steps in detail. Read this and understand the procedure thoroughly before deciding to undergo it.

Ovarian Stimulation

This is the first stage of the IVF procedure, where you will be administered a series of hormonal injections for about 8–14 days. These injections stimulate the ovaries and induce them to produce more mature eggs.

You might think that producing more eggs at the same time might reduce your ovarian reserve. But it is not true. Every month, during your menstrual cycle, your ovaries will produce 10–20 egg follicles. But only one or two of them mature and release an egg. The rest are reabsorbed into the body.

During ovulation stimulation, the injections stimulate the ovaries to grow and mature all the egg follicles produced during the cycle. You might also feel some symptoms when your egg get rupture after ivf injection.This results in having more egg follicles for fertilization and higher chances of pregnancy.

Egg and Sperm Retrieval

Once the egg follicles have grown and reached optimal size (about 15–18 mm in diameter), your doctor will collect them from your uterus.

During this procedure, your doctor will insert a thin needle into your uterus through the vagina. This needle will have a suction device at its tip to collect the gg follicles. You don’t need to fear pain. You will be administered an anesthetic and will be unconscious during the procedure.

Simultaneously, sperm will be collected from your male partner in a container provided by the lab. They can either ejaculate into it or get a special condom that collects and stores semen during intercourse.

The sperm will be sent for analysis, and the best high-quality sperm will be segregated and stored for fertilization.

Fertilization

IVF fertilization can be done in two ways: traditional IVF and ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). In traditional IVF, the eggs and sperm are placed together in a lab dish overnight. The sperm will swim to the egg for fertilization.

ICSI is preferred in case of male-factor infertility when the sperm has low motility and can’t reach the egg for fertilization. Here, a single, high-quality sperm is collected in a needle and injected directly into the egg’s cytoplasm.

Embryo Culture

After fertilization, the eggs are kept in an embryo culture device and monitored for a few days. An embryologist will monitor their day-to-day development and analyze which embryo is developing well and which has the highest chance of resulting in pregnancy.

Simultaneously, the embryos will also be analyzed for any chromosomal abnormalities. They will be graded according to their quality and other parameters.

Embryo Transfer

This is the last stage of the IVF procedure. Here, the one or two embryos with the highest chance of success are selected and transferred into your uterus. An IVF treatment is considered a success if one or both embryos implant in the uterine lining and start developing into a baby.

There are two ways the embryos can be transferred:

  • Day 3 embryo transfer: when the embryo is in the cleavage stage
  • Day 5 embryo transfer: when the embryo is in its blastocyst stage

Most doctors prefer to transfer embryos on day 5 to increase the chances of success. Like the egg retrieval procedure, you will be sedated during embryo transfer. So you will not feel any pain during the IVF procedure.

The remaining embryos will be frozen and stored through cryopreservation and can be used in the future. This removes the need to go through another ovulation stimulation and egg retrieval procedure in the next cycle.

Conclusion

After embryo transfer,  you can wait for 2 weeks before taking a pregnancy test and know the symptoms during ivf . You can either take a urine pregnancy test at home or visit your doctor for a blood test or ultrasound. These tests will show you whether your IVF cycle was a success or not.

It’s good news if it is positive, but don’t worry if your result is negative. Consult your doctor, If you are looking for ivf treatment in chennai visit Prashant hospitals and discuss what measures you can take to increase your chances of pregnancy in future cycles.

FAQS

1. What is the most important stage of IVF?

The entire IVF process is important and should be performed with care and precision. But, among all the stages, the last stage, embryo transfer, is the most important one.

This is where the developed embryos are transferred into the uterus. Pregnancy happens when the embryo successfully implants in the uterus.

2. What is the hardest stage of IVF?

Most people think the IVF procedure is very difficult to undergo. But the truly hardest part of IVF is the 2-week waiting period you must withstand before finding out if you are pregnant or not. This is a very anxious period for all couples.

3. How long do the 5 stages of IVF take?

An average IVF cycle takes around 6–8 weeks, from the beginning of the ovulation stimulation to the embryo transfer procedure. However, the time may decrease or increase depending on your fertility and health condition.

4. Are 14 eggs good for IVF?

Typically, doctors prefer to collect 8–14 eggs during an egg retrieval procedure. This can increase the odds of having a healthy embryo and reduce the need for another egg retrieval should one cycle fail.

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