FERTILIZATION IN A CONTROLLED ENVIRONMENT
When other conventional forms of treatment have failed to produce the desired pregnancy or when other treatments are deemed inappropriate, in vitro fertilization may be recommended. At IVFMD, we have been conducting IVF procedures since our inception in 1991.
Derived from a Latin term literally meaning “in glass,” “in vitro” means outside of the body. IVF is a method of assisted reproduction in which a man’s sperm and a woman’s egg are combined outside of the body in a laboratory dish.
IVF involves the use of medications to stimulate the formation of multiple follicles, each of which contains an egg, in the woman’s ovaries.
- The process of ova (egg) maturation is carefully monitored with blood tests for estradiol (the estrogen from the developing egg) and sonograms.
- Once the appropriate follicle sizes and blood estradiol levels are achieved, hCG is administered to induce the final follicle and egg maturation.
- Transvaginal (through the vagina) oocyte (egg) aspiration under ultrasonography (or, less commonly, by laparoscopy) is carried out about 35 hours later, prior to the anticipated time of ovulation (egg release).
- The eggs are identified in the laboratory, where they are placed in union with the man’s sperm. The eggs are then examined closely under a high-powered microscope for signs of fertilization.
- Developing embryos are maintained in an in vitro culture system and, if fertilization occurs, the resulting embryo is transferred to a woman’s uterus three to five days later to hopefully implant and result in a pregnancy.
Although IVF was originally used in patients with absent or severely damaged fallopian tubes, it is now being utilized to help patients facing:
- Oligospermia (low sperm count)
- Abnormal sperm function
- Long-standing infertility of undiagnosed (or unknown) origin
IVFMD provides the complete scope of IVF, as described above, in the comfort and privacy of our own offices.
What is the pregnancy success rate of IVF?
Success of in vitro fertilization (IVF) depends on many factors, the most important factor, arguably, being the woman’s age. To understand IVF pregnancy success rates, we need to first understand the “natural” pregnancy rate – the pregnancy rate of women trying to conceive without any medical assistance.
Pregnancy rates for women:
- In their early 30’s is approximately 20-25% per cycle per month.
- In their early 40’s drops to an average of about 5%, with a decline in the quality of eggs and an increase in associated chromosomal abnormalities.
While there is no way to repair abnormal eggs, a technique called Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) ensures only normal embryos are chosen for transfer during IVF – assuming the patient has many embryos to choose from. One of the challenges we encounter with older patients is that they produce fewer eggs and therefore may not have a sufficient number of embryos to undergo PGS.
Another important piece of data to examine when considering IVF success is the percent of frozen embryo cycles (called FET) that result in a pregnancy. Frozen embryos may give patients extra chances to conceive from extra embryos produced during the fresh IVF cycles because:
- Frozen embryos can be depended upon for future pregnancies.
- Embryos can be frozen and thawed for later implantation if there are problems with your uterus after stimulation.
- Embryos can be frozen and used at another time if you develop a potentially dangerous side effect (called severe ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome, or OHSS) during your fresh IVF cycle. IVFMD uses a relatively new, but well-proven technique to freeze embryos called vitrification. This technique freezes the embryos at a much quicker rate and results in less damage to the embryos than the traditional slow-cooling method. Combined with laser collapse of the blastocyst cavity prior to freezing, high survival rates have been achieved, resulting in high pregnancy rates.
By choosing a center such as IVFMD with a good FET program, you may have a better overall chance of getting pregnant.
Is my IVF baby going to be normal?
Risks and complications are the same as with a naturally conceived baby.
How does IVFMD determine which embryos to transfer?
Most embryo transfers at IVFMD are with day-5 or day-6 embryos called blastocysts. By using blastocysts, fewer embryos can be transferred without decreasing one’s chance for conceiving. This occurs because embryos must overcome a developmental hurdle at some time between day 3 and day 5 of embryo development, a time during which 30-50% of embryos will stop growing. Therefore, 50-70% of day-3 embryos will not make it to day 5. While day-3 embryos have an implantation rate of about 15%, the implantation rate for blastocysts is closer to 50%. By waiting to transfer on day 5, we can select those embryos that have the best chance for implanting and thus, fewer embryos need to be transferred. Blastocysts are also easier to freeze, and they survive thawing more readily than day-3 embryos, partly because they have more cells.
How long does IVF take?
It takes approximately eight weeks from start to finish. The first month prepares you for your stimulation cycle, which then takes about two weeks. Then, following your embryo transfer, we wait two more weeks for your positive pregnancy test.
Can I afford IVF?
IVF is not as expensive as you think! We have different financial packages that make IVF affordable to most. Contact us and let us show you how easy it is to achieve your goals.
Why have I failed one or more IVF cycles?
There are many possible reasons for a failed IVF cycle . There may be immunological causes interfering with implantation, and these can also predispose to miscarriage. Another potential issue is that many fertility centers use the same treatments for all patients, rather than taking an individualized approach to treatment that is tailored to your unique situation. We’ve heard many patients say they felt “lost” at other IVF centers, while their experience here is personalized and patient-friendly, increasing your chances for success.
What is elective single-embryo transfer or eSET?
Elective single-embryo transfer (eSET) is when a woman undergoing IVF chooses to have a single embryo transferred when multiple embryos are available. Click here to learn more.
For more information, please fill out our online contact form or call us toll free at 1 (866) 483-6366.