Understanding Conception and IVF Treatments

What happens during IVF treatments and how does the in vitro fertilization process work? Human conception is a relatively simple and yet immensely complex process. Think about your IVF cycle as natural conception process aided by our fertility specialists. It may also be helpful to understand the process of natural conception.

The natural conception process begins on the first day of your menstrual cycle. In IVF, we also call this day Cycle Day 1. During the next 12 to 14 days occurs what fertility specialists refer to as follicular phase, the event that results in the ovulation of a mature egg. It’s called “follicular phase,” because the eggs develop in a fluid-filled sacs called the follicles. On Cycle Day 1, your body starts developing follicles. Women of reproductive age begin to develop many eggs during each monthly cycle. Naturally, however, usually just one of the eggs will reach maturity while the rest undergo a process of degeneration, and are absorbed by the body forever. When that one egg is mature, it is released from the ovary. The egg will be capable of being fertilized for only the next 12 to 24 hours. If not fertilized within that time, it is simply reabsorbed by the body. You may be wondering how IVF patients develop more than 20 eggs during a single IVF cycle. With IVF medications, our fertility doctors help your body to develop more than one egg during the first 10 days of the cycle.

Fertility Treatments AbroadOn day 14 of the typical 28-day cycle, woman’s egg is mature and ovulation occurs. As the egg begins it descend through the fallopian tubes, it meets with sperm and gets fertilized. Ovulation triggers many other changes in the body. For example, as a result of changes in the levels of hormones, the cervical mucus becomes penetrable. At the same time, the lining of the uterus is getting ready to accept an ebryo implantation. In contract to the natural process, our IVF doctors will retrieve the mature eggs on Cycle Day 12. It is important to note that it may take up to 17 days to retrieve your eggs, if your ovaries do not respond well to stimulation meds. Normally IVF medications are taken for 10 days. However, if patient’s ovaries don’t respond well, the patient may be instructed to take medication up to five days longer.

Understanding In Vitro TreatmentsTypically, our IVF clinics perform egg retrieval on Cycle Day 12. The very same day, the eggs are fertilized with sperm either by conventional insemination or by ICSI. The eggs will be checked the following day to document fertilization and again the next day to evaluate the early cell division. Until recently, embryos were cultured for three days and then transferred to the uterus or cryogenically frozen for later use. Our IVF clinics now have the ability to grow the embryos for five until they reach the blastocyst stage. Blastocysts have a greater chance of implantation. This, in turn, allows our IVF doctors to transfer fewer embryos and lower the risk of multiple births while increasing the chance of pregnancy.

The final step in the IVF cycle is the embryo transfer. As it is the case with the natural fertilization, not all embryos will grow in the laboratory dish. The embryo(s) that continue to divide and grow is transferred into patient’s uterus about the time it would arrive there in a natural conception. Unused embryos can be cryopreserved for later use.

Visit our website to learn what you will do each step of the way, as you go through your IVF treatments.

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