All about IVF

IVF (in vitro fertilization) is probably something you’ve heard of before. And as you start exploring what it could mean for you, know that you’re not alone. We’ve got your back.

One thing to know before starting—your fertility specialist (or reproductive endocrinologist) may first prescribe medication that will cause your body to produce multiple eggs and allow greater control over the timing of egg retrieval.

Step 1

Controlled ovarian stimulation (COS)

The ovaries are stimulated to produce multiple eggs.

  • With COS, the goal is to stimulate the development of multiple eggs to increase the chances of producing a healthy embryo
  • In order to produce multiple eggs, your doctor will prescribe medication to stimulate your follicles—which contain immature eggs—to grow using one or more fertility drugs, and will monitor development
  • When your follicles have grown to an appropriate size, you’ll receive a “trigger shot” (a hormone injection) to trigger the final maturation of the eggs before they can be retrieved
Step 2

Egg retrieval

Eggs will be retrieved from the follicles.

  • Before your doctor retrieves the eggs from your ovaries, she or he will give you pain medication or sedate you
  • Then, she or he will use a probe, which is inserted in your vagina, to retrieve the eggs from the follicles in your ovaries
  • The procedure usually takes less than an hour in the doctor’s office
Step 3

Sperm retrieval

Sperm is separated from the semen.

  • Semen is obtained by masturbation, or a special condom used during intercourse
  • If the male’s semen is devoid of sperm, it may be obtained from the testicle
Step 4

Fertilization

Sperm is introduced to eggs.

  • Partner or donor sperm will be mixed with your eggs
  • The next morning, an embryologist will check that the eggs are fertilized and developing properly and will continue to monitor them
Step 5

Embryo transfer

Embryos are transferred directly into the uterus.

  • Your doctor will work with you to determine how many embryos will be transferred, and at what time
  • More than one embryo increases the chance of pregnancy, but also increases the chance of multiples (twins or triplets)
  • Once the number is chosen, your embryo(s) are transferred directly into your uterus via a catheter

April Christina, @imaprilchristina

OUT LOUD INSIDER

It's not the end for us It's not the end for us

It's just the beginning. It's another part of our story that's
going to make it more colorful. So, we're still as excited as ever.

What happens next?

In the time between egg retrieval (step 2) and embryo transfer (step 5), your fertility specialist may prescribe progesterone—a hormone that helps prepare the uterus for implantation and supports pregnancy. Progesterone can be continued for up to 10 weeks following a positive pregnancy test—so keep in mind that even when the steps above are over, you may still be on medication (either vaginally, orally, or via injection) for some time.

What are the chances of pregnancy?

In nationally reported data, IVF demonstrated up to a 48% success rate.*

*Success was defined as the rate of live births per cycle.

Check your coverage

Your insurance coverage can have a huge impact on your fertility journey. It can influence things like fertility treatment decisions, testing, and whether telehealth appointments are an option. Decode the ins and outs of insurance coverage >

Fertility Out Loud