IVF Procedure

IVF procedure may differ from case to case, because each couple suffering from reduced fertility has their own individual set of circumstances. The fertility specialist overseeing the progress of an IVF treatment cycle will make decisions about procedure based on the female partner's overall health, the reasons for the couple's infertility, and the number of eggs produced during the treatment process, as well as a number of other factors.

Basic IVF procedure consists of several treatment stages, all of which usually take place.

Ovulation Induction

IVF procedure generally begins with a regime of hormone treatment for the female partner lasting several days. The aim is to suppress her natural menstrual cycle and induce ovulation at a time determined by her fertility specialist. Different drugs will be prescribed for different women.

Egg retrieval

Also referred to as egg harvesting, egg retrieval involves removing mature eggs from the female partner's ovaries just before ovulation takes place.


At the fertilization stage, sperm cells from the male partner's semen sample are put into a Petri dish, in a laboratory, along with the female partner's eggs. The aim is to give the sperm cells a better chance of fertilizing the eggs.

Embryo Transfer

At this stage in the procedure, fertilized eggs (which are now embryos) are transferred back to the female partner's uterus. The aim is to have at least one of the embryos implant in her uterine lining and grow into a healthy baby.

Variations In Procedure

There are many reasons why a fertility specialist may decide to introduce an additional element to IVF procedure in order to boost a couple's chances of success. For example:

Assisted hatching - this may be required to better prepare the eggs for fertilization.

Progesterone supplements - when introduced at the right time, these can help thicken the uterine lining in preparation for embryo transfer.

Blastocyst transfer - in this procedure, the fertilized embryos are given more time to mature and strengthen before they are transferred to the uterus.

Egg freezing and storage - this may be recommended to women whose ovaries produce only a few eggs during the IVF procedure.

Embryo freezing and storage - embryos can be preserved and used in future IVF procedures.

ICSI and IMSI - these methods of fertilization are recommended to couples who are affected by male factor infertility.

IVF Procedure Risks

Almost all medical procedures are subject to a certain degree of risk, and IVF procedure is no exception. The risks associated with IVF affect the female partner. She may react badly to the hormone drugs she takes to control her menstrual cycle, and therefore develop a condition called OHSS. Another possible risk is that IVF procedure can result in a multiple pregnancy (namely, conceiving twins, triplets, or more).

You've Come To The Right Place

Whatever your concerns or questions about IVF procedure, on these pages we provide you with reliable information and reassurance.

Also check out our article on the history of IVF.

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