There are several steps associated with IVF:
Stimulation or Super ovulation – Hormones are injected into the patient to stimulate the production of multiple eggs per month rather than just one. These injections are then followed by other injections meant to help the eggs develop and mature. The patient will also be given medications to help prepare the body for implantation of the embryo.
Egg Retrieval and sperm retrieval - Usually done 34-36 hours after the final injection. A minor, outpatient surgery is done to collect the eggs from the female. This procedure is done under anesthesia and involves using an ultrasound to visualize the uterus and a small needle connected to a suction device to collect the eggs. This process generally takes 20-40 minutes. Sperms are harvested from the patient’s partner or from a third-party donor.
Fertilization and Insemination - Healthy, mature eggs and healthy sperm are combined in a laboratory setting and incubated overnight to initiate fertilization.
Embryo culture and transfer – Once the fertilized egg starts dividing, it is referred to as an embryo. This embryo is allowed to continue to grow and divide under constant monitoring by laboratory staff. This takes about 3-4 days. When the embryo has grown to a sufficient size, it is then implanted in the woman’s womb via a catheter inserted into the vagina. One or more embryos can be implanted this way.