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What is In-Vitro Fertilization & How Does It Work?

  • Category: Fertility, IVF
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Mark Denker, M.D.

When couples have trouble conceiving naturally, there are scientific methods that can help the body long. Through in-vitro fertilization, an egg is harvested and fertilized in a lab setting before it is placed back into the woman’s body to develop naturally. For couples who have difficulty conceiving naturally, or for lesbian couples using a sperm donor, this fertilization treatment can be the gateway to the family life they’ve been dreaming of.

How It Works

  • The process begins with egg retrieval. With the help of fertility medications, the woman’s eggs will mature during ovulation, at which time the doctor will remove the eggs for treatment.
  • Next, the male sperm will be harvested, typically on the same day as the egg retrieval. Couples may use the male partner’s sperm for lab fertilization, or may choose to use a donor. Lesbian couples and couples with male fertility problems primarily use sperm collected from a certified donor.
  • Once both the egg and sperm have been collected, the doctor will fertilize the egg in the lab using specialized equipment. The eggs will then be monitored for between 1-5 days while lab attendants will monitor for the blastocyst to transfer and to assess which embryo has the greatest likelihood of implanting successfully.
  • After all of the fertilization has taken place in the lab, the embryo must be transferred into the uterus. One of two of the best embryos are typically selected, and the embryologist will then place the embryo into the woman’s uterus using a catheter guided by ultrasound. In the event that there were more than two optimal embryos, those that were not planted into the uterus can be preserved in the lab for potential future use.
  • When all laboratory steps are complete, the couple need only wait to see if the embryo successfully implanted into the uterus. Once this crucial step has taken place, the pregnancy begins. In these early stages, the doctor will monitor the woman as development progresses in order to ensure everything moves along smoothly.

While it is possible for the first in-vitro fertilization cycle to be successful, couples do often have to try multiple times before a successful pregnancy. If you are interested in in-vitro fertilization, or other fertility treatments, our fertility center is here for you.

Contact Palm Beach Fertility Center today to get started.