IVF involves a series of procedures in order to help couples conceive. Post the pandemic, couples are re-evaluating their plans of undergoing IVF treatment and start a family. With this, it is imperative for the couples to understand the procedures in detail and discuss in-depth with their fertility specialist accordingly. Following are in general different stages of the IVF treatment.
The first step in the IVF procedure may involve suppressing the ovaries to optimize the chances of uniform follicle growth and better egg recovery. This process enables a more controlled and predictable response in the stimulation stage. In addition to this, suppression drugs help in inducing the baseline stage and prevent natural ovulation.
In this step, an evaluation is done to check if the ovaries are without any large cysts; oestrogen, progesterone and LH levels are low and the uterine lining is thin. If the baseline is set, the next step will be to start stimulation medications.
Ovarian stimulation and monitoring
The ovaries are stimulated with medication in order to encourage growth of multiple follicles over a range of 8 to 12 days. During this time, response to the medication is frequently monitored through ultrasounds and hormone measurements. Based on the response generated, the physicians evaluate the right dose of medication.
The next step in the IVF treatment is egg retrieval which is done half way through the cycle. In a normal cycle, ovulation happens half way in the menstrual cycle. During this time, a trigger injection is given to perform the final maturation of the egg and release them from the follicle walls. Trigger
injection results in ovulation in 36 hours when the actual egg retrieval is scheduled.
Fertilization and Embryo transfer
Post retrieving the egg from the follicle, they are inseminated with the sperm sample collected on the day of the retrieval. It takes usually a day’s time to know the eggs that fertilized, following which, an embryo transfer process is undertaken in 3 to 5 days after egg retrieval. The embryos that are chosen for transfer are then carefully inserted in the uterine cavity.
The process is followed up with a pregnancy test 14 days after egg retrieval. If the test is positive, the progression is monitored closely by the doctors to confirm that the development is taking place as per the desired time frame and results.