April 28, 2014

How to Prepare for IVFThe birth of Louise Brown, in 1978, marked the first successful pregnancy achieved through in vitro fertilization (IVF). Today, IVF is one of the most common, and most effective, fertility treatment options available. In vitro fertilization breaks down the progress of reproduction into several stages, allowing couples who have trouble conceiving to overcome a wide range of difficulties. You and your partner will undergo comprehensive medical screening to determine what issues are preventing you from becoming pregnant, and how to approach your IVF treatment. Before beginning the series of procedures, your New Orleans fertility and IVF specialists will also provide specific instructions to prepare for, and increase the success rate of, your fertility treatment.

Pre-Requisite Screening

If you and your partner have had trouble conceiving for over a year, you may be ideal candidates for in vitro fertilization. Before beginning the cycle, you and your partner will have to undergo screening to determine the quantity and quality of each partner’s eggs and sperm.  Depending on your particular needs, IVF can incorporate the use of you and your partner’s eggs and sperm, or donor egg and/or donor sperm. If the mother cannot carry the fetus to term, then a surrogate carrier may be required. Screening may include ovarian reserve testing, semen analysis, infectious disease screening, and a uterine cavity exam, among other necessary examinations.

Preparing for IVF

Starting the IVF cycle involves medications and hormones to stimulate the production of multiple eggs. Depending on the state of your physical health, your fertility specialist may recommend certain exercises and diet changes to increase the chances of mature egg production. Before opting for the procedure, you and your partner should have realistic expectations about your results, and should discuss important questions, such as;

  • How will we handle a multiple pregnancy, if it occurs?
  • How comfortable are we using donor eggs, sperm, and/or a surrogate, if necessary?
  • What will we do with extra embryos? (Extra embryos can be frozen and stored for future use.)
  • Are we emotionally prepared, in case the procedure isn’t successful?

The IVF Procedure

IVF describes a four-step process that involves fertilizing mature eggs in a laboratory setting, and then transferring the embryo(s) into the mother’s uterus. More specifically, each of the four steps consists of;

Ovarian Stimulation and Monitoring

Using various medications, including a follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), we’ll stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, and monitor their development through ultrasound imaging and blood tests.

Egg Retrieval

Once the eggs have matured, you’ll be placed under anesthesia and sedation while we retrieve them from each follicle using an extremely fine needle.

Fertilization

The male sperm is collected and processed, and the strongest, most active sperm are placed into the eggs in the laboratory.

Embryo Transfer

Under ultrasound guidance, the fertilized eggs, or embryos, will be transferred into the uterus, where the mother can carry the fetus to term.

Learn More about Your Fertility Treatment Options

To learn more about in vitro fertilization, or any of our advanced assisted reproduction options, contact our New Orleans fertility specialists today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person, and helping you realize your dreams of starting a healthy, happy family.