In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most effective treatments to improve your chances of pregnancy. However, it is a complex process requiring a number of phases. The first phase, pre-treatment preparation, is geared to maximizing your chances of conceiving.

During the preparation phase, you and your partner undergo comprehensive medical screening where we pinpoint issues that prevent you from becoming pregnant. These tests will help us to customize IVF techniques to improve your chances of pregnancy.

Dr. Richard Dickey has been on the leading edge of IVF and fertility treatment for more than 30 years, performing the first in vitro fertilization procedure in the Gulf South in the 1980s. He founded The Fertility Institute of New Orleans in 1976 and now has offices in Mandeville, Metairie, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans, making access to IVF instructions and treatment convenient throughout the region.

IVF Pre-Treatment Phase

During the pre-treatment phase – the period leading up to a transfer cycle – we will perform a number of tests. The results will help us determine how to best tailor IVF to your needs, guiding us in selecting the proper dosing and types of medications for your treatment.

Pre-treatment steps include:

  • Medical History. During the initial consultation, we will discuss your medical history, including any medical or lifestyle factors that could affect fertility. For example, tobacco, alcohol, and caffeine all can affect fertility. You will also receive instructions about nutritional supplements, exercise, weight loss, and sexual behavior for the period preceding the transfer cycle.
  • Ovarian Reserve Testing. This is done to determine the quantity and quality of your eggs by taking a blood sample early in the menstrual cycle.  This can determine a woman’s fertility potential and identify any age-related declines. When combined with an ultrasound of the ovaries, this can help predict how your ovaries will respond to fertility treatments.
  • Uterine Cavity Exam. This allows a doctor to evaluate the uterine cavity. It can be done via ultrasound or by using a hysteroscope, which is a thin flexible tube with a small camera on the end. The hysteroscope is inserted through the vagina and cervix and into the uterus, allowing doctors to evaluate the uterus.
  • Infectious Disease Screening. You and your partner will be screened for infectious diseases, including HIV.
  • Semen Analysis. If not already done, a semen analysis will be performed to determine the quality and number of sperm produced.
  • Hormonal Evaluation. Some people have problems with thyroid issues or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which can both affect hormone levels and create problems during pregnancy. A hormone evaluation can help your doctor avoid complications.
  • Practice Embryo Transfer. In certain cases, we may perform a practice embryo transfer to determine if there will be any complications during an actual transfer. It will also help us determine what technique will have the greatest success in placing embryos in the uterus.
  • Injection Teaching. During the transfer cycle, you or your partner will need to administer some medications by injection. To alleviate anxiety about the injections, we offer instruction on administering the medicine.

After completion of the pre-treatment tests, you will meet with your doctor to review the results and the planned IVF treatment protocol. The protocol outlines the treatment plan from the start of the treatment through to the transfer and storage of embryos.

Next Steps

To learn more about IVF, pre-treatment steps, and the transfer cycle, please contact us for more information.