What to Expect During IVF Embryo Transfer
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that consists of a multiple-step procedure where healthy sperm and eggs are mixed together in a laboratory setting. Once fertilization is complete, the final step consists of IVF embryo transfer. Our New Orleans fertility treatment center has used IVF treatment to help many women and couples overcome difficulties with becoming pregnant. Our caring fertility specialists can explain the entire procedure and help you understand the specifics of each step that make up the process. If you have had trouble conceiving or would simply like to learn more about your fertility treatment options, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our doctors.
Preliminary IVF Steps
In the beginning stage of IVF treatment, the patient will start taking fertility medications. This allows the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, rather than the single egg that will typically be released. After approximately eight to ten days, when a sufficient supply of eggs have begun developing, another medication is administered that will cause the final maturation and release of the eggs.
These cells will be collected through a minimally invasive egg retrieval surgery and evaluated by one of our embryologists. The most viable eggs will be taken to the laboratory and prepared for fertilization with the highest quality sperm from the patient's partner or a donor. After successful fertilization and subsequent cell division, the healthy embryos will be ready for transfer to the mother's uterus.
The final step in the IVF procedure is embryo transfer. After fertilization, the cell will begin dividing and doubling in number. Healthy embryos may be transferred at any time between days one and six, but the procedure typically takes place between days two and four, when the embryos are at the two- to eight-cell stage.
To increase the chances of implantation in the uterus, multiple embryos are often transferred. However, some patients may be eligible for (and prefer to undergo) elective single embryo transfer (eSET). This technique provides more time for the embryos to develop before they are transferred. Giving the cells more time to divide allows them to develop into blastocysts which generally have a higher implantation rate. This allows just one embryo to be transferred. eSET has been gaining in popularity because multiple-birth pregnancies are associated with higher risks for the mother and babies.
The embryo transfer procedure can typically be performed in under 20 minutes. Anesthesia is generally not required, but patients are encouraged to rest for at least four to six hours following the transfer. An ultrasound will be used to guide the surgeon as they deposit the predetermined amount of embryos in a catheter that passes through the vagina and cervix into the uterus. Following the transfer procedure, patients will take supplemental progesterone or other medications to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Schedule an IVF Consultation
We have had great success using IVF for patients with varying causes of infertility. If you would like to learn more about the procedure or any of our other ART techniques, please contact our office to make an appointment with one of our fertility specialists.