You began the getting-pregnant process with the expectation that success follows trying. The “what to expect” books and parenting guides you bought or received as well-meaning gifts didn’t include a chapter on infertility. Now you have arrived at the decision to pursue in-vitro fertilization (IVF).  A positive pregnancy test could be just weeks away.

Meanwhile, here’s what to expect as you pursue IVF treatment.


The history test

The first stage of IVF involves testing to determine how well your ovaries respond to fertility drugs. Have you undergone a procedure such as hysteroscopy to rule-out any physical barriers to pregnancy? Your doctor will discuss your history, his findings and a plan for your IVF treatment cycle.

A stimulating beginning

The IVF cycle begins only after 1) a sonogram confirms that the ovaries are free of cysts and large follicles and 2) blood tests confirm an ideal estradiol level. Once we successfully suppress the body’s natural cycle, it’s time to start stimulating the ovaries with gonadotropin fertility drugs. You’ll visit the office approximately every 1-3 days during this phase for sonograms and blood tests.

When sperm meets oocyte

Egg retrieval takes place after 8-12 days of stimulation. You’ll receive IV sedation for the 30-minute in-office procedure and will go home after about 2 hours. Embryologists combine egg and sperm in the lab (in-vitro) and will report to you within 24 hours. Hopefully, one or more of the eggs will successfully fertilize to create a single cell zygote, or embryo.

Waiting for results

The embryo transfer occurs in the doctor’s office 3-5 days after the egg retrieval. Expect to enjoy 3 days of rest. We’ll provide luteal phase support before you return to the doctor’s office for a pregnancy test, 14 days after the transfer.

Fertility patients take comfort in the fact that IVF minimizes uncertainty. A fertility specialist, support staff and highly skilled embryologists manage the IVF cycle down to every microscopic detail. You’ve experienced chronic disappointment, but IVF can bring new life to your expectation of becoming a parent.

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