What To Expect When Undergoing In Vitro Fertilization Treatment

Having a baby is a dream that many couples have, and discovering that there are problems with a woman's fertility can be devastating. Luckily, technology has advanced over the past few decades, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) techniques are now often used to help a woman have a healthy pregnancy. If you're considering IVF, continue reading to learn more about what to expect during the process:

Meet with a Fertility Specialist

If you are having problems conceiving and your OB/GYN has reason to believe that you may be experiencing underlying fertility issues, you will be referred to a fertility specialist. Your fertility specialist may do an exam and run several tests to learn more about the primary cause of infertility. If you are a good candidate for IVF, your fertility specialist will guide you through the procedure and closely monitor your progress.

Drug Therapy

In most cases, a woman undergoing IVF will need to take hormonal medication for several weeks in order to suppress ovarian production. At a certain point in your cycle, your fertility specialist will instruct you to start follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). This is an injectable hormone that stimulates egg production and can cause your body to release several eggs.

Egg Retrieval

Taking FSH gives your doctors several different eggs to work with and each egg will be closely graded and examined after it is removed. In order to remove the eggs from your body, a procedure called follicular aspiration is done by your doctor. During this procedure, a hollow needle goes through your cervix and into your ovaries to remove the mature eggs. Sedation is used during follicular aspiration, so you should not experience a lot of pain.

Embryo Transfer

After your best eggs are selected, they are fertilized with the sperm of your partner or a donor. Your fertilized eggs will be allowed to divide for a few days, and then one or more will be placed in your uterus. During the transfer process, the eggs are placed on a catheter, and your fertility specialist will guide the catheter through your cervix and into your uterus. When inside the uterus, the eggs will be released so they can hopefully implant in the uterine lining. 

Following your embryo transfer, your fertility specialist will closely monitor your hormone levels through blood tests. Several days after the transfer, your hormone levels should be high enough to show if a pregnancy has occurred and the IVF procedure was successful. For more information, visit a clinic like Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine.