IVF is a four stage process
IVF is a four-stage process
Stage 1: Ovarian stimulation, monitoring, and ovulation triggering
Having a greater number of mature eggs available for fertilisation increases the chances
of pregnancy. Since a woman’s body normally releases only one mature egg every month,
certain medications are used to prevent an early release of eggs, while other medications are
used to stimulate the ovaries to develop more ovarian follicles. The medications also
control the timing of ovulation to make it easier to retrieve the eggs.
Stage 2: Egg retrieval (Egg Pick Up [EPU])
Once ovarian stimulation is complete and follicles have matured, your doctor will try to
retrieve as many eggs as possible, although all the eggs may not be used in the current IVF
cycle. Egg retrieval is performed under mild sedation, local anaesthesia or, in some cases,
general anaesthesia. The mature follicles are identified using ultrasound, and then a needle is
passed through the vagina to withdraw the fluid from the mature follicle with gentle suction.
The fluid is immediately examined under a microscope to see if an egg has been retrieved.
The process is repeated for each mature follicle in both ovaries. All retrieved eggs are removed
from the follicular fluid and placed in an incubator
Stage 3: Fertilisation
About two hours before the eggs are retrieved, a semen sample is collected from the male
partner and processed to select the strongest, most active sperm. The sperm are then placed
with the eggs in an incubator set to the same temperature as a woman’s body. The next day,
the eggs are examined under a microscope to determine whether fertilisation has occurred. If
it has, the resulting embryos will be ready to transfer to the uterus a few days later
Stage 4: Embryo
IVF fourth stage process Embryo transfer is not a complicated procedure and can be performed
without anaesthesia. The embryos are placed in a tube and transferred
to the uterus. The number of embryos transferred depends on a
woman’s age, cause of infertility, pregnancy history and other factors. If there are additional embryos that are of good quality, they may be frozen (cryopreservation) for later use.