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In Vitro Fertilization is not a single procedure: it’s a whole journey with several procedures that take place over the course of a cycle. IVF is a universal fertility procedure of assisted reproduction, a complex series of procedure that helps with fertility or prevent genetic problems and helps with the conception of a child. In the IVF treatment, the fertilization of the egg happens outside of a woman’s body, in a laboratory,  in order to create an embryo.

Firstly, Ovaries are stimulated to grow multiple follicles by administering “fertility drugs”. At the same time, ultrasound monitoring of the follicle number and growth along with blood hormone levels determine when a single injection matures the eggs. Then, while the patient is under light anaesthesia, the fertility doctor, with a small needle, takes the eggs from the ovaries fertilizes them with sperm in a specialized laboratory. After the fertilization takes place, the eggs are developed into embryos and three to five days later the doctor places the embryos back into the uterus.

As part of your fertility plan, you may start medication or injections before the first day of the cycle. The healthcare provider should be able to determine this for you.

Step 1: The first day of your period is the first official day of your IVF. Every woman’s body is different so the fertility nurse should be able to help you determine day 1.

Step 2: The second phase is “Stimulating your ovaries” which starts on day 1. In a  normal monthly cycle the ovaries normally produce one egg. On this IVF stage you will take medication that will encourage the follicles on your body to produce more eggs. The most common fertility medications are follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).

Step 3:  Egg retrieval is stage 3 of IVF treatment. It is the day where the eggs are collected from the ovaries and you will get an anesthetic injection. You will stay asleep for approximately 30 minutes. The doctor will then be able to do an ultrasound and observe how many eggs are there before the retrieval. The recovery after this stage happens 30 minutes after the end of this procedure and you can walk away on your own.

Step 4: If you are a couple, the male will produce a sample of fresh sperm on the same day of the egg retrieval.

Step 5: This is the fertilization stage where the fertility specialist presents the eggs they have retrieved, still in the fluid from the follicles of the ovaries. The scientists use specialized microscopes to find the eggs in the fluid so they can be removed. It’s crucial the eggs are fertilized quickly. The eggs and sperm are placed in the laboratory dish. They have the chance to find each other and fertilize like they would naturally within your body.

Step 6: On the embryo development stage the sperm fertilizes the egg and it becomes an embryo. The scientists place the embryo in the incubator where there are conditions that help the embryo to grow and develop.

Step 7: The nurse will contact you when the embryo develops in the lab so you are ready for it to be transferred into your uterus.

The embryo transfer it is a very simple process, very similar to a smear test and it takes approximately 5 minutes. It is happening while you are awake.

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