IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is a procedure, used to overcome a range of fertility issues, by which an egg and sperm are joined together outside the body, in a specialized laboratory. The fertilized egg (embryo) is allowed to grow in a protected environment for some days before being transferred into the woman’s uterus increasing the chance that a pregnancy will occur.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) can be used to overcome a range of fertility issues and for many couples, gives them the best chance of having a baby.
Process of IVF:
- Induction of ovulation: it is the procedure in which the woman receives injections in order to stimulate her ovary and produce more than one egg that is usually produced in her natural cycle. The reception of the hormones is done daily from the 1st-2nd day of the menstrual cycle, until the day follicles are formed in size, about 18-22 cm on average. This process is monitored approximately every 2 days with an ultrasound and the measurement of estradiol, and in total it is calculated 4 to 5 times until the day of ovulation.
- Egg retrieval-sperm collection: The collection of the eggs from the ovaries transvaginally, with a rather simple procedure. Suction of the fluid from the follicles happens while the woman is under mild anesthesia, transvaginally with the help of ultrasound. Inside this fluid are the eggs which are then delivered to our embryologists. At the same time, the partner gives the sperm by ejaculation. This procedure can be done at a special place in the unit or at home.
- Fertilization: this procedure is carried out by our embryologists in the laboratory. After the careful processing of the eggs and the sperm, they are all placed together in petri dishes for culture, where fertilization takes place (IVF).
In some cases where sperm is weak or we have a small number of eggs, embryologists choose to perform ICSI, where the best sperm is selected under a microscope and the egg is fertilized directly. After fertilization, the embryos are cultured in the appropriate conditions in the laboratory until they are ready to be transferred back into the woman’s uterus.
- Embryo transfer: this is the last stage of IVF, i.e. the transfer and placement of the selected embryos into the endometrial cavity. This operation is usually done 48 or 72 hours after oviposition (second or third day of cultivation). If the embryos have been cultured to the blastocyst stage, embryo transfer is performed on the fifth or sixth day.
Learn more about IVF in Greece.