In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
For pregnancy to occur, an egg must be fertilized by a sperm. When fertilization happens inside the body, it is called in vivo fertilization. When fertilization happens outside of the body, it is called in vitro fertilization, or IVF. IVF can help treat infertility in patients who have damaged fallopian tubes, male factor infertility, endometriosis, or unexplained infertility.
Since 1984, the Genetics & IVF Institute has helped thousands of patients have babies through assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF). Our IVF program offers you the following benefits:
- Our warm, compassionate physicians and staff are dedicated to providing you personalized, quality care each time you visit our practice.
- GIVF is a comprehensive fertility center that provides solutions to all of your fertility needs. Our beautiful, spacious practice provides comfort, privacy, and discretion as well as a full range of infertility treatment options.
- Since our inception, GIVF has been a pioneer and innovator in the diagnosis and treatment of infertility and in reproductive genetics.
How Does the IVF Process Work?
For pregnancy to occur naturally, an egg must be released from the ovary and united with a sperm. Fertilization normally occurs within a fallopian tube, which connects the uterus to an ovary. To understand IVF, it is helpful to understand the normal 28 day menstrual cycle.
With IVF, however, the union occurs in a laboratory after the eggs and sperm have been collected. Simply put, an IVF cycle is an exaggeration of the first half of your regular menstrual cycle, the follicular phase. The same things that occur during a normal menstrual cycle occur in an IVF cycle, and in the same order. However, instead of one follicle producing one egg, the goal is to stimulate multiple follicles in both ovaries, thereby producing multiple eggs.
The big difference between an IVF cycle and a regular menstrual cycle is that ovulation does not take place in an IVF cycle. Instead, the eggs are retrieved at the point of maturation and are fertilized in the IVF lab. Embryos are then transferred to the uterus to initiate pregnancy. Once the embryos are transferred back into the uterus, there is nothing distinguishable between embryos fertilized in the body or in an IVF laboratory.
Below are the five major steps of the IVF process in more detail:
- Monitor the development of ripening egg(s) in the ovaries. Fertility medications are prescribed to control the timing of egg ripening and to increase the chance of collecting multiple eggs. To monitor egg development, GIVF utilizes ultrasound examinations of the ovaries (a painless method of imaging the enlarging follicles containing the eggs), and the measurement of serial blood hormone levels. An injection of the hormone HCG is then precisely timed to cause final ripening of the eggs.
- Collect eggs. Retrieval of the eggs is performed transvaginally using a hollow needle guided by the ultrasound image, in a completely comfortable procedure under sedation and local anesthesia.
- Obtain sperm. The eggs aspirated from the ovarian follicles are immediately identified by embryologists and placed with the partner's or donor's sperm, which will have been carefully processed. If the sperm are considered less likely than usual to achieve fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) into each egg is performed using special micromanipulation equipment.
- Place eggs and sperm together in the laboratory, and provide correct conditions for fertilization and early embryo growth. The sperm and eggs are placed into incubators and examined carefully at intervals to ensure that fertilization and cell division have taken place, after which the fertilized eggs are then known as embryos.
- Transfer embryos into the uterus. Two to five days after egg retrieval, embryos are ready to be placed in the woman's uterus. Transfer of embryos at about 5 days post-retrieval is often referred to as blastocyst transfer. A speculum is inserted into the entrance of the uterus and the embryos, suspended in a tiny drop of fluid, are very gently introduced through a catheter into the womb, often under ultrasound guidance. The embryo transfer is followed by a brief period of rest. Subsequent blood tests and ultrasound examinations are used to determine if pregnancy has been successfully established.
Click here to learn more about an IVF cycle in greater detail.
IVF is enormously valuable for patients without fallopian tubes or with irreversible tubal blockage, infertility related to lowered sperm count, motility, or function (in association with ICSI), and many other causes of infertility, including endometriosis and unexplained infertility.
If donor sperm is needed, our on-site sperm bank, Fairfax Cryobank, provides a large selection of high quality, fully screened donor sperm. In fact, GIVF patients who choose donor sperm from Fairfax Cryobank can take advantage of free shipping and handling, as well as same day delivery. Click here to learn more about Fairfax Cryobank.
Our IVF Lab
Employing state-of-the-art equipment in a newly configured lab our embryologists use laser-based micromanipulation for assisted hatching and embryo biopsy.
GIVF’s embryologists work closely with your reproductive endocrinologist. You can be assured that the fertilization, development, and selection of embryos for transfer will be performed at the highest level of professional excellence. Patients can have confidence that GIVF’s expert team of embryologists can help turn their dream of having a child into a reality.
Click here or call 800.552.4363 or 703.698.7355 to schedule a fertility consultation at GIVF.