When turning to fertility treatments, it is common to have numerous questions about in vitro fertilization (IVF) and its whole process. Given its high success rate, IVF treatments have sparked interests for millions of people around the world looking for a new path to parenthood.
Our goal at Reproductive Medical Sciences Center is to give you a sense of confidence as you start this great journey. In this guide, we will keep you informed on what to expect before, during, and after this endeavor. We have gone steps ahead to ensure that frequently asked questions about the IVF treatment are fully covered in the most transparent and comprehensive way.
Understanding Your Infertility
Our medical team has been around for over thirty years, gaining unequivocal expertise in the field. At Reproductive Sciences Medical Center, your wellbeing is our priority and top concern. To fully understand your fertility and concerns, our physician’s will conduct a comprehensive assessment test to evaluate your fertility needs. Through our combined experience of more than 150 years, we will be able to find the IVF treatment that suits you best.
Based on previous research and past experience, we have found that common causes of infertility include endometriosis, genetic disorders, and unhealthy sperm. However, we treat each case with a different approach since some require specialized attention and everyone is unique. Choosing to begin IVF treatment can be quite nerve wracking and confusing, so we have prepared a simplified guide on the process.
Communication between the healthcare provider and the intended parent is important for the success of treatment. Therefore, you and/or your partner will begin with an initial consultation with our skilled providers to discuss your family goals. Moreover, the consultation will go over your medical history, past IVF efforts, and finances.
At Reproductive Sciences Medical Center, we help you familiarize yourself with our personalized care services to help you build up the much-required confidence in the IVF treatment through our consultation program. We carry out one-on-one consultations at our IVF clinic based in San Diego. If you would like to schedule your initial consultation you may call us at 858-436-7186 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule an appointment.
The IVF Treatment is not an event but rather a process. To understand your body and possible infertility, we guide your through hormone testing and analyses. We carry out blood assessment tests in the safest and most reliable way are out onsite, state-of-the-art laboratory in San Diego, Here, blood samples are drawn to determine hormone levels whilst pelvic ultrasounds are conducted to determine the quantity of viable eggs in each ovary. By carrying out these tests, we will be able to administer you with the best treatment options contrary to a one-fits-all approach. These tests include but are not limited to:
- The Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) testing: AMH is the best indicator of a woman’s egg supply (eggs responsible for fertility). A high level of the AMH hormone in the blood means that your ovarian reserve is strong and has increased the supply of eggs. Low levels of AMH, on the other hand, indicate a decreased ovarian reserve.
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) testing: As noted earlier, one of the most common conditions affecting fertility are complications in the woman’s uterus. Given the sensitive role played by the uterine cavity and fallopian tubes in conception, having regular scans on them is necessary. We carry the latest technology and house an advanced lab to ensure these tests are conducted with the best technology available.
- Semen Analysis: It is important to carry out semen analysis to determine the quality and quantity of sperm in males. The volume, movement, concentration and shape of the sperm are analyzed through different tests.
Who needs IVF treatment?
After these diagnostic tests are carried out and completed, our physicians will review the treatment options that best suits your fertility and personal needs. There are a variety of treatment options such as hormone medications, reproductive surgery and IVF. Women with tubal ligation or men with severe male factor infertility will turn to IVF as their first line of treatment.
Patients suffering from tubal ligation will have IVF as their primary treatment option since it can result in pregnancy by bypassing the Fallopian tubes. Men suffering from severe infertility, on the other hand, can rely on IVF treatments that aid in conception. For example, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a procedure that requires only one sperm to fertilize an egg. During the procedure, the sperm cell is injected directly into the cytoplasm of a woman’s egg, eliminating the need for the sperm to travel and break through the barrier itself.
For other patients free from these conditions, they will turn to less complex treatments such as the Intrauterine Insemination or hormone therapies before transitioning to IVF treatments. However, the basic treatment is marred with success limitations since statistics have proven that after four treatment cycles, the success rates decrease rapidly. For this reason, our medics prefer the IVF treatment since it drastically increases pregnancy success rates. What’s more, it also covers patients diagnosed with endometriosis, ovulatory disorders, old age, and severe infertility.
Procedures Involved in IVF Treatment
Through our IVF Program, patients have a new hope to achieve pregnancy and their dream of a larger family. Starting the IVF treatment process is an exciting experience, especially given that most patients have previously tried other treatments leading to years of failed conceptions. However, our physicians at RSMC provide you with specialized care and demonstrate compassion to your needs to ensure the treatment is a success. To prepare you for the process, we prepared a step-by-step breakdown of what to expect when subjected to IVF treatment, helping you feel at ease and in control
Step One: Stimulation
During a complete ovulation cycle, the ovulatory reserve normally produces one mature egg per month. With such a constrained supply of mature eggs, fertilization becomes harder to control. But when you are placed under the IVF treatment, our aim is to produce as many mature eggs as possible. This ensures that the probability of fertilization is as high as possible.
Inside our IVF laboratory, you will be injected with medications composed of the Luteinizing Hormone (LH) and Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH), which are hormones naturally produced by the body throughout the cycles. The medication is administered continuously for 8 to 14 days. During this cycle of medication, you are required to regularly check in with your physician who closely monitors you through blood work and transvaginal ultrasound. The transvaginal ultrasound, also known as the endovaginal ultrasound, measures the growth of the egg follicles and the thickness of the uterus wall. For this phase to be considered as a success, the sizes of the two should be increasing rapidly. Bloodwork, on the other hand, is used to determine the levels of estrogen or estradiol. High levels of these hormones indicate the maturity of your eggs.
The final stage in the stimulation process before eggs are retrieved involves the trigger shot. Based on the protocol you will be subjected to, you will either have a Lupron or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) trigger shot. They facilitate the full maturation of follicles while setting ovulation in motion.
Step 2: Egg Retrieval and Sperm Collection
The egg retrieval process is done in the laboratory at our San Diego location where our fully accredited physicians utilized the latest technology and advanced equipment. Before we proceed, our anesthetist will review your medical history before he/she places you on IV. This ensures that your body will have no adverse reactions to the anesthesia.
The egg retrieval process normally takes up to 30 minutes during which a needle is guided into each ovary to remove the IV fluids together with eggs from each follicle. To guarantee easy and safety during this procedure, an ultrasound is used to monitor and visualize all the steps taken. After completion of the procedure, you will be back on your feet within 30 minutes, although you will be encouraged to not immediately engage in tasks such as driving yourself home.
While the woman is undergoes egg retrieval, the male partner is to collect a fresh semen sample. Once the sample is college the sperm are analyzed, washed and prepared for insemination. In certain cases, the male partner’s frozen sperm sample or a donor sample is used.
Step 3: Fertilization
At Reproductive Sciences Medical Center, we have fully embraced technology in all our undertakings. Immediately following the retrieval, the eggs are sorted out and the journey towards fertilization begins. Based on the quality of sperm produced and collected, there are two ways through which fertilization can take place: Conventional Insemination and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).
If placed under Conventional Insemination, we will assign you with an embryologist who carries out assessment tests on the retrieved sperm samples to isolate the high-quality sperm. From there, the sperm is then incubated together with the mature eggs in a Petri dish.
With ICSI, the embryologist injects one healthy sperm into the cytoplasm of each egg, which bypasses the need for the sperm to cross the cytoplasm by itself. This treatment is ideal for many with severe male factor infertility. In most cases, ICSI is planned in advance though it is unanticipated at times. The decision on whether to switch to ICSI is typically based on your physician’s advice.
Typically, the development of embryo begins immediately when fertilized eggs are incubated. Our embryologists are always in place to monitor and take notes on the embryo development process. In some cases, our San Diego fertility center places embryos into an EmbryoScope. This gives room for the close monitoring of the embryos without necessarily removing them from the incubators. On the second day, you can see a developed 2-4 cell embryo. After at least five days, the embryo enters the Blastocyst stage.
It is also during this stage that you get to know whether your embryo will have future chromosomal disorders through Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS). PGS determins the overall chromosomal normalcy in embryos to ensure that the embryo has normal chromosome numbers. Screening for such helps prevent diseases, miscarriages, and implantation failure.
Step 4: Embryo Transfer
The embryo transfer is one of the most important phases in in vitro fertilization. Here, your doctor will have to ensure that they evaluate and implant the sperm with the highest quality. A physician will then transfer the blastocyst to your uterus on the fifth day or later of its development.
Unlike other procedures mentioned above, this one takes less time and requires no anesthesia. That said, you will, however, have to adhere to strict instructions given to you by your nurse. For example, you must have a full bladder before the transfer and will be administered with a fluid 30 minutes before your scheduled transfer. When the long-awaited time comes, your doctor will insert a catheter into your uterus and empty the embryos with a puff of air. Your doctor will check and ensure the embryo was successfully released.
Step 5: The Pregnancy Test
As tempting as it may be, we highly advise you not to carry out home pregnancy tests since they may give false results. You will be expected to return to the clinic two weeks after implantation for a blood pregnancy test. The pregnancy test is commonly referred to as a “beta test” because it measures a beta chain portion of the hCG hormone which is naturally produced by the developing embryo. At this time, your doctor will hopefully present great news. In the case that the cycles was unsuccessful, you and your doctor will be able to discuss next steps to make sure you achieve the family of your dreams.
The IVF Treatment Cost
We fully understand that the IVF treatment is an expensive course due to its high success rates. For this reason, we have measures in place to ensure that you continue this process stress-free. Through our guaranteed plan and multiple financing options, you can rest at ease knowing that your finances are well taken care of. What’s more, we also offer exclusive Shared Risk 100% Refund Program.
Reproductive Sciences Medical Center wishes to congratulate you through the bold steps you have taken towards achieving your parenthood dream. With the information we provided above, it is our hope that frequently asked questions about IVF have been answered. However, should you have more questions, please feel free to contact us today on (858) 436-7186. If you’re ready to grow your family through IVF services, schedule a complimentary consultation with us.