IVF: All of Your Questions Answered

You’ve hit a roadblock when it comes to starting or expanding your family. Perhaps you have fertility problems, you don’t have a partner, or you’re worried about passing on genetic defects. 

Peter L. Chang, MD, and his team of specialists at Noble Fertility Center in Manhattan’s Murray Hill have helped numerous couples conceive using IVF. Here are the answers to common questions about this procedure.

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the process of combining eggs and sperm in a lab, outside of the human body. The advantage of using IVF is that multiple eggs are fertilized at the same time, which increases the chances of producing a viable, healthy embryo. 

IVF is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that helps couples with fertility challenges. Other types of ART include using frozen eggs or sperm or donor eggs or sperm.

Why would I need IVF?

Couples and women who want to become pregnant don’t turn to IVF unless they have obstacles that prevent a natural pregnancy. The main reasons for IVF are:

IVF gives all types of ART procedures a better chance of success. With IVF, your fertility specialist can also test embryos produced to ensure that they’re healthy and free of chromosomal defects.

How do you retrieve eggs for IVF?

The first step in IVF is suppressing your egg development with daily injections for anywhere from 5-30 days. This step helps us control when and how you develop, ripen, and release mature eggs.

You’re given prescription drugs that stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs during your cycle. We use ultrasound imaging and blood tests to monitor the growth of the follicles that house the eggs to determine when they’re ready to harvest.

When your eggs are ready, we administer an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which gives your eggs a final boost of growth. If you have a male partner, he ejaculates on the day of your hCG injection and then abstains from ejaculation until we’ve retrieved your eggs.

To remove your eggs, Dr. Chang uses a sonogram to direct a needle through your vagina and into the ovarian follicles. You stay awake for the procedure, but we give you medication to keep you numb and pain-free.

How do you fertilize eggs for IVF?

On the same day of your egg retrieval, your partner provides a sample of sperm for fertilization. You also start taking the hormone progesterone every day, which helps your womb become ready for implantation and increases your chances of a successful, full-term pregnancy.

Fertilizing your eggs with your partner’s or donor sperm takes place in the lab. We know within one day whether your eggs were fertilized.

What happens to the embryos?

When your eggs are fertilized, they begin to divide and form embryos. We can test the embryos for genetic conditions at that time. We can also perform a procedure called assisted hatching (AH) if an embryo needs help breaking free from its shell.

After one or more embryos has reached the blastocyst stage, Dr. Chang transfers them to your womb. You can opt to freeze any remaining embryos for future IVF cycles. If you become pregnant during your first cycle and deliver a healthy baby, the frozen embryos can be used to create that baby’s siblings.

How often is IVF successful?

A reproductively healthy couple has about a 20% chance of getting pregnant in any month. With IVF, success rate varies by maternal age:

Sometimes, a woman’s eggs don’t fertilize even when exposed to millions of sperm during the IVF process. In such a case, we may inject a sperm cell directly into each egg to help form an embryo. We also offer an advanced procedure called Embryoplasty™, which repairs embryos to increase their health and their chance of developing into a baby.

What happens if IVF isn’t successful the first time?

If you don’t get pregnant after your first egg retrieval, you can try again with other eggs and embryos from your first retrieval.

Do you have more questions? We can answer them. Find out if IVF is right for your family by contacting Noble Fertility Center today. Call our New York City office or use our online booking tool.

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