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Understanding the Steps in an IVF Treatment Cycle

Part of the IVF & Beyond For Dummies Cheat Sheet

If you need IVF to treat your infertility, your doctor will provide you with tonnes of information about what treatment entails. Here’s the short version of the steps involved in an IVF treatment cycle.

  1. Ovarian stimulation.

    Your doctor prescribes a course of drugs for you to take to stimulate your ovaries into hopefully producing 12 to 15 mature eggs.

  2. Monitoring of your drug response.

    To monitor the progress of your ovarian stimulation you undergo an ultrasound examination and blood tests.

  3. Egg maturation.

    Two days before your eggs are due to be collected you have a hormone injection, which triggers maturation of the eggs.

  4. Egg collection.

    You receive a light general anaesthetic for this simple, short procedure, and your doctor retrieves your eggs using an ultrasound-guided technique.

  5. Sperm production.

    On the day of egg collection, your partner provides a sperm sample.

  6. Fertilisation.

    The embryologist puts sperm and eggs together in the lab and, if all goes well, the eggs fertilise and early embryo development begins.

  7. Embryo transfer.

    Two to five days after egg collection, your doctor places one or two embryos in your uterus.

  8. Embryo freezing.

    If you have additional embryos suitable for use, they can be frozen and kept for future transfers.

  9. Pregnancy test.

    About two weeks after embryo transfer you have a blood test to find out whether the treatment worked.

    • If the test is positive, you have your first pregnancy scan two weeks later.

    • If the test is negative, you and your partner need to talk to your doctor and decide whether to try the treatment again.

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