In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Explained

While many couples struggling with infertility recognize that they have the option of pregnancy through in vitro fertilization, the specifics of the procedure can be a bit of a mystery.

What actually happens during IVF?

While every clinic has its own unique IVF technique, generally, a woman undergoing the procedure is first given a medication for about two weeks to suppress her menstrual cycle.  Next, medications containing follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) are administered to stimulate the ovaries to grow multiple eggs. When a sufficient number of potentially mature eggs are available, a doctor performs a procedure known as “follicular aspiration” to retrieve this group of eggs from the ovary via a very thin needle.  Once the eggs are collected, they are combined with sperm in a controlled laboratory condition for fertilization.  The fertilized egg (embryo) divides and becomes a multicellular embryo.

Some couples may benefit from pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) and/or pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) testing which can screen an embryo for genetic disorders.

When fertilization occurs, doctors examine the resulting embryos and select one or more for implantation. The chosen embryo(s) are then placed on the lining of the uterus to provide an opportunity for embryo implantation into the uterine wall and result in pregnancy.

For numerous women, IVF leads to motherhood. According to the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technologies, women under the age of 35 have the highest chance of IVF resulting in a live birth. Success rates drop progressively for women in their late 30s; women over the age of 40 have a lower chance of IVF resulting in a live birth.

The procedure isn’t suitable for everyone, but IVF may be an option for who have blocked fallopian tubes, male factor subfertility, endometriosis or pelvic adhesions, unexplained subfertility, and couples who have been unsuccessful with techniques such as fertility drugs or intrauterine insemination.

“IVF has become more widespread in use worldwide and has helped many women achieve successful pregnancies,” says Dr. Shahryar Kavoussi, a highly respected fertility specialist who is board certified in Obstetrics & Gynecology as well as Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility. “IVF success rates have increased significantly over the last 15 to 20 years due to advances in culture media, technologies such as PGS/PGD in selected cases, and improvement in embryo cryopreservation techniques .”

A multi-award-winning physician, Dr. Kavoussi is the medical director of Austin Fertility and Reproductive Medicine/Westlake IVF, a unique institution that is the only private fertility center in the country to offer complete couples care from an in-house medical team that includes fellowship trained specialists in both male and female infertility. He personally provides patients with a variety of fertility treatments, including IVF.

Request a personal infertility consultation with Dr. Shahryar Kavoussi by contacting Austin Fertility and Reproductive Medicine/Westlake IVF at (512) 444-1414.