IVF treatment cycle stages

What are the stages of an IVF treatment cycle?

A fresh IVF cycle consists of a medication regimen also referred to as a “stimulation protocol”, during which the eggs within follicles in the ovaries are grown as is the endometrial lining of the uterus. Monitoring the growth of follicles and the endometrial lining is performed by transvaginal ultrasound and when the oocytes (eggs) are ready, egg retrieval is performed. After the oocytes are isolated by the embryologist, the oocytes are fertilized by the male partner’s sperm either by conventional IVF (where 50,000-100,000 sperm are placed around each oocyte and the sperm) or by intracytoplasmic sperm injection, also known as ICSI (where a sperm with normal appearance is injected into the oocyte by the embryologist). The next day (day 1), the embryologist does a fertilization check to see how many embryos have formed. Embryos that have a normal appearance are observed and embryo transfer is performed on day 3 of embryo development or on day 5, depending on the quality of embryos. During the time between egg retrieval and embryo transfer, the female patient is taking estrogen and progesterone supplements in order to keep the endometrial lining stable and to optimize the chances for successful implantation. A blood draw to check a pregnancy test is done 2 weeks after egg retrieval.