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In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Process

What is the IVF process step by step?

Arizona Center for Fertility Studies performs In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in the following fashion with informed consent:

  1. Step 1: Administration of fertility drugs to stimulate maturation of follicles (eggs) on the ovary(s).
  2. Step 2: Monitoring the growth and development of the follicle(s) in the ovary by ultrasound imaging.
  3. Step 3: Administration of hCG to complete the maturation of the eggs and allow timing of egg retrieval prior to ovulation, known as the "trigger" shot.
  4. Step 4: Ultrasound guided transvaginal aspiration of eggs. In rare cases laparoscopy may be used for egg retrieval.
  5. Step 5: Transfer of the eggs to the laboratory for microscopic examination and evaluation.
  6. Step 6: Addition of prepared sperm cells from a partner or a donor, to fertilize the eggs. In some cases ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) will be performed prior to incubation. If elected, assisted hatching will be done or preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD/PGS) prior to uterine transfer.
  7. Step 7: If fertilization is successful, a pre-determined number of embryos will be transferred into the uterus by a small catheter inserted through the cervix.
  8. Step 8: Prior to and after embryo transfer, a woman may be put on low dose prednisone, oral antibiotics and baby aspirin which has been shown to improve implantation and subsequent pregnancy rates.
Follicle Aspiration

Ultrasound picture prior to transvaginally aspiration of the follicles (black circles). The aspirating needle has an echogenic tip and always follows the dotted line on the machine. You can see the tip of the ultrasound needle just puncturing the upper left hand follicle. All follicles are systematically aspirated on each ovary and the follicular fluid is handed off to the embryologist for oocyte (egg) identification.
Transvaginal Oocyte Retrieval

Graphic representation of placement of the ultrasound probe with the attached biopsy guide for transvaginal aspiration of the follicles.

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