How does IVF work?

I was wondering if people could explain the full process of IVF to me because I use to think that the parents just went to a clinic and the doctor… actually, I don’t even know exactly what I thought, but I saw a Youtube of parents doing IVF and I think every fortnight the mother got a needle and injected something rather into one side of her stomach and then the next fortnight into the other side of her stomach and kept doing that for several months?

It sounds like IVF is very complicated and a lot more time consuming than I thought it would be.

IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is a fertility treatment that is usually used by couples who have trouble conceiving on their own, or cannot conceive naturally (for example, lesbian couples.) Generally couples TTC on their own before doing IUI (intrauterine insemination), and if neither work they do IVF. Sometimes they go straight to IVF depending on what decision they make.

Process: What actually is IVF?

Part 1 - Health providers often predcribe birth control pills or estrogen to stop the development of ovarian cysts, to control the timing of the menstrual cycle, and to help maximize the number of mature eggs during a procedure called egg retrieval. You want many mature eggs so you have the option of creating as many embryos as possible. Some people are prescribed combination birth control pills (estrogen and progesterone), while others are given just estrogen.

Part 2 - Generally, only one egg is mature enough to ovulate and the rest disintegrate, but during IVF you get hormone injections that encourage all of the eggs during your cycle to mature in full at the same time. This usually results in more than one mature egg. The hormones given are tailored to each person and their specific medical history. Your ovaries response to the medication is monitored by ultrasounds and blood hormone levels. You can be monitored anywhere from daily to every two weeks. Most stimulation last between 8-14 days. The doctor will measure the size and number of your ovarian follicles to see how mature they are. When your eggs are ready for the final maturation, you will get a trigger shot that will finalize the maturation of your eggs in prep for the egg retrieval. This shot will be administered exactly 36 hours before the procedure.

Part 3 - After your egg retrieval your eggs will be fertilized and turned into embryos. On average, 70% of mature eggs will fertilize. For example, if 10 mature eggs are retrieved, about seven will fertilize. If successful, the fertilized egg will become an embryo. If there are an exceedingly large number of eggs or you don’t want all eggs fertilized, some eggs may be frozen before fertilization for future use.

Part 4 - Over the next 5-6 days the development of your embryos will be monitored very carefully. On average about 50% of embryos make it to the stage that is most suitable to be transferred into your uterus. All embryos that are suitable to be transferred to your uterus will be frozen for future use.

Part 5 - There are two different types of embryo transfers, fresh and frozen. They follow the same process. Fresh embryo transfer is when the embryo is transferred into your uterus just 3-7 days after the egg retrieval (it’s not been frozen, so it’s fresh), frozen embryo transfer is when the embryos are frozen and then thawed and transferred to your uterus. This is generally more common and it’s better to result in birth. Frozen embryo transfers can happen years after an egg retrieval.
For a frozen transfer you’ll take hormones to prepare your uterus for accepting the embryo. Generally the process is 14-21 days of oral medication and 6 days of injections. You will have 2-3 appointments during this time to monitor your uterus and hormone levels, when all is ready there you will be scheduled for an embryo transfer. The process is similar for a fresh transfer, but it happens in 3-5 days after the egg retrieval.
Embryo transfers don’t require anesthesia and are simple procedures. A speculum is placed within the vagina, and a thin catheter is inserted through the cervix into the uterus. A syringe attached to the other end of the catheter contains one or more embryos. The embryos are injected it the uterus through the catheter. The procedure typically takes less than 10 minutes.

Part 6 - If the embryo successfully implants itself into your uterus’s lining, you will become pregnant. Your doctor will use a blood test to determine pregnancy about 9-14 days after an embryo transfer

That’s the process of IVF! [name_f]Hope[/name_f] this helps! If any information is wrong I apologize, this is just the information I’ve gathered from couples online who I’ve watched do IVF, and I am only a teenager with interest in the subject!


Thank you so much! This was very helpful and informative! :slight_smile:

I was wondering if you know if parents can decide what month they want to get pregnant in with IVF?

1 Like

Generally speaking, yes! You can decide when your embryo transfers are, but of course it’s not guaranteed to result in a pregnancy.

1 Like

Thanks so much! :slight_smile:

1 Like

You’re welcome!!

1 Like