In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
The in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure at Houston Fertility Institute involves hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries to mature eggs, which are then retrieved through aspiration. Fertilization of the eggs takes place in our IVF laboratory in Houston. The resulting embryos are nourished in an incubator and, at a predetermined stage of development, transferred into the uterus to continue normal fetal growth.
One of the best-known treatments for infertility, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) is often a highly effective solution for both female and male factor infertility. For exceptional in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment, you can trust the doctors and staff of Houston Fertility Institute, who maintain exceptionally high success rates through a combination of advanced knowledge and state-of-the-art treatments.
Although it was originally designed for treatment of women with tubal disease, in-vitro fertilization (IVF) can help couples overcome various types of infertility, especially couples who have not experienced success with less invasive infertility treatments. Suitable IVF candidates may include those who have:
- Blocked fallopian tubes
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Cervical mucus problems
- Male factor infertility
- Unexplained infertility
- Genetic diseases (that can be screened with PGD genetic testing)
The In-Vitro Fertilization Process
A typical IVF cycle at Houston Fertility Institute involves four main stages, which a physician will explain in detail to you:
Stage One: Ovarian Stimulation
Like ovarian induction, ovarian stimulation for IVF, also referred to as controlled ovarian hyperstimulation, is designed to stimulate the maturation of ovarian follicles, which contain an egg that they release during ovulation. Ovarian stimulation involves the use of fertility medications that promote the simultaneous maturation of multiple follicles. During the ovarian stimulation stage, the woman’s progress is monitored with hormone testing and ultrasound.
Stage Two: Egg Retrieval
Before the eggs can be retrieved from their follicles, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), a fertility medication that acts to stimulate ovulation, must be administered. Approximately 36 hours later, the eggs can be harvested using an ultrasound-guided aspiration technique. This procedure is performed under anesthesia, so there is no discomfort.
Stage Three: Fertilization and Cell Division
The eggs are then fertilized by sperm, taken from either the male partner or a donor, that has been analyzed and specially prepared. With couples who are undergoing IVF at least partly because of male factor infertility, the chances of fertilization may be increased by using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), during which an individual sperm is injected into each individual egg.
The fertilized eggs are called embryos. Starting as a single cell, the embryo undergoes rapid cell division. By the fifth day, the embryo has approximately 100 cells. Fifth-day embryos are known as blastocysts. Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) may be performed on one or two cells taken from the embryos for couples who carry a genetic disorder. This test allows for the transfer of only those embryos which are the healthiest.
Stage Four: Embryo Transfer
Embryo transfer may be one of two types: three-day transfer or blastocyst transfer. The procedures differ only in the level of development of the embryo prior to transfer. The embryos are passed through a slim catheter into the uterus.