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What are the steps involved in an IVF cycle?

Over the past few years, IVF or in-vitro fertilization has become a widely recognized term. It is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART), which helps individuals and couples conceive. IVF clinics use a combination of medical and surgical treatments to fertilize the egg outside the body and subsequently implant the embryo into the uterus. This description however is an extremely simplified version of a highly complex procedure that spans over months, sometimes years. So it is very important to choose the right IVF centre in Gurgaon.

How is IVF done (Steps involved in IVF Process)?

IVF is an extremely complex and long procedure. Each course of treatment commonly called IVF cycles ends with the implantation of the embryo in the mother or the gestational surrogate. Many a time, more than one cycle is required for implantation that results in pregnancy. The steps involved in an IVF cycle are Ovarian stimulation, Egg retrieval from the ovary, Sperm retrieval (Seman collection), Fertilization, Implant embryo to the womb. We have explained these steps here, have a look into the IVF steps involved in the process: 

Also read: IVF: Most Frequently Asked Questions Answered

Step 1. Ovarian stimulation

 Prior to your treatment, your doctor will examine the health of your uterus and fallopian tube to rule out the requirement for any surgical intervention. You would also have to undergo an ultrasound to examine your ovaries and a blood test to check hormone levels in your body. You would then be given fertility medications that stimulate egg production. Your doctor will carefully decide the dosage and frequency of the fertility medicines to avoid ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome. As not all harvested eggs are viable for fertilization, your doctor would harvest multiple eggs.  

Step 2. Egg retrieval from the ovary

 A minor surgical procedure is done to harvest the eggs. Ultrasound imaging is used to guide a hollow needle through the pelvic cavity so as to retrieve the eggs. You would be sedated and monitored by an anesthesiologist to minimize discomfort during the procedure.  

Step 3. Sperm retrieval (Seman collection)

 Sperm sample is taken from the male partner. 

Step 4. Fertilization

The collected sperm is then used to fertilize the retrieved eggs in a laboratory dish. This process is called insemination. If the probability of fertilisation is low, a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is used. In ICSI, the healthiest sperm is carefully selected from the sample and injected directly into the egg. The eggs are then monitored to check for growth. If the cells start multiplying, the egg is considered to be fertilised and are called embryos.  

Step 5. Implant embryo to the womb

 Usually 3 to 5 days after fertilization, the embryos are implanted into the uterus. A small tube or catheter is used to transfer the embryos. This procedure is generally painless, although some women do complain about experiencing mild cramping. Implantation generally occurs around 6-10 days after egg retrieval in case the process is successful. 

About 12 days after egg retrieval, a blood test is done to confirm pregnancy. If you are pregnant, your doctor would refer you to an obstetrician to manage your pregnancy. If you are not pregnant, you will stop taking fertility medications and should get your period within a week. In case, you don’t start your period or are experiencing unusual bleeding you should contact your doctor immediately.  

Final thoughts

If you have to go through another IVF cycle, take a small break before trying again. Trying to conceive can have an extremely emotional and psychological strain on the individual or couple involved. So, make sure you take care of your mental and physical health while you go through these treatments. Talk to your doctor at length to understand your risk factors and suitability of treatment. 

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