In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the many therapies available to those with trouble conceiving. IVF entails extracting an egg from a woman's ovaries and fertilizing it in a laboratory with sperm. The fertilized egg, known as an embryo, is returned to the woman's womb after fertilization to grow and develop. If you've decided to seek the help of a fertility specialist, which is a significant step toward reaching your family-building goals, continue reading our blog.
What Is the Duration of the IVF Cycle?
IVF treatment begins only after basic fertility testing has been completed. Standard components of fertility testing include ovarian reserve, hormone levels assessment, uterine cavity examination, and semen analysis. Specific medical conditions may need lifestyle adjustments that will increase the likelihood of a future pregnancy and make conception easier. When you include a 30-day preconception health program and fertility testing, the entire treatment can take up to as many as 60 days or at most 4 months.
What Are the IVF Stages?
- (Stage 1) Oral Contraceptives - Birth Control Patients undergoing IVF treatment must use oral contraceptives for 10-14 days before starting fertility medications, which may seem counterintuitive. Oral contraceptives have been shown to increase the number of eggs available for retrieval, guarantee follicles mature as a cohesive group, and improve ovarian health during IVF therapy when taken before ovarian stimulation.
- (Stage 2) Fertility Medication - Stimulation IVF patients begin fertility medication injections 9-11 days after concluding an oral contraception cycle. These fertility medications include naturally occurring hormones that help your follicles develop and mature (eggs are housed within the follicles). The number of follicles and size determines how many mature eggs are available for retrieval. You should plan to see your fertility clinic every 5 days for a vaginal ultrasound. With good sonography, repeated hormonal tests are unnecessary.
- (Stage 3)Retrieval of Eggs In a half-day procedure called egg retrieval, the eggs are extracted from the ovarian follicles and sent to an IVF facility to fertilize and divide. At Rotunda CHR, we track the embryos' progress. Our embryologist watches them for five days as they divide and proliferate before shifting from the "zygote" stage to the "blastocyst" stage. According to studies, embryos placed into the uterus at the blastocyst stage have a higher success rate than those transplanted on day three (while they are still in the "zygote" stage).
- (Stage 4)Embryo Transfer The embryo will be implanted back into the uterus on the fifth day following fertilization. (The day the eggs are gathered is known as day zero.) The embryo transfer is a procedure that lasts roughly 20 to 30 minutes. During this painless procedure, you will be awake, and no anesthesia will be necessary. We will wait to see if the embryo implants in the uterus, which can take anywhere from 9 to 10 days depending on the embryo's maturity at the transfer time.
When an Embryo Is Transferred, How Long Does It Take to Implant?
The embryo implants in 1-3 days after the transfer. However, you won't know if you're pregnant until you undergo a pregnancy blood test in the clinic nine days after the transfer.
IVF Processes with Weeks
An average IVF cycle takes about 6 to 8 weeks from consultation to transfer, but depending on the specific circumstances of each, the path is similar for every patient. What varies is how your body responds at each stage. However, the IVF process starts weeks earlier. IVF is not a single treatment but a series of procedures. IVF processes with weeks:
- Week 1: First Visit and Consultations- This week is full of discussions, thinking, planning, etc. In the initial consultation, the clinic will obtain an extensive medical history from you and your partner and answer any questions or concerns you might have at this stage. Feel free to come up with a long list; it is important that you feel well-informed and comfortable before you commit to treatment. In clinical coordinator consultation, the doctor will review your diagnosis and the details of your desired treatment plan at this appointment. This is where much of the essential planning is done. You will learn to self-administer the medications used in an IVF cycle and schedule key procedures. Financial consultation is a vital part of any discussion because good counseling and advice are one way to help minimize stress. At this consultation, you will review your options for insurance coverage. If IVF is not covered, many other flexible options exist, including IVF financing.
- Week 2-4: Pretreatment Preparation for IVF- This is where everything starts. Comprehensive lab tests give a coherent picture of your fertility so that your fertility experts can offer you a customized IVF protocol. Pre-IVF testing includes:
- A Blood Panel
- Ultrasound Scans
- Infectious Disease Screening
- Uterine Evaluation
- Male Fertility Testing (including sperm analysis)
- Week 5: Medication and Monitoring- Once you are done with the birth control pill, you will shift to a controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) process. The ultrasound test will perform to evaluate the uterus and ovaries, and once you come off all clear, you can start. COH process is divided into two parts:
- Fertility Medications: This process takes two weeks. Oral fertility medications like Clomid or injectable follicle stimulation hormones stimulate the follicles in your ovaries to mature more eggs than they typically would, leading to a normal cycle. The goal is to produce at least 4 eggs using medicines.
- Monitoring Visits: During the fertility medication phase, ultrasound and blood tests are performed to keep a close eye on developing your follicles and eggs. This is the most time-consuming part of the IVF process, requiring an average of 4-7 visits.
- Week 7: Triggering, Egg Retrieval, and Fertilization- After 10-12 days of medication, once the monitor shows that your follicles have grown to an appropriate size, it is the exact time to trigger the final maturation of the eggs with hCG or with a GnRH analog, and then schedule the ultrasound egg retrieval after 36 hours.
- Egg Retrieval: Anesthesia medication is given through IV for egg retrieval in the clinic in a favorable environment. This is a day procedure with a minimum risk. Your partner’s specimen is collected on the same day as your egg retrieval, or the sperm could be frozen earlier.
- Egg and Sperm Are Combined in the Lab: In this step, fertilization occurs, and embryos are created. Many options are available here to improve the scope of a successful pregnancy.
- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI): It is a good option when male infertility is a factor. In this procedure, a single healthy sperm is injected directly into an egg.
- Embryos Are Evaluated for Transfer: Within 3-6 days after fertilization, embryos are evaluated for transfer. Regular monitoring helps experts decide which embryos have the best chance of surviving transfer, and IVF Lab.
- Embryo or Blastocyst Transfer: Around 3 days after fertilization, embryos are ready for transferring the embryo or blastocyst into the uterus. This process is done via a thin, flexible plastic tube, which is carefully passed through the opening in the cervix leading to the uterus interior. No sedation is required as this procedure is painless.
Things to Avoid While Undergoing IVF Treatment
While the chances of conceiving are detailed as per your particular case, a few things can improve the likelihood of conceiving:
- Don’t go for the procedure without getting a thorough idea of the process
- Say no to alcohol
- Avoid taking the stress
- Avoid consuming any form of caffeine
- Avoid not showing up on your appointment date
- Consult your doctor before taking any supplements
- In the case of OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome), drink around 3-4 liters of fluids to prevent it
- Avoid jerky movements, like jumping and skipping, as well as vigorous exercise
If you are looking for IVF treatment and are concerned about the time duration of the IVF process, contact us today. Rotunda is committed to assisting you with the best service in your convenient environment. We will provide you with the best IVF service.