In Vitro fertilization (IVF) Print E-mail
1main_1piedPhoto credit: Mark LaflammeThis procedure is generally used after several failed IUIs, because of blocked fallopian tubes, advanced age or any other infertility causes.

IVF refers to a laboratory technique in which mature oocytes (eggs) are exposed to sperm outside of the human body in order to produce fertilized eggs. First of all, both oocytes and sperm must be obtained from each partner and cleaned of any unwanted material. The sperm is then washed and brought to the ideal concentration for the fertilization of eggs. Once this is achieved, both the eggs and sperm are mixed in small droplets of specialized media in a small Petri dish. The dish is then placed in an incubator under controlled conditions to allow fertilization to occur. After about 18 hours, the embryologist will be able to assess the fertilization

However, an IVF fertility treatment (IVF cycle) refers to a complete process involving several steps:

icon_bullet Step 1: Both partners, if applicable, need to complete the basic routine investigation;

icon_bullet Step 2: A MOCK (simulation) transfer has to be performed in order to assure that, once we have good embryos, it will be possible and easy to transfer them into the uterine cavity (a full bladder is necessary for this procedure);

icon_bullet Step 3: An Ovarian Hyperstimulation (by fertility drugs, mostly hormones administrated by subcutaneous injections) will be prepared and monitored with the objective to collect many (average: 8 to 12) mature oocytes/eggs (in comparison to only one oocyte/egg that become mature in a natural menstrual cycle);

icon_bullet Step 4: A retrieval of the oocytes/eggs (vaginal surgery) by harvesting them with an ultrasound-guided needle (please refer to specific section on the retrieval);

icon_bullet Step 5: The fertilization of the harvested eggs in vitro done at the fertility laboratory in a Petri dish (please refer to above paragraph starting with IVF);

icon_bullet Step 6: The culture of the resulting embryos for three to five days (Please refer to the specific section on the culture of embryos);

icon_bullet Step 7: Finally, the transfer of 1 to 2 of these embryos/blastocysts into the uterus. A full bladder is necessary for this procedure;

icon_bullet Step 8: The cryopreservation of surplus good embryos after the transfer, if necessary.