Common Questions and Answers About in Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
Today, infertile couples and individuals have more options than ever before. Ohio Reproductive Medicine in Columbus, Ohio is the oldest and only fertility clinic in Central Ohio. We have decades of experience, stellar success rates, and state-of-the-art facilities to assure our patients are comfortable, confident in our services.
1. What Is IVF?
In Vitro Fertilization is assisted reproductive technology where the egg and sperm are combined in a lab, to create a fertilized egg. The fertilized egg is incubated and grows into an embryo. 3-5 days after fertilization, a selected embryo is transferred to the woman’s uterus where it will hopefully implant in the lining, and develop into a fetus that will become a healthy infant. Extra embryos can be frozen for future use, or used in an IVF cycle.
2. What Is an IVF Cycle?
The initial IVF cycle includes the following steps:
- Ovarian Stimulation – The intended mother or egg donor receives hormone therapy to stimulate the production of multiple eggs.
- Egg retrieval – The eggs are retrieved from the ovary.
- Sperm is provided by the intended father or a donor.
- The sperm and eggs are combined in the lab for fertilization.
- Fertilization occurs and embryos are created.
- The embryos are incubated to grow.
- The most viable embryo(s) chosen are for implantation.
- 3-5 days after fertilization, the selected embryo is transferred to the uterus of the intended mother or a gestational carrier.
- The remaining embryos are frozen for use in the future.
- Then you wait two weeks to see if the embryo survives the transfer, implants in the uterus. A pregnancy test confirms you are pregnant!
3. What Happens if the First Cycle Does Not Result in Pregnancy?
Subsequent IVF cycles involve the transfer of a frozen embryo and waiting to see if pregnancy results.
4. How Many Embryos Will Be Transferred?
Because of the potential health risks associated with multiple births, most fertility experts agree that only one embryo should be transferred at a time. The remaining embryos can be frozen for future use.
5. Are Success Rates Higher for Frozen or Fresh Eggs?
Due to improved Vitrification technology (freezing of eggs and embryos), success rates are equal for fresh and frozen embryos, and eggs in women under the age of 35.
6. Which Is Better Fresh or Frozen Embryos?
Studies indicate an advantage with frozen embryos due to the ability to test for genetic abnormalities using PGS or PGD.
7. Is It True That Using Frozen Embryos Is Less Expensive Than Fresh Embryos?
Yes, cycles that use frozen embryos usually are less expensive and less invasive than cycles using fresh embryos.
8. What Is PGS and PGD?
Pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) of the embryo will identify chromosomal errors and genetic mutations that would not be likely to lead to a healthy pregnancy. PGS will be recommended for couples or individuals who have a family history or are at risk for genetic problems. It is also valuable to help couples who have unexplained infertility. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) tests for specific genetic conditions before transfer.
9. Are There Other Advantages To Freezing?
- Yes, in the event of a need for repeated cycles, using frozen embryos can reduce the stress and anxiety of the process.
- Repeated ovarian stimulation to obtain fresh embryos, requires additional hormone stimulation and egg retrieval, which can increase the risk of the negative side.
- Avoiding repeated ovarian stimulation gives the woman a chance to let her hormones return to normal before implantation, which increases the chance of implantation and embryo development.
- Egg freezing allows a woman to preserve her fertility for a future time when she is ready to have a baby.
10. What Are Success Rates and How Do You Judge Them?
Success rates differ depending on the age of the woman, the medical conditions of the parties, and the use of donor eggs. You can find national statistics at www.sart.org.
At Ohio Reproductive Medicine in Columbus, Ohio we understand infertility is an intensely private struggle filled with frustration and uncertainty. When you determine you need help, you can count on our board-certified reproductive endocrinologists to provide you with effective, supportive, compassionate care.