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Video:Behind the Scenes of IVF

with Dr. Ingrid Rodi

IVF is a common treatment for infertility that involves stimulating the ovaries. Get an overview of how IVF works in this video from About.com.See Transcript

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Transcript:Behind the Scenes of IVF

Hi, I'm Dr. Ingrid Rodi and I am a specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility with RodiMD.com. Today I am here on behalf of About.com to give you a look behind the scenes of IVF.

IVF: Ovarian Stimulation

If you get to the point where you are considering IVF, it is good to have an idea of what the process involves. The first step, after all the preliminary testing, is what is called ovarian stimulation. The purpose of stimulating the ovaries is to mature many eggs, rather than the one or two we mature on our own. The woman takes injections of gonadotropins (FSH and sometimes LH) for approximately 10 days.

IVF: Trigger Shot

During that time she has ultrasound evaluations and hormone determinations to fine tune the process. When the follicles are mature, the woman receives a trigger shot, to start the final phase of the maturing process. Approximately 36 hours after the trigger shot, the woman is given a light anesthetic. The eggs are removed under ultrasound guidance through the vagina. The eggs are collected in a test tube and the test tubes are handed to the embryologist in the lab. The eggs are then counted and prepared for fertilization.

IVF: Fertilization

Fertilization is accomplished either by putting the partner's sperm in the dish with the eggs, or by injecting one sperm into each egg (ICSI). The next day the embryos are checked for signs of fertilization. If the embryos are going to be transferred on the third day, the embryos will have approximately 8 cells. If the decision is made to wait until the fifth day, the embryos will have approximately 100 cells. At that point they are called blastocysts.

IVF: Embryo Transfer

The embryo transfer is usually done with some sedation and only rarely under anesthesia. The embryo is placed in the uterus, often under ultrasound guidance. The woman then rests for up to an hour, before going home to rest for one to two days. The pregnancy test is done approximately 14 days after the retrieval. Once the test is positive, the levels of pregnancy hormone, estrogen and progesterone are monitored for 2 weeks. After that, the embryo can be seen on ultrasound.

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