In vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In vitro fertilization (IVF) has steadily gained popularity among fertility specialists and patients. Following your fertility evaluation, your Team RMI physician will determine whether IVF is the right treatment option for you.
What is involved?
The in vitro fertilization process is simple, in theory. In general, the process can be broken into 4 segments (1) getting ready for IVF (2) ovarian stimulation (3) oocyte retrieval and (4) embryo transfer.
During the “getting ready” stage, you will undergo any additional testing necessary prior to IVF—aside from general fertility testing, this will include an assessment of your ovarian cavity along with infectious disease screening for both you and your partner. It is also during this stage that you will sign consents for the IVF process and meet with your Team RMI physician to review your treatment plan.
During ovarian stimulation, the female partner, or donor, undergoes several days of injections to stimulate follicle development. During this time, she will be monitored at one of our office locations for blood work and ultrasound to assess response.
After the follicles have reached a certain stage in their development, an ultrasound guided oocyte retrieval will be performed, under anesthesia, to recover the eggs. On the same day, the eggs and sperm are combined in our laboratory (in vitro) rather than in the fallopian tube (in vivo), creating a fertilized embryo.
The embryos develop in vitro and are then placed in the uterus of the female patient or the surrogate, in a process known as an ultrasound guided embryo transfer (ET) several days after the retrieval. At RMI, we often recommend blastocyst (day 5) transfer, as healthy blastocyst transfer increases the chance for implantation and pregnancy and lowers the risk of multiple pregnancy. However, earlier stage embryo transfer is also considered depending on your clinical history and progress with IVF. The number of embryos transferred is dependent on the female partner’s age, whether or not the embryo underwent comprehensive chromosome screening, the stage of development of the embryo, and the quality of the embryo.
Who is eligible?
In general, those that are eligible for In Vitro Fertilization include those couples with multi – factor infertility, advanced maternal age or decreased ovarian reserve, tubal factor infertility, and male factor infertility, along with those couples who have failed more conservative fertility treatment. Other couples who warrant IVF are those who are planning to undergo preimplantation genetic screening and preimplantation genetic diagnosis testing of the embryos.
How long does it take and what are the chances for success?
From start to finish, the duration of the IVF process is dependent on the unique protocol designed for you by your fertility specialist.
While the process is relatively simple, and IVF itself is considered the most successful form of fertility treatment, a fertilized embryo does not necessarily mean a child will be produced. There are a number of issues that can arise, and it may take several attempts with in vitro fertilization at our Chicago-area centers for the embryo to lead to a live birth. Team RMI seeks to customize the treatment plan to the patient; mind, body and spirit. Talk to a Team RMI physician to not only find out if IVF is right for you, your lifestyle and your family, but to also review the chances for success based on your clinical history.