IVF - In Vitro Fertilization
The IVF Process at Carolina Conceptions
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is what comes to mind for most people when they think of fertility treatments. An IVF cycle can sound and feel very overwhelming when you first begin considering this treatment.
Relax. We’ve got this process streamlined with success rates equaling some of the best clinics in the country. We will hold your hand every step of the way and keep things simple for you.
Multiple studies have shown reduced IVF pregnancy rates in obese women. Pregnancy complications are also more common in obese women. In the interest of maximizing the chance of a healthy pregnancy, we have a BMI cutoff of 37.5 for our IVF program
Medications, Monitoring & the Egg Retrieval
IVF begins with medication to encourage the ovaries to produce as many mature eggs as safely possible. While ovarian stimulation medications are being taken, we will monitor you in our office via labs and ultrasounds to make sure your body is responding appropriately. Medications will be adjusted as needed to encourage the best response from your ovaries.
Once your eggs are mature, we will schedule your egg retrieval. This is a 15-minute, in-office procedure done at Carolina Conceptions under light I.V. anesthesia. While you are having your egg retrieval, the sperm provided by your partner or donor will be prepared to optimize fertilization. After your eggs are retrieved, they will be injected with sperm (a process used by approximately 85% of our patients called ICSI- Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection- used to overcome low sperm counts, poor motility or morphology, or an inability to penetrate the egg) and placed in an incubator. After fertilization takes place, your embryos will be monitored constantly by our embryologists for appropriate growth for 3-6 days. We will be in touch with you throughout this time to let you know how the embryos are maturing.
The Embryo Transfer
The healthiest embryo will be transferred into the uterus, typically 5 days after the egg retrieval. Sometimes transfers occur on days 3 or 6, depending on embryo growth. If a couple has elected to have genetic testing done on their embryos, the embryos will be biopsied and frozen on day 5 or 6 for a future FET (frozen embryo transfer) cycle.
The “Two Week Wait” (10 days)
After the embryo transfer, we let nature take its course, and wait. Most patients call this the “Two Week Wait,” but the pregnancy test is actually done approximately 10 days after the embryo transfer. Elevated hormones and anxiety over whether or not the cycle worked, often make this an emotional time for couples as they wait to find out if their embryo implanted.
During this time, we suggest you find distractions you both enjoy to pass this period of waiting. Many women tend to overanalyze every sensation they feel in their bodies at this time. It’s so easy to question every twinge. Is it implantation, or am I losing the embryo? It is important to remember fertility drugs like progesterone can produce side effects similar to the sensations experienced in early pregnancy. As difficult as it can be, try to put these feelings out of your head until after your pregnancy test in our office.
It’s important to get rest and relaxation during this time. Studies have shown that bed rest is not necessary and can even be detrimental to embryo implantation after an embryo transfer. Do your best to fill your days with normal activity. If you love working out, go easy on yourself during this time. Consider more gentle yoga instead of an intense routine.
Reproductive psychologist, Dr. Ryan Blazei shares tips on how to “Take Control Over Your Two-Week Wait.”
The Pregnancy Test Results
A blood test in our office will be administered 10 days post embryo transfer to confirm whether or not your cycle worked. We do not recommend taking a home pregnancy test prior to this day because you could easily get a false positive or negative.
We know pregnancy test day is a very emotional day for you. Blood draws are done between 7:30 – 11:30am and results will be available same day. We will call you by 3pm to let you know the results.
The team offers educational sessions on the science of IVF and are willing to discuss any and all questions you may have. They truly care about you as a patient and care about how emotionally, financially, and physically draining it can all be. I couldn’t have asked for a better team to take me through this amazing experience!
– K.W. from Cary, NC