In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is the process in which eggs are retrieved from ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Once fertilized, the embryo is implanted into the uterus with the goal of developing into a full-term pregnancy.

The History of IVF

IVF was developed in the 1970s as a method to treat infertility caused by blocked or damaged fallopian tubes. Louise Brown was the first baby conceived with IVF in 1978. Since then, over 8 million babies have been born via IVF.

The Steps of In-Vitro Fertilization

Step 1: Ovarian Stimulation + Monitoring

First, we conduct an evaluation to assess fertility. Once we establish egg quantity and quality, we begin a personalized regimen of injectable fertility medications to stimulate ovaries to produce eggs. During stimulation, we monitor ovaries through bloodwork and ultrasounds to ensure medication is optimally dosed throughout the cycle.

Step 2: Retrieval of Eggs

When follicles reach the appropriate size, we provide an injection to trigger egg maturation. Approximately 36 hours after the injection we retrieve eggs using a needle and ultrasound guidance. During the procedure, patients are sedated. The procedure typically takes less than 30 minutes and most patients are able to resume normal activities within 1-2 days.

Step 3: Culture + Fertilization

In the embryology laboratory, an embryologist fertilizes the mature eggs. Eggs can be fertilized using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or conventional fertilization. ICSI is a process which involves the microinjection of one sperm into the cytoplasm of a mature egg (oocyte). In conventional fertilization, eggs are placed in drops of media and sperm is then added to those drops.

Step 4: Embryo Transfer

Embryos are placed in the uterus using a catheter and ultrasound guidance. Most women recover in less than a day. A pregnancy test is taken 10 days after the embryo transfer to determine if the embryo has successfully implanted, and the patient is pregnant.

Who Is the Ideal IVF Candidate?

Individuals such as:

  • Couples who have been unable to conceive
  • Women who have undergone unsuccessful fertility treatments including hormone medications or IUI (intrauterine insemination)
  • LGBTQ+ Couples
  • Individuals looking to use donor eggs or a gestational carrier

Individuals diagnosed with the following:

  • Tubal Factor Infertility: Damage or blockage affecting the fallopian tubes
  • Endometriosis: Endometrial tissue growing outside the uterus that may lead to scarring in a woman’s reproductive system
  • PCOS: Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Low Sperm count or motility

Individuals interested in genetic testing:

  • PGT-A Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidies: Genetic test of the embryo produced during IVF treatment to identify numerical chromosome abnormalities (aneuploidies). This test identifies chromosomally normal (euploid) embryos and their sex.
  • PGT-M Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Monogenic disorders (formerly PGD): Genetic test of the embryo produced during IVF treatment to determine if an embryo is affected or unaffected with a specific genetic disease.

Fertility Clinic Care, Right Near You

If you’re looking for advanced treatments with personalized care, then you’re in the right place. Visit our boutique fertility clinic in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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