Description of the Procedure
The male, if fertile, refrains from ejaculating for 2-3 days. He then collects semen through masturbation. Penile scar tissue or other conditions may block the natural release of sperm. If this is the case, a sperm aspiration from the testicles may be done. Sometimes, the man's sperm can be frozen ahead of time. If the male partner is unable to produce viable sperm, donor sperm may be used. If male sperm counts are low, the chance of successful fertilization may be improved by directly injecting the sperm into the egg. This is called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
An ultrasound-guided technique is often used to harvest the eggs. The ultrasound probe has a needle attached to the end. The instruments are inserted into the vagina.
The ultrasound uses sound waves to view the ovaries and the developed egg follicles in the ovaries.
The needle punctures the egg follicles.
fluid and eggs are removed through the needle. The fluid is inspected. It is immediately placed in a clean, nutritive culture material. The fluid will be kept in an incubator.
Between 50,000 and 100,000 of the most mobile, healthy sperm are chosen. They are mixed with the harvested eggs. Sometimes, ICSI may be done. It may help to increase the chances of fertilization. The culture dish is kept at normal body temperature inside an incubator for 2-3 days. During that time, sperm are expected to fertilize 60%-80% of the eggs. Once fertilized, early cell division begins and embryos develop.
A certain number of the embryos (usually 1-5) are placed into the uterus. Fewer embryos decrease the chance of multiples (such as twins, triplets). The other embryos may be frozen. They may be saved for future IVF cycles. You may also choose to donate them to other infertile couples.
A catheter tube is inserted into the vagina. It will be threaded through the cervical canal and into the uterus. The embryos are then passed into the uterus. You may be positioned face down with your knees at your chest. A special table that tilts the uterus downward may also be used. These positions allow gravity to help keep the embryos in the uterus for implantation.
At the Care Center
Following egg harvesting, expect to rest at the center for a few hours before going home.
You should be able to resume normal activities within a few days. Take any medications as instructed.
Follow-up care may be necessary:
- Return in 10-12 days for a pregnancy test.
- If the pregnancy test indicates conception, an ultrasound will be scheduled for a few weeks later. It will be able to see if more than one egg is growing.
- If all is going well, you will start your prenatal care. It is important to go to all of your scheduled appointments.
It can be difficult to wait 2 weeks for the results. Even if pregnancy occurs, a
remains a possibility.
If pregnancy did not occur, the next attempt should be at least one month later.