In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is the procedure most people commonly associate with fertility treatment.
While not every patient is right or ready for IVF, it has been demonstrated to be a highly effective option for many with over 200,000 IVF cycles performed by US fertility clinics alone in 2015.¹
Patients are often graduated to IVF based on a number of factors including age, genetic disease, recurrent miscarriage, medical history, or issues related to sperm and egg quantity and or quality.
A patient’s IVF cycle is closely monitored by an expert Reproductive Medicine Associates of Northern California care team and consists of several key steps.
Ovarian Stimulation – The patient undergoes daily injections of various medications over eight to twelve days to stimulate multiple eggs in the ovaries. Once the eggs reach the proper size, the patient receives a final injection of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to spur final maturation of the eggs. The patient’s eggs are then retrieved 36 hours later.
Egg Retrieval – Employing the use of anesthesia and ultrasound guidance, the patient’s eggs can be retrieved and sent to the IVF lab for fertilization. The retrieval process generally takes 15 minutes and the patient can go home same day, typically within a matter of hours.
Extended Embryo Culture – Allowing embryos to grow and develop in the IVF laboratory for five to six days. This process allows the embryos to reach the blastocyst stage of development, growing to about 200 cells. Reproductive Medicine Associates of Northern California takes pride in operating an exclusive blastocyst stage culture IVF laboratory.
Embryo Transfer (ET)/Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) – Five or six days after the embryo has grown through the blastocyst stage of development, the mature embryo gets transferred back to the uterus to begin a healthy pregnancy and delivery. Learn more about Frozen Embryo Transfer.
FET serves as the standard of care for all IVF patients at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Northern California, allowing for a more natural transfer experience by safely preserving the embryo until the patient’s hormone levels return to a more natural state.
NexCCS / Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS) – CCS takes a more evidence-based approach in selecting which embryos should be transferred during IVF. The care team evaluates which embryos have the right balance of chromosomes; imbalanced embryos can lead to a failed IVF cycle or miscarriage. The Foundation for Embryonic Competence serves as the exclusive embryonic screening reference laboratory for Reproductive Medicine Associates of Northern California. Learn more about Genetic Screening.
Embryonic Biopsy – For patients opting for genetic screening, a sample of genetic material must be biopsied from the embryo for analysis. Reproductive Medicine Associates of Northern California only performs blastocyst stage embryo biopsy.