If you’re looking for ways to increase your chances of conceiving a child, you likely are looking into infertility treatment options. One of the more common and effective solutions is IVF. But, what exactly does IVF mean?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is an in-office medical procedure that helps create a baby. Couples may use IVF to conceive on their own or to have a baby through a gestational surrogate.
Continue reading to learn:
- What IVF is
- Why IVF is a family-building method
- How IVF is used in gestational surrogacy
A surrogacy professional can give you a lot of information about IVF, surrogacy, and infertility. But, in the meantime, you can learn more about IVF in the guide below.
Disclaimer: You should always speak to a medical professional if you think you’re experiencing infertility. This article is only intended for educational purposes and is not medical advice.
What is IVF?
During IVF, a fertility specialist will retrieve multiple eggs from the female partner and combine them with sperm from the male partner or a donor’s sperm. Fertilization happens in a lab outside the body to increase the chance of conception.
A doctor will use IVF if they think it’s the best way for a person or a couple to conceive.
Before we discuss the seven steps of a typical IVF cycle, we want to acknowledge that any infertility challenge is stressful and difficult. You should never blame yourself for what you are experiencing. Helpful resources like infertility counselors and support groups can help you work through your feelings.
The IVF Process
Generally, you can expect to go through the following steps on your IVF journey.
Step 1: Undergo Screening
Your doctor will screen you and your partner to ensure IVF can work.
Step 2: Take Fertility Medications
You or your partner will take fertility medications to help stimulate egg production, encourage eggs to mature, prevent premature ovulation, and prepare the uterus lining.
Step 3: Pre-Retrieval Tests
Next, a doctor will complete a vaginal ultrasound and bloodwork to determine if the eggs are ready for collection.
Step 4: Sperm Production
You, your partner or a donor will provide a sperm sample. The sample is combined with the eggs.
Step 5: Insemination at a Fertility Clinic
The eggs and sperm are combined at the clinic and stored in an incubator to encourage fertilization. If your doctor wants to improve the chance of fertilization, they may use intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Once cell division happens, the fertilized eggs are considered embryos.
Step 6: Prepare for Transfer
The embryo transfer often happens three to five days after egg retrieval and fertilization. The transfer will occur at the clinic.
During the transfer, your doctor will use a small tube and syringe to place one or more embryos into the uterus. If the transfer is successful, the embryo will implant into the uterus lining in six to 10 days.
Step 7: IVF for Infertility Results
After 12 days, a doctor will run bloodwork to confirm a pregnancy. If you or your partner is pregnant, you’ll start to visit an OBGYN. If pregnancy isn’t confirmed, you and your partner may try another round of IVF or another family-building option, like gestational surrogacy.
Why Would I Use IVF to Build My Family?
According to the Mayo Clinic, IVF is used to help couples and individuals have a baby.
People may choose to pursue IVF to:
- Avoid passing on certain hereditary traits
- Address infertility
Your doctor may try other infertility treatments like medication or intrauterine insemination before IVF. But, your physician could suggest IVF as the primary treatment for infertility if you or your partner:
- Are a woman over 40
- Have certain health conditions
- Experienced fallopian tube damage or blockage
- Have ovulation disorders, endometriosis, uterine fibroids, previous tubal ligation, or impaired sperm production
- Are experiencing unexplained infertility
IVF and Surrogacy
If you and your partner decide not to pursue IVF any further but still want to become parents, you can work with a surrogacy agency to have a baby.
Before we discuss how couples can use surrogacy to reach their goal of parenthood, we want to address infertility grief. Men and women often feel sadness upon learning that they cannot grow their families as initially envisioned. Give yourself time to work through these feelings and know that infertility is not your fault.
Before pursuing surrogacy, make sure you and your partner are on the same page and ready to follow other paths to reach your goal of parenthood.
Surrogacy involves a gestational carrier and you, the intended parents. The surrogate mother carries a baby for the intended parents and is unrelated to the baby.
Although intended parents could pursue surrogacy on their own, everyone benefits from working with a surrogacy agency. Surrogacy agencies ensure you:
- Get to work with a surrogacy professional that supports you from the start to the end of your surrogacy journey
- Are legally protected and your interests represented
- Match with a surrogate who shares the same goals
- Are financially protected
- And more
Continuing Your Family-Building Journey
IVF is a great way to grow your family. But, don’t blame yourself if it doesn’t work for you. We’re here to help.
Contact us today to learn how IVF and surrogacy can help you and your partner start your family.