Reproductive endocrinologist Alberuni Zamah, MD, reviews patient ed materials with a couple

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process in which mature eggs are removed from your body and then fertilized with sperm in a lab dish. If the egg and sperm successfully create a healthy embryo, that embryo can then be placed into the uterus. Pregnancy occurs if the embryo successfully implants into the uterine cavity.

IVF is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) used by people who are unable to conceive through sexual intercourse and people who choose third-party reproduction.

 

Step by Step: How does IVF work?

IVF is a complex process, and one that can typically takes around three to four weeks to complete. Our fertility experts will help you understand the pros and cons of IVF as a personal option for you and guide you through the process.

You’ll begin taking daily injections of fertility medication for approximately two weeks to stimulate the growth of more than one egg in your ovaries. Your doctor will perform frequent blood tests and ultrasounds to track how many eggs are developing.

Your doctor will let you know when your eggs are ready to be retrieved. You’ll then take an injection that helps your ovaries release the mature eggs. Your doctor will use an ultrasound guided needle to carefully collect the eggs while you are under mild anesthetic (asleep without pain, but breathing on your own).

An embryologist will examine each egg in the lab and select mature eggs to be fertilized.

Sperm from your partner or donor (whether fresh or thawed) are also analyzed so that the healthiest sperm can be isolated and prepared for use.

The eggs and sperm are placed together in a lab dish so that fertilization may occur, leading to the creation of embryos.

After spending three to five days growing in the lab dish, the embryos can be tested for genetic abnormalities. Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is a screening test that determines whether an embryo has the right number of chromosomes needed to develop into a healthy baby. PGT can also be used to screen embryos for certain inherited genetic conditions

Your doctor will let you know when one or more healthy embryos are ready to be transferred to your uterus in a minor procedure using a catheter (a thin, flexible tube) and syringe. You’ll take progesterone, a hormone medication, to improve the likelihood the embryos will implant in your uterus

Approximately two weeks after having the embryo transfer, you’ll undergo a blood test to determine whether the embryos have implanted in your uterus. If they have, you’re pregnant.

What’s the difference between IVF and intrauterine insemination (IUI)?

With IVF, the sperm and egg are combined together in the lab to grow an embryo. With IUI, your doctor helps the sperm and egg meet inside your body by using a catheter to insert the sperm into your uterus.

How much does IVF cost?   

One of the most commonly asked questions is: “How much does in vitro fertilization cost?” Unfortunately, there is no easy answer. The cost of IVF treatment varies based on how many attempts it takes for you to become pregnant. Also, Illinois residents benefit from state laws requiring specific group insurance plans and health maintenance organizations to cover infertility diagnosis and treatment. Our financial advisor can help you understand your options.

Meet Our Experts

At the Center for Reproductive Medicine and Fertility, we offer the highest level of care and the personalized attention you deserve to pursue your family building goals. Our board-certified specialists will partner closely with you, exploring every option possible to support your vision for your family.

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Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility