Aug 25

IVF and the Insemination Stage: Ensuring Fertilization

San Antonio IVF and the Insemination Stage

Posted on August 25, 2014 — by Joseph E. Martin, M.D., FACOG

Cryopreserved embryos at a fertility clinicThe team at the Fertility Center of San Antonio is more than happy to discuss all of your options for effective treatment in full detail. Providing patients with amble information is one means of ensuring positive outcomes and patient satisfaction.

It's important to us that patients understand that in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process designed to address male and female infertility, helping patients start the family that they have always wanted. We've previously looked at the ovulation induction stage of IVF and the egg retrieval stage of IVF, so let's continue our examination of IVF with the insemination stage of the process.

About In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In vitro fertilization (IVF) refers to the insemination of the eggs in a lab setting so that the fertilized egg can be carried to term. It is the most well known fertility treatment available today.

Here's a quick overview of the IVF so you understand where the insemination stage falls into the entire process.

  • The initial consultation to determine candidacy
  • Ovulation induction through the use of fertility drugs
  • Retrieval of viable eggs from the woman's ovaries
  • Insemination/fertilization of the eggs
  • Incubation of the eggs to promote cellular division
  • Transfer for the embryos to the womb

About the Insemination Stage of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

The insemination phase is a crucial part of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process. During this stage of IVF, the eggs are isolated in a lab. Sperm is then introduced into the petri dish to fertilize the eggs naturally. Once this is done, the fertilized egg is placed in an incubator to promote cellular division, at which point the egg becomes a viable embryo.

Another Option for Insemination: Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Sometimes issues with sperm quality and sperm motility affect the viability of a man's sperm. In such cases, the sperm may not be able to naturally fertilize an egg. This is where intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is most ideal. This involves the direct injection of a single sperm into the egg for insemination, a process that is carried out using a microscope. ICSI and other insemination options can be discussed in more detail during the consultation process.

When Sperm Retrieval May Be an Option

In addition to intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), another option to consider for the insemination stage of in vitro fertilization (IVF) is sperm retrieval. This is done when a man cannot produce viable sperm through ejaculation or has a low sperm count. Rather than use a sperm donor, sperm retrieval may be considered so long as the man is still developing viable sperm.

There are many different options for sperm retrieval, though they all generally involve the extraction of sperm directly from the testicles. Like ICSI, sperm retrieval can be discussed in more detail during your visit.

What happens after the insemination stage is completed?

As noted above, the next stage after insemination is the incubation stage. During this process, the fertilized egg begins to split at a cellular level. Usually the embryo is ready for transfer after three days, though in some cases the fertility specialist may wait for a more advanced level of cellular division, namely the blastocyst stage, which occurs about five to seven days after fertilization.

Learn More About Advanced Fertility Treatment

For more information about in vitro fertilization (IVF) and how it can help you start the family that you have always wanted to have, be sure to contact our fertility specialists today. The team at the Fertility Center of San Antonio will be more than happy to answer all of your questions and address your concerns when you visit the practice in person.

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