In vitro fertilization (IVF) describes a complex combination of procedures designed to treat or overcome a range of infertility factors. Generally, IVF involves fertilizing eggs with sperm outside of the mother’s body, and then implanting healthy embryos into the mother’s uterus, where at least one can “hatch” (break out of its protective shell) and implant itself into the uterine lining. IVF allows us to test embryos for genetic diseases using PGD and embryo biopsy, and offers a number of other advantages by using your eggs and sperm, or donor eggs and sperm, if necessary. To learn how IVF performed at our San Antonio infertility center can help you start or add to your family, contact us today and schedule an appointment.
Reasons to Consider IVF
IVF is a multi-step process that involves the use of ovulation medication to induce egg production and increase the number of eggs that can be retrieved. IVF can help patients address numerous fertility issues, including:
- Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes: Fallopian tubes are the pathway through which eggs travel. If your tubes are damaged or blocked, or if you have had a tubal ligation (had your tubes tied), natural impregnation may be difficult or impossible.
- Inadequate egg production: If your ovulation cycle is infrequent, fewer healthy eggs are produced, and your chances of achieving pregnancy are significantly reduced. IVF allows us to increase your egg production, and then retrieve the eggs to expertly fertilize them and help them become embryos.
- Inadequate sperm production or function: Semen is the fluid that contains sperm, and if a semen analysis reveals that the male partner's sperm concentration is low, the semen may not be capable of impregnating the mother. After retrieving the male's semen, we will identify and separate the healthiest sperm specimens for use in the IVF procedure.
- Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) are available at Fertility Center of San Antonio. These preimplantation tests screen embryos to ensure they have the correct number of chromosomes and do not have the presence of specific single genes that cause disease. These tests increase your chances to have a healthy embryo.
IVF can also provide an opportunity for our doctors to detect genetic diseases that may impede your pregnancy or affect your child’s quality of life after birth. PGD and embryo biopsy can be used to examine a minimal number of embryonic cells to detect genetic abnormalities.
Once you have considered these IVF benefits, you and your loved ones can determine whether this treatment is right for you. If you are curious about the cost of IVF, our office can help you determine what you will pay for treatment and provide you financing options that work for you and your family.
When performed by skilled fertility specialists, the risks of IVF in terms of your health are minimized. In addition to health risks, there are other risks to consider, including multiple pregnancies and the risk of failed treatment. Before undergoing treatment, we will help you prepare during a personal consultation and review common IVF success factors. We will also explain how your health, age, medical history, and other factors can affect IVF results.
The IVF Process
IVF involves multiple steps. If you are using your own eggs, we will induce ovulation through specific hormone therapies at the beginning of your menstrual cycle. Ovulation induction stimulates the production of multiple eggs, rather than a single egg, since some eggs may not be successfully fertilized. Typically, our team will retrieve the eggs 34-36 hours after the final hormone injection, before ovulation can begin. A number of different retrieval techniques can be used, depending on your specific needs and condition, and the process usually lasts under half an hour.
After your partner’s sperm or sperm from another donor source are collected, we will separate the healthy specimens from the seminal fluid in our andrology and embryology laboratory. After the eggs and sperm have been collected, fertilization can be achieved in one of two ways. Standard IVF Insemination involves mixing healthy sperm with mature eggs and allowing them to incubate overnight. During an intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a single healthy sperm is injected into each egg. If the male's semen quality or sperm count is affecting your ability to conceive, your doctor may recommend ICSI.
The embryo is transferred into the uterus three or five days after the egg retrieval, depending on your unique case. If treatment is successful, the embryo should implant in your uterus’ lining within six to ten days after the eggs are retrieved.
Success rates will vary from clinic to clinic, and the Fertility Center of San Antonio is proud to boast higher than average IVF success rates. We are happy to help you understand the success rates and more about the IVF process during a consultation.
Learn More about IVF
If you have undergone previous fertility treatments but have failed to become pregnant, you may be a good candidate for IVF. We also offer a treatment called Nature’s IVF™, also known as INVOcell™, in which the incubation period takes place within the female partner's vagina using a special device. To learn more about which treatment is right for you, schedule an appointment by contacting the Fertility Center of San Antonio today.