What are the Different Kinds of IVF Procedures?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill
During IVF, sperm and embryo are joined in a laboratory setting.
During IVF, sperm and embryo are joined in a laboratory setting.

There are many procedures which can be involved in in vitro fertilization (IVF). Eggs must be harvested, sperm cells collected, and the two are combined to create an embryo. Other procedures must be done after the initial procedure is completed, such as freezing unused embryos for another session if one is required. Hormonal injections, ultrasounds, and pregnancy tests are other kinds of IVF procedures which may be performed at some point during the fertilization process.

Doppler ultrasounds may be taken before and after the embryos are placed.
Doppler ultrasounds may be taken before and after the embryos are placed.

In vitro fertilization is a procedure which involves taking sperm and fertilizing an egg outside of the body. This is generally done for couples who cannot have children conventionally due to physical or hormonal problems. These can include low sperm count, polycystic ovarian syndrome, low sperm mobility, or lack of ovulation for other hormonal reasons. Once the eggs are fertilized, they are inserted in the female’s body where they hopefully implant in the uterus and begin developing as any other pregnancy.

IVF may be performed if a couple is struggling to conceive a baby.
IVF may be performed if a couple is struggling to conceive a baby.

This process is one of the primary IVF procedures, but there are several others which may be required both before and after this portion of conception. Women with hormonal difficulties may have to endure injections of progesterone, LH, or human chorionic gonadotropin (Hcg) in order to get their bodies ready for a pregnancy. These may have to be continued during the first half, or even entire, pregnancy. If there are any physical abnormalities in the woman, additional IVF procedures may be to be done in order to correct them and get her body ready for pregnancy.

Donor eggs for IVF can come from family, friends or an anonymous donor through an egg donor clinic.
Donor eggs for IVF can come from family, friends or an anonymous donor through an egg donor clinic.

After the embryos have been inserted, there may be additional embryos left over. These can be frozen in a process known as embryo cryopreservation. This keeps them viable in case the first IVF procedures fail and another round of treatments are needed. Sometimes, couples may also choose to donate their embryos to another couple having problems with fertility.

Vaginal ultrasound probes may be inserted into the vagina to obtain an image of the uterus.
Vaginal ultrasound probes may be inserted into the vagina to obtain an image of the uterus.

Ultrasounds, both trans-abdominal and trans-vaginal, are also IVF procedures. Both types use Doppler wands to allow doctors to see inside a woman’s body. They are necessary both when the embryos are being implanted so that physicians can see the best place to insert them, and after a pregnancy is confirmed to check for fetal heart tones and fetal growth and development.

The IVF process involves implanting a fertilized egg directly into the uterus.
The IVF process involves implanting a fertilized egg directly into the uterus.

To indicate the success or failure of IVF, a pregnancy test will also be performed roughly two weeks after the procedures are performed. Sometimes a urine test will be done, although blood tests are generally more accurate for determining an early pregnancy. Another ultrasound may also be performed to confirm the pregnancy and to determine how many embryos there are.

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Discussion Comments

anon276752

I did not experience slippery cervical mucus during my second cycle after a failed ivf. Does it mean I didn't ovulate?

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    • During IVF, sperm and embryo are joined in a laboratory setting.
      By: Giovanni Cancemi
      During IVF, sperm and embryo are joined in a laboratory setting.
    • Doppler ultrasounds may be taken before and after the embryos are placed.
      By: zayacsk
      Doppler ultrasounds may be taken before and after the embryos are placed.
    • IVF may be performed if a couple is struggling to conceive a baby.
      By: Igor Mojzes
      IVF may be performed if a couple is struggling to conceive a baby.
    • Donor eggs for IVF can come from family, friends or an anonymous donor through an egg donor clinic.
      By: micromonkey
      Donor eggs for IVF can come from family, friends or an anonymous donor through an egg donor clinic.
    • Vaginal ultrasound probes may be inserted into the vagina to obtain an image of the uterus.
      By: zayacsk
      Vaginal ultrasound probes may be inserted into the vagina to obtain an image of the uterus.
    • The IVF process involves implanting a fertilized egg directly into the uterus.
      By: ProMotion
      The IVF process involves implanting a fertilized egg directly into the uterus.
    • Hormonal problems may render a woman infertile.
      By: jovannig
      Hormonal problems may render a woman infertile.