What is IVF and How Does It Work?

What is IVF and How Does It Work?

We throw out a lot of acronyms and different phrases at Simple Surrogacy, and we know that can be a little confusing. So, let’s start with the basics. What is IVF? IVF stands for In Vitro Fertilization. “In vitro” translates to “in glass,” and in IVF, an egg is combined with sperm outside of the body. IVF is a form of assisted reproductive technology (also known as ART). In the past, babies born from IVF were called “test tube babies.” The first baby born from IVF was Louise Brown in England in 1978.

How IVF Works

This is the typical process for IVF:

1) A woman’s ovulation is monitored (and stimulated if necessary). The ovaries are examined using ultrasound, and blood tests monitor hormone levels.

2) A minor surgical procedure is conducted to retrieve the eggs. Ideally, multiple eggs will be retrieved. An ultrasound is used to guide a needle to retrieve the eggs.

3) A sperm sample is received and prepared to be combined with the eggs.

4) The sperm and eggs are mixed in a laboratory dish. Sometimes a single sperm is directly injected into each egg; this is called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The eggs are monitored to ensure cell division takes place. The cell division indicates that an embryo has formed.

5) A certain number of viable embryos are transferred into a woman’s uterus via a small tube. Sometimes multiple embryos are transferred, but only if the woman (and parents) are willing to accept the possibility of a multiple pregnancy.

6) Hopefully, an embryo (or several embryos) will implant into the lining of the uterus. A pregnancy test is usually taken two weeks later. A home pregnancy test uses urine while a lab pregnancy test measures human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) levels in the blood. A lab test is usually recommended for IVF patients to avoid false positives or false negatives.

Who Uses IVF 

There are several different groups of parents who opt for IVF to create their families. Women who have endometriosis or problems with their uterus, fallopian tubes, eggs or ovulation can become pregnant via IVF. Men with low sperm counts can also participate in IVF. Usually couples try other methods of ART (like fertility drugs and artificial insemination) before trying IVF.

The other common use of IVF is in surrogacy. Both traditional and gestational surrogacy are often achieved through IVF. In these cases, the fertilized egg is implanted into the surrogate’s uterus.

If you’re interested in learning more about IVF as it relates to the surrogacy process, the Simple Surrogacy team can help. We can help guide you through every step and answer any questions that you might have.

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