In Vitro Fertilization
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a procedure first successfully utilized in 1978 in which a woman’s ovaries are stimulated with fertility drugs to produce multiple mature eggs, which are then removed from her body and are fertilized in the SIRM St. Louis laboratory with her partner’s (or donor) sperm. The resulting embryos are cultured for three to five days, at which point the best 1 or 2 embryos are then transferred back into her uterus.
An IVF procedure at our Missouri fertility center involves the following steps:
- Preparing for Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation (COH)
- Undergoing Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation
- Egg Retrieval
- Sperm Processing
- Fertilization of Eggs in the Laboratory
- Selecting the Best Embryos for Transfer
- Embryo Transfer
- Cryopreservation (Freezing) of Remaining Embryos (This is dependent on having additional viable embryos left after embryo transfer. Embryos can be frozen for use at a later time and at a much lower cost compared to a full IVF cycle.)
Natural Cycle IVF
Natural Cycle IVF is a no-stimulation approach our St. Louis fertility doctors use to eliminate the use of fertility drugs. In a natural cycle of IVF, the woman is monitored closely as she approaches ovulation. She may be given an hCG “trigger” shot to induce ovulation and “ripen” her egg(s). The egg is then retrieved and the cycle proceeds as a conventional IVF cycle, other than the fact that if the egg does not fertilize, or arrests in its development, the cycle will be cancelled at that point.
Introducing Micro-IVF – A More Successful Alternative to IUI
IVF Cycle Calendar
What are the steps and timing of an IVF cycle?
When you schedule your IVF procedure at SIRM St. Louis, you will be given a calendar by your clinical coordinator that will highlight all of the key components of your cycle, including medications, appointments, ultrasounds, tentative egg retrieval, embryo transfer and pregnancy test dates.
IVF Beta hCG Levels
Is my beta hCG strong? What do the numbers indicate?
The most important indicator in beta hCG tests is whether the number doubles every 48 hours. In some cases where a beta number doubles initially, then decreases its rate, it may indicate that a twin pregnancy has reduced to a singleton. When this is the case, it may slow initially, but should then begin to double again every 48 hours. Some betas may start off as low as 3 or 4, then progress to a healthy pregnancy, so there is really not a specific threshold number that indicates a viable pregnancy. Every case is different. Read more about interpreting beta hCG numbers HERE.
IVF and Acupuncture
There are varying opinions on the effectiveness of acupuncture at aiding successful IVF. Certain studies indicate that there are benefits, and many patients find that it gives them additional confidence and peace of mind. In the end, it is a personal decision.
If you think that IVF may be the right fit to grow your family, the specialists at SIRM St. Louis would love to meet with you. Our team truly cares about helping you find the best infertility treatments in the St. Louis area. Contact our expert fertility team today to learn about IVF treatment, and how our Missouri fertility center can help!