In Vitro Fertilization
In Vitro Fertilization
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most advanced treatment of infertility. Common indications for IVF include female and male factor infertility, diminished ovarian reserve, recurring pregnancy loss, endometriosis and multi-factorial infertility.
Our goal is to provide our patients with the best options. For many patients, this means one healthy baby at a time.
The success of IVF treatment largely depends on the following factors:
- Female age
- Reasons for infertility
- Uterine condition
- Prior reproductive performance
- Women's health history
Why Choose Us
Augusta University Reproductive Medicine and Infertility Associates and Reproductive Laboratories of Augusta provide superior care in Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Conventional IVF isn't all we do; we provide advanced services, such as pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS) and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
Each couple has its own fertility potential. Our fertility specialists will assess your prognosis after careful evaluation. In general, females younger than 35 have the best chance of conceiving with IVF. However, for some women older than 35, IVF is the only option for conceiving. We report IVF success rates annually to the national registry, Society For Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART).
Diagnostic Tests and Procedures
Step 1: Ovarian Stimulation
Ovarian stimulation and monitoring is the first step of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) process leading to multiple egg availability at the retrieval step. Retrieving more than one egg allows for multiple embryos, which offers patients optimal efficiency during their IVF treatment.
Ovulation induction medications (FSH, LH and HCG) coax the ovaries to produce more than one egg to the point of maturity. Hormone levels reach much higher than normal values. This may cause side effects, so we carefully monitor your response to these medications.
This monitoring also allows your physician to determine when the eggs are ready for the next stage, oocyte (egg) retrieval. This includes frequent blood drawing for hormone level monitoring and use of transvaginal ultrasound to track follicular growth. This monitoring is performed as frequently as every other day for three to five visits, until egg retrieval takes place.
Ovarian stimulation isn't risk free. Careful monitoring and adherence to the provider's instructions and recommendations are key to the safety and success of IVF treatment.
Step 2: Egg Retrieval
Egg retrieval is an outpatient procedure performed under intravenous anesesthia and carefully monitored by an anesthestist. It involves egg retrieval under continuous transvaginal ultrasound guidance. The follicular fluid with the egg(s) is collected in a special tube then assessed by an embryologist under the microscope.
Step 3: Egg Insemination with Sperm
After egg retrieval, insemination with sperm is performed to fertilize eggs. The egg insemination depends on quality of sperm and commonly require an additional step, intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). We usually obtain a semen sample from the partner on the day of egg retrieval. After the semen sample is produced, the sperm will be prepared for inseminating the collected eggs.
Twenty-four hours after egg insemination, we evaluate eggs for fertilization and notify patients of the results.
Step 4: Incubation of Embryos
Fertilized eggs become embryos, which incubate in our cutting-edge IVF laboratory under continuous monitoring. Patients are updated on the progress of their embryo growth along the way, as well as on their embryo transfer date. Most of our embryo transfers take place after five days of incubation, though, occasionally day two or three transfers may take place.
Step 5: Embryo Transfer and After Care
Embryo transfer is performed through a small tube (catheter) containing embryo(s) to the thickest part of the uterine lining. This procedure is performed under continuous transabdominal ultrasound guidance for precise placement of embryo(s). Both partners are decide on the number of embryos to transfer and observe the procedure in real time. We routinely provide couples with a photo of the transferred embryo(s).
The number of embryos transferred depends on individual circumstances of the couple, and you, your physicians and the embryologist will make this decision collectively.
Couples going through therapy must choose and formalize their choice for handling of any remaining embryos by indicating one of the following options:
- Freezing (cryopreservation) of remaining embryos for use by the couple in future treatment cycles;
- Anonymously donating the embryos for use by another infertile couple(s) if the donating couple and the donated embryos meet the screening criteria (you would not receive any money for this donation, nor would they be sold); or
- Allowing the embryos to develop in the laboratory until they perish, at which time they would be disposed of in a manner consistent with professional ethical standards and applicable legal requirements (this usually occurs within 6-8 days after egg collection).
A routine administration of progesterone and estrogen after the transfer ensures the success of IVF. The dosage and administration of these hormones may vary and are carefully outlined in couples' IVF treatment plan. These hormones are usually continued until 10 to 11 weeks of pregnancy, at which point most couples are transferred to their obstetricians for further pregnancy care.
Alternatives to In Vitro Fertilization
Augusta University Reproductive Medicine and Infertility Associates in Augusta, Georgia, can discuss options and alternatives to in vitro fertilization (IVF), such as intrauterine insemination, medicinal therapy and child adoption.
Depending on the individuals and unique cause(s) of infertility for each couple, the chance of conception through alternative means other than IVF-ET may or may not exist.
Possible success rates of these alternatives may vary depending upon the type and severity of the cause of the infertility. For some couples, it may even be possible to conceive spontaneously without a physician's help.
Maryann & Janice: Overcoming obstacles
Maryann and Janice Hawkins know a little about overcoming obstacles. The two biracial women have been a couple for the past 12 years, living in southeastern Georgia. But nothing was like the obstacle of not being able to have a child together.