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In Vitro Fertilization

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure by which eggs removed from the ovaries are fertilized in the laboratory with sperm from the male partner.  The fertilized eggs develop into embryos over 2-5 days in the laboratory, then are placed inside the woman’s uterus.  IVF is used in cases where the fallopian tubes are blocked, and also in other diagnoses, where conventional medical treatments and surgery have not been successful.

Embryo Cryopreservation

Remaining embryos can be frozen for later use for several years.  In these instances the uterus first is prepared hormonally to accept the embryos, then the embryos are transferred back to the patient.

Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis is where a cell is removed from the embryo during IVF and is then analyzed for genetic conditions or chromosomal abnormalities.

Blastocyst Stage Embryo Transfer

It now is possible to develop the fertilized eggs in the laboratory for up to 5 days, the stage when embryos are referred to as blastocysts, before transfer back into the uterus.  Because blastocysts are much further developed, fewer are needed, and consequently the risk of multiple births is reduced.

Oocyte (Egg) Donation

If testing determines that the female partner does not have sufficient or good quality eggs to get pregnant, the couple may choose oocyte donation as an alternative.  Anonymous donor’s eggs and the male partner’s sperm are combined during the IVF process.  When the resulting fertilized eggs develop into embryos, they are transferred to the female partner to carry the pregnancy.  Our patients can select from our screened, healthy young egg donors; or they may have a friend or family member donate eggs for them.  Donors undergo extensive genetic and medical testing and complete a thorough questionnaire prior to being admitted as donors to ensure their health.

There are different types of egg donation:

Anonymous Oocyte Donation - Couples may choose to have the oocyte donor remain unknown to them.

Shared Oocyte Donation - Women younger than 35 who will undergo IVF may choose to share their eggs anonymously with women who cannot produce eggs. Each woman receives eggs fertilized with her partners own sperm. The egg donor and the egg recipient share the cost of the IVF treatment, and it remains anonymous.

Known Egg Donor - Patients may choose a sister, family member, or a friend to be the egg donor.

Surrogate Host (Gestational Carrier)

Women under age 42 and ovulating, but for whom pregnancy is inadvisable or not possible, may wish to consider having a surrogate host carry their genetic child. Circumstances include health problems, recurrent miscarriages, absence of the uterus due to hysterectomy or being born without a uterus. Following IVF of the couple’s eggs and sperm, the couple’s biological embryos are placed in the uterus of the surrogate host.