In Vitro Fertilization  (known as IVF) helps couples who are struggling to have a baby.  Learn what IVF is and how it works.

What is IVF?

According to the Center for Disease Control, IVF is the most common Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) used today.  This treatment helps individuals and couples with infertility issues to overcome their challenges to have a child. Beyond the ‘birds and the bees’, conception happens when a sperm meets an egg meet and fertilization occurs, thereby creating an embryo.  But it doesn’t stop there. Approximately five days after fertilization (known as the blastocyst stage), the embryo begins the process of implantation in the uterus. Surprisingly, roughly 50 percent of all fertilized eggs don’t make it to the implantation stage and are ‘lost’ before a woman has a chance to miss her monthly menstrual cycle. With IVF, the sperm and the egg are brought together in a specially designed lab to create the embryo. If the process is successful, then five days later the fertilized embryo is implanted in the uterus of the future parent and the process continues, just as it would in ‘natural’ conception

Read more: Egg Donation

What’s the IVF Process?

Here are the steps that outline what to expect during the IVF process.

STEP 1: Ovarian Stimulation

In a natural cycle, only a small percentage of released eggs have the potential for fertilization. To encourage more eggs to develop to maturity, the future mother (or egg donor) receives specific fertility medications. Sometimes, additional hormones such as progesterone, estrogen or DHEA are prescribed to support the process.

STEP 2: Egg Maturation

In preparation for egg retrieval, a hormone injection (called HCG) is given two days before collecting the eggs to trigger them to mature.

Read more: Frozen Embryos

STEP 3: Egg Retrieval

During a 30-minute procedure, the medical team uses ultrasound imaging to guide a special needle through the pelvic cavity to retrieve the eggs.

STEP 4: Egg Fertilization

A sperm sample is collected from the male partner (or a pre-arranged sperm donor), and carefully combined with the extracted eggs in an IVF laboratory to encourage fertilization.

Read more: Fresh Egg Donation

STEP 5: Embryo Creation

While in the lab, the eggs are monitored to ensure that fertilization and cell division occurs. Once fertilization occurs, the eggs are called  “embryos.” This all happens in a small “petri dish” and observed under a microscope, similar to what you would find in a biology class.

STEP 6: Embryo Transfer

Three to five days after the eggs are fertilized and become embryos, they are transferred to the future mother’s (or a gestational surrogate’s) uterus for implantation.  Approximately two weeks later, a pregnancy test is taken to confirm if the process was successful. If the test is positive, an ultrasound is performed two weeks later, and the pregnancy is monitored.

What Is An IVF Cycle?

An IVF cycle is the entire duration it takes to go through the IVF process —  from the first day of your period to embryo transfer. A full IVF cycle takes about three weeks or longer to complete. On average, it takes approximately two to three IVF cycles to successfully conceive when using your own eggs. With an egg donor or a surrogate, at ELITE IVF it would typically just take one attempt because the quality of embryos and/or uterus are optimized. 

At ELITE IVF, your fertility nurse and medical team will take as much time as needed and even repeated, to explain everything about your specific IVF cycle and process.

Who is a Candidate for IVF?

In some medical cases, the couple may proceed directly to IVF — for example, if the fallopian tubes are blocked — while in other situations it may be an option when natural or other treatments are unsuccessful. IVF is commonly used as a fertility treatment for the following situations:

  • Endometriosis, scar tissue or blocked fallopian tubes
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), Primary Ovarian Failure (POF), or irregular ovulation
  • Uterine fibroids or problems with the uterine wall
  • Repetitive and/or unexplained pregnancy loss
  • Same sex couple or single by choice
  • Using donor eggs or donor sperm to conceive
  • Male factor infertility

Pregnancy Success Rates

Success rates of IVF vary based on a number of factors, including age, reproductive history, lifestyle, and the cause of infertility.  Treatment success also varies based on the scientific techniques and the experience of the medical staff involved. According to the CDC, the success rates of IVF are around 50% for a patient who is 30 years or age and declines thereafter.  ELITE IVF is a global fertility agency with a 72% pregnancy success rate — and has engaged more than 7,500 patients who were seeking a fertility solution.

How to Get Fertility Help

If you are struggling with infertility, IVF can help grow your family.  You can contact your doctor, fertility agency or clinic to get started. For intended parents seeking top clinical outcomes, ELITE IVF is a great choice for consideration. Visit for more information.   Sources: