USC Fertility

In Vitro Fertilization, IVF

In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a highly effective fertility treatment

In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a highly effective fertility treatmentThe term in vitro fertilization refers to where fertilization takes place. With IVF, fertilization occurs in the laboratory (in vitro). However, this advanced fertility treatment involves much more than just fertilizing eggs and sperm. Our Los Angeles fertility doctors guide patients through several steps that make this fertility treatment so successful.

What are the steps of the IVF process?

To begin in vitro fertilization, a woman takes injectable fertility medications to encourage her ovaries to develop multiple eggs. When the eggs are mature, she will make an appointment with one of our Los Angeles fertility doctors for an outpatient egg retrieval procedure. Our team performs this procedure by using transvaginal ultrasound guidance to guide a small needle into the egg-containing follicles in the ovaries. The woman will receive sedation during the procedure, so she will not feel anything.

After retrieving the woman’s eggs, our embryologists combine the eggs with sperm in our IVF laboratory. This sperm can come from the woman’s male partner or her selected sperm donor. Sometimes a man’s sperm needs a little help to fertilize an egg. When this occurs, our laboratory team uses an advanced procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to help.

Once the sperm fertilizes the eggs, our embryologist monitor their growth and development. They can also perform preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) during this time. One type of testing (PGS, now called PGT-A) can determine which embryos are chromosomally normal. Another type can identify whether an embryo has or carries a specific genetic illness (PGD, now called PGT-M). After testing is complete and the embryos have matured in the lab for several days, our team selects one healthy embryo to transfer to the woman’s uterus.

Who can benefit from in vitro fertilization?

In vitro fertilization can help patients overcome many causes of infertility and welcome a baby. Our Los Angeles fertility doctors may recommend IVF to patients in the following groups.

  • Women over 35 are more likely to have fewer eggs and eggs that are more likely to contain chromosomal abnormalities.
  • Patients with blocked fallopian tubes often struggle to conceive because the sperm cannot reach the egg, or the fertilized egg cannot reach the uterus.
  • Women who have conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may be good candidates for IVF.
  • Men with a very low sperm count or sperm that are unable to fertilize an egg may need to rely on in vitro fertilization with ICSI.
  • Experiencing recurrent miscarriage or fertility treatment failure may make a patient a good candidate for this fertility treatment.

Before recommending a fertility treatment, our Los Angeles fertility doctors will review the woman’s medical history and diagnostic testing to determine the best option. If the treatment plan does involve in vitro fertilization, our doctors will guide the patient through the process.

Contact us to learn more about IVF and how it can help you bring home a baby.