USC Fertility

Laboratory Fertilization

Our Los Angeles Fertility experts explain the importance of laboratory fertilization

The team at USC Fertility understands the emotional and physical toll infertility can take on our patients and their partners. Advances in reproductive medicine allow our Los Angeles fertility experts to provide state-of-the-art infertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization (IVF). In fact, our IVF protocols have helped create standards for fertility treatment around the globe. A key component of the IVF process is laboratory fertilization.

What happens before the laboratory fertilization step?

During traditional methods of getting pregnant, the ovaries release an egg during ovulation, and the sperm fertilizes the egg. The resulting embryo travels to the uterus where implantation occurs. Intimacy during the optimal time often results in pregnancy. With laboratory fertilization, conception happens in a petri dish, not through intercourse.

The basics of fertilization in a lab

For fertilization in the lab to occur, our embryologists first need the egg and sperm samples. In preparation for the egg retrieval, we will regulate your cycle with fertility medications. We will monitor your progress to ensure the eggs mature as expected.

Your doctor will retrieve the eggs during a minor outpatient procedure. If you are using fresh sperm, the sample needs to be provided shortly before or after the retrieval. Frozen sperm samples are thawed the day of the egg retrieval.

Once the embryologists have the eggs and the sperm, they will place sperm into a petri dish with a single egg. Within that dish, a single sperm should fertilize the egg.

Diving deeper into laboratory techniques

Our Los Angeles Fertility experts want our patients to have the best odds of achieving success. In some cases, our team may use a more complex fertilization option. This procedure is known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

In situations where the male partner has a low sperm count, our embryologists will use ICSI to inject a single healthy sperm into each healthy egg. This increases the chance of fertilization and embryo development.

Another laboratory procedure that we may use once the sperm fertilizes the eggs to create embryos is assisted hatching. During this procedure, a hole is made in the outer membrane just before the embryo transfer to help the embryo hatch and implant in the uterus.

You don’t have to abandon your dreams of parenthood. Our Los Angeles Fertility experts employ advanced infertility treatments, including laboratory fertilization combined with IVF, to garner positive outcomes for our patients. Call our office to schedule a consultation.