What Is In Vitro Fertilization?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most common and effective techniques available for improving your chances for a pregnancy. It involves fertilizing an egg outside the body, in a laboratory dish, and then implanting it in a woman's uterus.

In order for successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) to occur, your participation and that of your physician (reproductive endocrinologist), nurses and embryologists require close coordination. Precise timing of medications is critical, and close monitoring with ultrasound is required. This reproductive journey is detailed and involved, but we are here to guide you and help ease as many of the complexities that may occur along the way. Please feel free to ask our nurses and physicians any questions you may have.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) overview

With in vitro fertilization (IVF), eggs (oocytes) are retrieved from the ovary and placed in a Petri dish with active, motile sperm. Because fertilization occurs in the Petri dish rather than in the woman’s body, this process has been called “in vitro.” The eggs and sperm are maintained in a special culture media (nutrient fluid) within a controlled environment (incubator). If a fertilized egg is developing properly, it will consist of 6-8 cells at 3 days after egg retrieval. If an embryo is continuing develop appropriately, it will form a blastocyst by 5-6 days after egg retrieval. After embryos have developed in the IVF Lab for several days, one or more are selected for transfer into your uterus and if additional embryos are developing, they may be frozen to be transferred at a future time.