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Step-by-step IVF embryo transfer procedure: Ziva Fertility Specialist Explains

The most popular and preferred ART – Assisted Reproductive Technique is IVF. IVF, short for In Vitro Fertilization, comprises many steps. The main steps are ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, sperm retrieval, fertilization and embryo transfer. A single cycle lasts about two to three weeks; some couples’ cycles may need more than a single cycle.

Let us understand the detailed step-by-step process of an IVF Embryo Transfer.

Step -1 – Ovulation induction

Ovulation induction starts by using synthetic hormones. These medically induced hormones stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs compared to a single egg each month. The need for multiple eggs arises because some eggs won’t fertilize. 

  • The hormones injected are follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), a luteinizing hormone (LH) or a combination of both. 
  • The follicles are ready for egg retrieval, generally after eight to 14 days. Human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is administered to help the eggs mature.
  • On the day of egg retrieval or at the time of embryo transfer, you are given progesterone supplements to make the lining of your uterus more receptive to implantation.

Eggs are retrieved in one to two weeks after ovarian stimulation. Vaginal ultrasound and blood tests determine when the eggs are ready for collection. 

If the doctor observes an inadequate number of follicles or too many follicles developing, creating a risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, the IVF cycle is stopped at this step. The IVF cycle is restarted after changing medications or their doses to promote a better response. One can choose an egg donor as well.

Step – 2 – Egg retrieval

Egg retrieval can be done at clinic:-

  • You are sedated or given pain medication during egg retrieval.
  • Eggs are retrieved via a transvaginal ultrasound. With the help of an ultrasound probe inserted into the vagina, the follicles are identified. After follicle identification, a thin needle is inserted through the vagina and into the follicles to retrieve the eggs. Multiple eggs can be removed in about 20 minutes.
  • One may experience cramping and feelings of fullness or pressure.
  • Mature eggs are placed in a culture medium and incubated. Healthy and mature eggs are mixed with sperm for embryo creation. 

Step – 3 – Sperm retrieval

The sample is collected through masturbation at laboratory of fertility center on the morning of egg retrieval. Testicular aspiration, i.e., using a needle or surgical procedure to extract sperm directly from the testicle, is sometimes required. If none of these work, donor sperm can be used. The sperm and the semen fluid are separated in the lab.

Step – 4 – Fertilization

Fertilization in an IVF is achieved via two common methods:

  • Traditional insemination: The healthy sperm and mature eggs are mixed and incubated overnight.
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): A single healthy sperm is injected directly into each mature egg. ICSI method of fertilization opts when semen quality or number is a problem or if fertilization attempts during prior IVF cycles fail.

Step -5 – Embryo transfer

In an IVF, either fresh embryos or frozen embryos can be used. Embryo transfer is done two to five days after egg retrieval. The procedure is as follows:-

  • The procedure is done under a mild sedative. Apart from mild cramping, the procedure is usually painless.
  • A long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter is inserted into the vagina through your cervix and uterus.
  • A syringe with one or more embryos is suspended in a small amount of fluid and is attached to the end of the catheter.
  • The doctor places the embryo or embryos into your uterus with the syringe.

After an embryo transfer, it will implant in the lining of your uterus about six to 10 days after egg retrieval.

ZIVA has a proven track record of highly successful IVF Embryo Transfer. We are experts in egg freezing, embryo freezing, and fresh and frozen embryo transfers. Please visit our website to know more about our services or reach us at +91-9100002737, +91-9392834024, and