IVF, or In Vitro Fertilization, is an advanced medical technique used to treat infertility. In this procedure, fertilization occurs in a lab instead of inside a woman’s body. Today, it is considered the best infertility treatment and is accepted worldwide for its safety and success rate.

However, many people shy away from this treatment due to a lack of knowledge and misconceptions. Therefore, to help couples make informed decisions, this introductory guide stipulates everything you need to know about IVF procedures.

What is IVF?


It is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) in which fertilization of sperm and egg takes place outside of a woman’s uterus in a lab under a controlled environment. The IVF process involves complex procedures for retrieving an egg, fertilization, and embryo transfer.

Earlier, IVF was considered a last-line treatment for infertility. However, people started to trust this procedure for many other reasons.

Who needs IVF Treatment?


People opt for IVF due to several reasons, such as:

  • Advanced maternal age.
  • Other fertility methods fail.
  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes.
  • Low sperm count or other sperm impairments.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or other ovarian conditions.
  • Uterine fibroids.
  • Problems with the uterus.
  • Risk of passing on a genetic disease or disorder.
  • Are you using an egg donor or a gestational surrogate?

What are the steps of the IVF process?


Though IVF is a complex assisted reproductive technology incorporating several steps, however, some general steps involved in the IVF process are:

  • Ovarian stimulation

A woman undergoes hormonal medications to stimulate her ovaries to release more eggs, not just one egg, which is common during the menstrual cycle.

Hormonal medication is performed using injections of fertility drugs throughout 8 to 14 days. Moreover, this stimulation aims to get more eggs than usual for fertilization.

  • Monitoring

Several blood tests and USG examinations are done on women to closely monitor their progress throughout the ovarian stimulation phase. All the tests performed aim at determining the number and size of follicles developing inside the ovaries.

  • Egg retrieval

After the ovarian follicles are mature enough, a minor surgical procedure named follicular aspiration or egg retrieval is performed to collect the eggs for fertilization.

A woman is kept under general anesthesia or mild sedation while a thin needle is inserted into the ovaries via the vaginal walls. The entire process is guided by USG imaging. Moreover, the sole purpose of this process is to collect the mature eggs.

  • Sperm collection

There are several ways to collect sperm, such as surgical extraction or donor sperm. Otherwise, on the same day as egg retrieval, the male partner provides the semen sample for sperm collection.

  • Fertilization process

The next vital step is the fertilization of the retrieved egg and sperm. It can be done mainly via two popular methods, namely:

  • conventional IVF or
  • intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

Conventional IVF: In this method, the collected eggs and sperm are placed in a culture dish and are left to fertilize naturally.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): In this method, a specialized micromanipulation technique is used to insert a single sperm in each mature egg.

  • Embryo culture

The fertilized eggs, now called embryos, are kept in a laboratory incubator to monitor them for cell division and overall development for a few days.

  • Embryo transfer

Once the culture and observation period is over, the healthy embryo, either one or more, is transferred inside the woman’s uterus for further development. Overall, embryo transfer is a simple outpatient procedure typically performed without anesthesia. This method inserts a thin catheter through the cervix to place the fertilized embryos into the uterus.

  • Luteal phase support

Once the embryos are successfully transferred into the uterus, the women are kept under progesterone medications. It is basically to support the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle and boost the chances of a successful pregnancy.

  • Pregnancy test

After around 10 to 14 days of successful embryo transfer, a blood test is performed to detect whether the pregnancy is positive.

If the pregnancy is positive, further support and care are offered to ensure a healthy and safe pregnancy.

However, if the pregnancy test results are negative, the couple must discuss their alternatives with their healthcare provider.



Remember that the details and variations to the IVF process are subject to the individual’s unique circumstances and procedures opted for by the fertility clinics. So, it is the wisest decision to consult a fertility specialist for the most accurate and personalized treatment that aligns with your unique case and circumstances.

Categories: Health

Nicolas Desjardins

Hello everyone, I am the main writer for SIND Canada. I've been writing articles for more than 12 years and I like sharing my knowledge. I'm currently writing for many websites and newspapers. I always keep myself very informed to give you the best information. All my years as a computer scientist made me become an incredible researcher. You can contact me on our forum or by email at [email protected].