A step-by-step guide to an IVF cycle
You are almost there, but you do not know what to expect during an IVF cycle? Let’s take a step-by-step journey to make it easy for you:
Step 1: Day 1 of your period
An IVF cycle starts with the first or second day of your period. You will be given instructions by your fertility consultant, how to identify it. Since you have specific instructions, you have to get the medication in advance so to be ready.
Step 2: Ovaries stimulation
The ovaries stimulation starts on the second/third day. Usually, during your natural monthly cycle, the ovaries produce one egg. When you are following an IVF protocol, you will take hormones –in medication specifically for you, since everyone’s body is different- in the form of injections, for approx. 1-2 weeks based on the type of stimulation and your response, to encourage the follicles in your ovaries to produce more eggs (thus, more possibilities to have one at least fertilised). Do not worry, it is not a hard-to-do process, and midwives will teach you how to do it easily, or with the support of your partner.
The hormones used in the medication protocol, to boost the egg development, are usually FSH or LH (both are produced naturally by your body).
You will have to take blood tests and ultrasounds, to follow up, the development of the follicles.
When your follicles are ready, it is time for the trigger shot injection (hCG). The trigger shot prepares the eggs for the ovulation, and you will be instructed by your fertility expert exactly when to do it.
Your ovaries should release the eggs between 36-46 hours after the hCG shot, and your fertility expert will schedule the egg retrieval before you ovulate.
Step 3: Eggs retrieval
- Eggs retrieval, is done in the clinic, where the eggs are collected from your ovaries. It requires sedation, and the procedure usually takes about half an hour.
- Our extremely experienced fertility specialists, working under ultrasound scanning, are collecting the eggs from the follicles, a delicate work, to ensure perfect egg retrieval.
- After some hour, you recover, and you can go to your apartment/hotel/home.
Step 4: Male synchronisation
- In case you use your partner’s sperm, he will have to give a sample the morning of the egg retrieval. Otherwise, if he cannot be present on the day of your egg collection, he can provide a sample and be frozen in advance. If you are using donor sperm, it will be ready in our lab.
- In the lab, the sperm sample will be graded, and the fertility specialist will pick the best ones to fertilise the eggs.
Step 5: Fertilisation
Now it is time to place eggs and sperm together in the lab – all the process is done quickly- and let the sperm fertilise the eggs, as they would naturally do inside a woman’s body.
Step 6: Embryo development
An embryo is developed when a sperm fertilises an egg. Embryo/s are placed inside special lab incubators that create the perfect conditions to grow the embryo and prepare it for the implantation process.
The transfer can take place usually on day 3 or day 5 of fertilisation, and the decision is made upon your consultants’ and embryologists’ recommendations.
Stage 7: Embryo transfer
After a successful embryo development in the lab, it will be implanted into your uterus, via a simple process, that does not require anaesthesia, and it takes 5-10 minutes. You can get up straight afterwards and continue your usual day, with no fear that something will happen to the embryo.
Step 8: The hCG blood test
In about 12-14 days – after your embryo transfer- (Your consultant will also provide a medication protocol, the date of test day and further instructions), you will need to have a blood test to measure your levels of the hCG and progesterone hormone.
Congratulations! You did it!