Wanting to start a family is a dream that can be achieved even if you are facing difficulties with fertility. IVF treatments can help you achieve your goal of building a family.
Wondering how long the process will take and what it will entail. We have created an overview of the IVF treatment process, so you know what to expect from the beginning to the end.
The IVF treatment process takes about four weeks which is the same length as a regular ovulation cycle. The treatment commences once the fertility has been tested. In a fertility test, ovarian reserve or the quality of the egg is assessed along with analysis of the semen and evaluation of the uterine cavity. A medical assessment is also conducted to ensure the health of the mother before she conceives.
If we have to include the time taken for the prescribed preconception health regimen done for 90 days and fertility testing, the IVF treatment process can take about four months or 120 days.
An Overview Of IVF Process – How long does it take?
Health Regiment for 90 days: Pre-Conception
A healthy mother means a higher chance for success with IVF treatment. A few small changes in lifestyle and nutrition just before IVF can help in being successful during the IVF cycle and can also result in a healthy pregnancy soon. Hence before starting the IVF cycle, three months should be reserved for the preconception checklist. At this time, your doctor may prescribe vitamins, an increase in water intake, improvement in sleep hygiene and a nutritious and balanced diet. Alcohol, caffeine and smoking should be reduced or consumption should be stopped altogether.
It is very common to have a complete blood panel done and a saline sonogram in the pre IVF treatment test. These tests determine if your body needs boosters for immunization and also screen for genetic carriers. The health of the uterine cavity is also tested and along with screening to check for infectious diseases, vaginal ultrasounds and a test to check male fertility.
Stages in IVF:
Soon after all the diagnostic testing, the IVF cycle may begin.
Stage 1: Birth Control – Oral Contraceptives
IVF patients are asked to take oral birth control for 10-14 days before medication for fertility begins. Studies show that when taken before ovarian stimulation, oral contraceptives tend to increase the number of eggs available for retrieval and ensure that follicles grow as a solid group and lend support to overall ovarian health during the IVF treatment process.
Stage 2: Stimulation via Fertility Medication
Once the oral contraceptives have been consumed during the prescribed course, IVF patients start getting injected with fertility medication which must be taken for 9-11 days. These medications are made up of hormones that naturally occur and help in the development and maturing of the egg housing follicles. The larger the follicle in size and number, the higher the number of mature eggs it will provide for retrieval. During this period, you should visit the IVF clinic almost every alternate day to conduct a vaginal ultrasound and monitor your blood work.
Stage 3: Egg Retrieval
Egg retrieval is the single day procedure during which the eggs are removed from the follicles they are housed in and are taken to an IVF clinic lab where they fertilize and divide. In the lab, an embryologist takes care and watches the eggs divide as well as multiple for almost five days. During this time, the stage transition from zygote to blastocyst takes place.
Stage 4: Transfer of Embryo
Once fertilisation is complete, the embryo is transferred to the uterus on the fifth day. This is also a single day procedure and may take only about 30 minutes.
The procedure is painless, and you won’t even need anaesthesia. After this a waiting period is needed to check if the embryo is successfully implanted in the uterus which can take approximately 9-10 days.
Why should you start IVF one month before your egg retrieval?
An IVF cycle is as long as a regular ovulation cycle which is four weeks. Ovulation takes place when a mature egg gets released from the ovary and is pushed down the fallopian tube where fertility takes place, or in an IVF treatment procedure, the egg is retrieved.
The main goal of the IVF treatment process is to stimulate and prepare the ovaries so they can produce multiple mature eggs that can be used for retrieval and can be ready for implantation in the uterus.
How much time does an embryo take to be implanted after transfer?
Depending on how mature the embryo is, the embryo can take anything from 1-5 days after transfer. However, pregnancy cannot be confirmed until you take a blood test at the doctor’s office nine days post transfer.
When will you find out you are pregnant?
One of the hardest things about the IVF treatment process is waiting for the result of the pregnancy test. Remember that a very early pregnancy test will not be reliable. To determine the actual quantity of human chorionic gonadotropin, which is commonly known as hCG or the pregnancy hormone, a blood test for pregnancy must be performed nine days after the embryo has been transferred.
Starting an IVF journey is a massive step and one that brings you closer to building the family you have always dreamed about. Before and after you begin the IVF treatment process, try and reach out to as many families that underwent this procedure and seek emotional support from people you know or a therapist. Prepare your body and mind for the IVF treatment process, and remember that your journey will be unique and may not be the same as others who have undergone the procedure. Be in touch with your doctor and fertility team, and do not shy from asking questions with a positive attitude and a little caution in excitement. Enter this journey with the belief that only good things will happen.
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