After the first appointment and medical check up, the most important decision of the future treatment has to be made — choosing the treatment method. One of the methods that the doctor prescribes, is the IVF procedure and, if necessary, some additional procedures.
IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), and it is evident from the name, is a medical procedure in which fertilization and the first few days of gestation proceeds extra-corpora — outside of a woman’s body but in a natural environment that is very similar to a female uterus. This method is also widely known as a «test-tube pregnancy» (we don’t really use test tubes though). IVF consists of the following steps:
- Superovulation stimulation (when a woman takes hormonal medication to release as many active egg cells as possible. It is important to remember that only one egg cell is typically released per cycle);
- Follicular puncture — the procedure that aims to take the mature ovum;
- Sperm collection and preparation;
- Insemination and cultivation of embryos;
- Embryo transfer into the uterine cavity;
- Cryopreservation for the rest of the ovaries for future use.
However, sometimes, it is possible to perform the IVF procedure without ovarian hyperstimulation. This is the case when the female partner produces a certain amount of eggs (and uses that supply for the future) which had been pre-programmed naturally (in 99% of cases, one is released monthly). This method has come to be called Natural Cycle IVF (or IVF without stimulation). Apart from the first step, the rest remain the same for these cases, an essential point to be remembered.