Thanks to in vitro fertilization (IVF), countless people around the world have been able to star a family of their own and experience the joys of parenthood. Even though IVF is quite popular, people tend to have a misunderstanding of what the process involves and how long it takes.
Because of these misunderstandings, the team at our Lubbock, TX fertility clinic would like to consider the length of an IVF cycle. By knowing how long the process requires, patients will have a better idea of what to expect during treatment. Simply understanding the timeframes of treatment can help with peace of mind.
General Length of an IVF Cycle
The overall length of an IVF cycle is about 4 weeks. This covers the amount of time spent preparing for the IVF process to checking for successful implantation and pregnancy. A lot will happen over the course of this 4 weeks, so we’ve broken down each of the steps of the IVF cycle to help you understand.
Preparing for the IVF Process
Before undergoing fertility medication injections, patients will actually be put on oral contraception for about 10 to 14 days. This sounds counterintuitive since the point of IVF is to get pregnant. However, oral contraceptives can help increase the number of viable follicles during the egg retrieval process.
Use of Fertility Medications
Once this preparation phase has passed, patients can start undergoing fertility drug injections. These medications will help regulate hormones and control the body’s processes over the next few days. In essence, the fertility drugs help ensure precise timing for the next stages of the IVF process. Roughly 9 to 11 days worth of fertility medication injections will be required.
When the follicles have matured, the egg retrieval process can begin. On this day of the IVF cycle, viable eggs are taken from the ovaries and then fertilized in a lab setting. The eggs and sperm are then given time to incubate so cellular division can occur.
The Fertilization Process
Over the course of 3 to 5 days after fertilization, the fertilized egg will undergo a natural process of cellular division. This allows the egg to develop into an embryo, which is required for the IVF process to work.
When the embryo is ready, the patient returns to the practice for embryo transfer. This is when the embryo is placed back into the uterus so that it may implant and develop. This process requires a day.
Checking for Successful Implantation
Another phase of waiting occurs after embryo transfer. It’s important that the embryo properly implant along the lining of the uterus. It can take about 10 days before successful or unsuccessful implantation has occurred.
Though this final portion of the IVF cycle can be full of stress and anxiety, it’s important that patients be as calm and relaxed as possible while awaiting the results of the process.
Contact the Centre for Reproductive Medicine
To learn more about IVF and whether or not it’s ideal for you, be sure to contact an experienced fertility specialist. We are here to help you start a happy, healthy family, and to realize your dreams.