How Do I Start IVF?
Difficulty becoming pregnant is a challenge many couples face. In vitro fertilization, or IVF, can help couples overcome fertility challenges and make their dreams of having children a reality.
For some, the idea of starting IVF can be overwhelming. It doesn’t have to be. Understanding where to begin is the first step to undergoing treatment. If you are wondering how to start IVF, the Omaha, NE, team at Heartland Center for Reproductive Medicine is here to guide you through the process.
Begin with Fertility Evaluations
The first step to starting IVF is to speak with a fertility doctor to determine if IVF is right for you. Part of the initial process is to get an understanding of what may be causing infertility through fertility evaluations. Undergoing fertility evaluations is essential to determining whether you’re a good candidate for IVF.
Fertility evaluations should be performed on both partners and typically include:
- Taking a medical history
- Blood work
- Semen analysis
- Ultrasound of the reproductive system
Before Starting IVF
If fertility evaluations indicate IVF is a good option for your needs, there are some things you can do before starting IVF to prepare yourself, such as:
- Stop smoking or using tobacco and nicotine products
- Stop drinking alcohol
- Limit caffeine
- Start taking prenatal vitamins
- Increase foods that are high in folate, Omega-3, vitamins C and E, as these are good for fertility
Starting IVF Treatment
Once it’s time to start IVF treatment, medications will be prescribed and taken daily to regulate the reproductive cycle, increase the number of mature eggs, and help with the timing of egg retrieval.
IVF medications are typically injected over roughly four weeks prior to egg retrieval and include:
- Suppressing the menstrual cycle: At the start of IVF, medications are injected daily for about two weeks to suppress the menstrual cycle so that there is no guessing about egg maturity and when egg retrieval should be scheduled.
- Follicle stimulating hormones: Follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) is started once the menstrual cycle is regulated. FSH injections encourage the follicles to produce multiple mature eggs rather than only one egg as they normally do. FSH injections are taken for about seven to ten days, sometimes longer or shorter, depending on how quickly the eggs develop.
- Preventing premature ovulation: Sometimes hormones are given to prevent premature ovulation and assist in the timing of egg retrieval.
- Triggering ovulation: Once the eggs have reached maturity, which is evaluated through ultrasound, an injection, often called the “trigger shot,” is given to signal the body to ovulate and release the eggs for retrieval.
After eggs are retrieved, they are combined with sperm in a lab. Fertilized eggs are incubated for several days. Resulting embryos may be evaluated to determine which are healthiest and most viable.
Once sufficiently matured, an embryo can be placed into the uterus with the hopes that it will implant and lead to a successful pregnancy. Arrangements can be made at our Omaha practice to freeze remaining embryos for future pregnancy.
Is IVF Right for You?
IVF has made it possible for many couples who have struggled with infertility to welcome children into the world. If you would like to find out if IVF is right for you or have more questions about starting IVF, please call our Omaha practice at (402) 717-4200 to schedule a consultation.