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What is IVF?

What is IVF? IVF is an acronym for in vitro fertilization ('in vitro' meaning 'in glass'). Simply put IVF is adding a man's sperm to his female partners eggs in the laboratory to produce embryos. In vitro fertilization is an option for many couples who cannot conceive through conventional therapies. These embryos are put back into the female partner's uterus (womb) after 3 to 5 days of being in the incubator, hopefully they will then grow into a baby. The reasons IVF is done include - poor sperm quality and/or quantity, obstructions between the egg and sperm, ovulation problems, and [Read more.]
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Embryo Development

Oocyte (Egg) stages Germinal Vesicle (Immature) The germinal vesicle, indicated by the arrow, shows this egg to be in prophase I of the first meiotic division. (Please note that eggs and embryos are usually surrounded by a layer of corona cells, these look like a halo around the egg when spread out. The cumulus cells spread out even further and generally have the appearance of a fluffy cloud. The cumulus can often be seen without a microscope. The egg together with these cells is sometimes called the oocyte-cumulus-corona cell complex. In many of the pictures below the cumulus and coronal [Read more.]
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ICSI - Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection

ICSI - Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is an in vitro fertilization procedure in which a single sperm is injected directly into an egg; this procedure is most commonly used to overcome male infertility problems. The cumulus cells that surround the egg are removed using an enzyme called hyaluronidase, this historically comes from bovine testis but new technology has provided a pure recombinant product that is now available. A small amount of washed sperm is placed into thick viscous media containing poly vinyl pyrrolidone (PVP) in a dish. The PVP slows the sperm down so that they can be morp [Read more.]
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Embryo transfer

Embryo transfer The embryos are usually selected on day 3 or day 5 after retrieval. The number of embryos chosen for transfer will depend on a number of factors such as the maternal age, quality of embryos and results of previous cycles. After the transfer is complete the catheter is checked to ensure that none all the embryos are left behind. Embryo transfer can cause mild cramping. After transfer, the woman may get dressed and leave after a brief recovery period. A pregnancy test will be done twelve to fourteen days after the transfer, regardless of the occurance of any uterine bleeding. The transfer of [Read more.]
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The oocyte/egg retrieval

The oocyte/egg retrieval Oocyte retrieval is performed approximately 36 hours after the hCG injection. The ovaries are scanned transvaginally then each follicle is then punctured using a long, sharp needle which is secured by a metal guide on the outside of the ultrasound probe. The needle punctures the wall of the vagina then into the ovary. As each follicle is punctured the fluid inside is remove with gentle suction, this aspirate is then passed into the laboratory where an embryologist will examine it carefully under a microscope to try to find an egg. If an egg is not found the follicle will be flushed with warm m [Read more.]
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