- In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) : The basics
- When to consider IVF
- IVF Treatment process
- Basics of eSET
- Is eSET for me?
In Vitro Fertilization in Ontario
Consider In Vitro Fertilization at NewLife Fertility Centre
We hear a lot about in vitro fertilization (IVF) in the media, but with lots of news coverage comes a lot of misinformation. Some people believe IVF to be simpler than it is, or, on the flip side, they think the procedure is too complex to be within their reach. At NewLife Fertility Centre, we see in vitro fertilization as the logical next step when first-line fertility treatments aren’t enough. Our team in Ontario is dedicated to giving women and families the best care possible when it comes to IVF or any other treatment option.
Learn the Basics of In Vitro Fertilization
In vitro fertilization is a procedure in which we collect eggs from a woman’s ovaries to be fertilized by sperm in our lab. Once the egg is fertilized, the resulting embryo is incubated in our laboratory for a few days before being placed back into the mother’s uterus. In the time between fertilization and implantation back to the mother, we can test the embryos for genetic competence. This ensures the highest level of success possible and minimizes the chances of twins or triplets. In total, this treatment takes between two to four weeks, the length of an ovulation cycle. Each patient is unique, and the team at NewLife Fertility Centre will work with you to develop a treatment plan that prioritizes your preferences and goals.
Understanding the IVF Treatment Process
We’ve touched on the complexity of in vitro fertilization, but we can’t overstate the importance of each phase of the procedure. Patients should be aware of the basics of each phase to ensure the best results. When you choose NewLife Fertility Centre, your experience with in vitro fertilization will go as follows:
- Initial Consultation: During your first appointment, your healthcare team will get to know you and your medical history. This way, we can best design an IVF treatment plan that works for you. We’ll also carry out preliminary tests to check on hormone levels and other factors.
- Ovarian Stimulation: We may use medication to boost egg production in each ovulation cycle. Our team will continually monitor these treatments for effectiveness. You will be given HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) injection to allow for maturation of the eggs.
- Egg Retrieval: Once eggs are ready to be retrieved (usually about 36 hours after the injection, we’ll perform an outpatient surgery called a vaginal ultrasound egg retrieval. Worry not—this surgery is minor, and you can leave NewLife Fertility Centre after just an hour. Your partner will provide a semen sample during this appointment as well.
- Embryo Development: Using the semen sample, our team fertilizes the eggs and transfers them to incubators. The embryos are left to develop for the next few days.
- Embryo Selection: We’ll continue to monitor the embryo development for about five days. Then, we’ll identify which embryos are the healthiest and least likely to carry a genetic disorder.
- Embryo Transfer: Our team transfers the healthiest embryos back into the uterus. We typically recommend single embryo transfer (eSET) for most couples. Again, you’ll be able to go back to life, as usual, the day after the procedure.
- Post-Transfer: We ask that patients continue progesterone therapy for at least two weeks after the embryo transfer to make implantation easier. In the following days, we’ll monitor you for pregnancy symptoms. If your pregnancy is successful, you’ll continue progesterone therapy for another few weeks.
Reasons to Consider In Vitro Fertilization
Making the decision to try in vitro fertilization is often an emotional one. There are plenty of reasons to choose IVF beyond simple difficulties with conception. We’ve worked with all kinds of couples, including LGBTQ couples who can’t conceive a child. Our fertility clinic is happy to help patients struggling with the following:
- Unsuccessful attempts with other treatment options
- Age-related infertility
- Low ovarian reserve
- Recurrent miscarriages
- Family history of congenital disabilities
- Damaged fallopian tubes
- Lack of ovulation
- Pre-existing conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis
- Poor sperm quality
What is Single-Embryo Transfer?
We often recommend eSET for couples looking into in vitro fertilization. Single-embryo transfer, or eSET, allows us to implant only one high-quality embryo back into the uterus. This reduces the risk of miscarriage, unwanted multiples, preeclampsia, premature birth, among others. As it turns out, more embryos don’t necessarily mean a higher chance of success.
Deciding If eSET Is Right for You
At NewLife Fertility Centre, we want you to make an educated decision about how to get pregnant. While we suggest eSET to many of our patients, there are a few characteristics that make you a good candidate for the procedure. First, women under 35 years old who have had past success with IVF make good candidates. eSET may also be best for a woman with many high-quality embryos or who have received donor eggs. At the end of the day, the team at NewLife Fertility Centre is here to help you understand the pros and cons of this technique. Be sure to address all of your concerns with our team.
A Respected Source of In Vitro Fertilization
Throughout our years of experience, NewLife Fertility Centre has successfully helped countless patients undergoing IVF. We’ve built a reputation as a respected source for in vitro fertilization, including the lower-cost mini IVF. We’re here to help you maximize your chances of a successful pregnancy, whether you’re dealing with a lack of ovulation or a condition such as endometriosis.
Set Up Your First Appointment with NewLife Fertility Centre
Whether you’re ready to start your consultation or you still have some concerns about in vitro fertilization, don’t hesitate to talk to our team. The professionals at NewLife Fertility Centre are experts on conception and pregnancy, and we’ll work with you to create a unique treatment plan tailored to your needs. Contact our fertility clinic today to set up your first appointment.
IVF provides many people with the opportunity to attempt pregnancy in the face of one or more factors that may otherwise decrease their chances.
Below you will find the most common reasons for individuals or couples to consider IVF treatment.
Reasons To Choose IVF
- Women or couples who have been unsuccessful with simpler treatments like IUI
- Women with age-related infertility
- Women with low ovarian reserve
- Women with recurrent miscarriage
- Women or men who carry or have a family history of genetic defects
- Women with blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
- Women who are unable to ovulate
- Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Women with endometriosis
- Men with poor sperm quality or quantity
- Couples with unexplained infertility
- LGBT individuals and couples
Have A Question?
Our goal is to provide information and advice that will help you to make informed and confident decisions. We are just a phone call or email away if you need answers!
At NewLife Fertility, the in vitro fertilization process is characterized by a variety of different stages.
Your initial consultation, the very first step in the IVF process, is an opportunity for your NewLife clinical team to learn more about your medical history and begin to design a customized IVF treatment plan that addresses your goals and maximizes your success. Once a comprehensive workup of your Day 3 hormone levels and other preliminary tests have been completed, your care team will prepare you to begin your IVF cycle.
Normally, a woman produces one egg per month in her menstruation cycle. Fertility medications signal the ovaries to boost egg production and produce several eggs. This process of stimulation may continue for seven to ten days, during which time your care team at NewLife Fertility
IVF will monitor your fertility treatment progress with ultrasounds to examine the ovaries and with blood work to monitor hormone levels.
Once the egg-containing follicles have reached a healthy size, an injection of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is used to allow final maturation of the eggs and to spur ovulation.
Thirty-six hours after the hCG injection, the eggs are ready to be removed from the woman’s ovaries. To collect mature eggs from the woman’s body, a physician performs a minor outpatient surgery called a vaginal ultrasound egg retrieval. The surgery is a short thirty-minute procedure performed in-clinic. Light anesthesia is administered to ensure comfort. Most women are able to return home an hour or so after the procedure.
On the same day, your partner will provide a fresh semen sample to our lab. If you have obtained frozen donor sperm, we will ensure this sample has been tested prior to your retrieval. Following egg retrieval, you will begin progesterone to prepare the uterus for implantation of the embryo. Implantation will occur five to six days later.
Our embryologists combine the eggs with sperm for fertilization. Fertilized eggs, now called embryos, are transferred to our incubators to develop further. The sperm fertilizes an egg a few hours after insemination. If your embryologist thinks the chance of fertilization is low, the sperm may be directly injected into the egg. This process is called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI).
Our team of embryologists will regularly monitor your embryos to make sure they’re growing properly. Within about five days, a normal embryo develops into many cells that are actively dividing. At this point, individuals or couples with a risk of passing on a genetic disorder to their child or women with a history of failed IVF or miscarriage may consider and participate in genetic testing (PGS or PDG).
Our embryologists then assess embryo quality and decide which embryos are healthiest. Genetic testing of embryos (PGS – Preimplantation Genetic Screening) affords embryologists another layer of information about the embryos for the selection process. To ensure your best chance at a successful, healthy pregnancy, the highest quality embryo is selected.
To those who fit the criteria for treatment, we recommend elective single embryo transfer (eSET), which is the process of transferring one single healthy embryo, rather than a few. This is our first choice in selected couples because we know that transferring multiple embryos is associated with multiple pregnancies, and the greatest chance for a healthy pregnancy comes from a single-child pregnancy.
Three to five days after egg retrieval and fertilization, embryos are transferred into the woman’s uterus. This procedure occurs in-clinic using a catheter inserted through the cervix. Most women are able to resume regular activities the next day. If an embryo sticks to the uterine lining and grows, pregnancy results. Any unused embryos may be frozen to allow the option of future implantation.
To help thicken the uterine lining in order to make it easier for the embryo to implant, you will continue progesterone therapy for two weeks after embryo transfer. A blood test for pregnancy is performed several days after the embryo transfer. If pregnancy is confirmed, you will continue progesterone for another three to four weeks, until your placenta begins to produce enough progesterone to support the pregnancy on its own. If pregnancy cannot be confirmed, you may decide with your doctor to begin another cycle of IVF.
IVF success rates are intimately tied with embryo selection; that is, choosing to implant the embryo with the highest probability of leading to a successful, healthy pregnancy and birth.
Elective Single Embryo Transfer (eSET) is an option to implant one single embryo into a woman’s uterus, rather than a few. For those patients with a good prognosis for success who also meet the recommended guidelines for treatment, eSET provides the same success rate as IVF.
How It Helps
The biggest advantage of eSET is a greatly reduced risk of multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.). Our goal is always to achieve one singleton pregnancy per cycle to ensure a healthy baby and happy parents. One key component of working to achieve this goal is by using embryos conservatively.
At NewLife Fertility, we educate our prospective parents to help them make the best, most informed decisions in regard to their treatment. If IVF is a part of your fertility plan, your doctor will be ready to discuss whether eSET is the right option for you on your path toward growing your family.
Traditionally, IVF has involved the transfer of multiple embryos in an attempt to improve success rates. The theory was that the more embryos transferred, the more likely an embryo would implant and result in pregnancy. Recent research, however, plus improvements in fertility treatments, have shown this is not the case.
Today, with better techniques available to grow and select the best quality embryos, the decision to decrease the number of embryos transferred results in greatly decreasing the risk of multiple births, therefore increasing the chance of a successful pregnancy.
What is eSET?
A single-embryo transfer (eSET) is an IVF technique which allows our team to identify and implant one high-quality embryo into a woman’s uterus.
Risks Of Twins And Triplets
While some patients may perceive ‘multiples’ as a time-saving and safe outcome in an IVF cycle, there are a number of complications to be mindful of, for both the baby and mother. Transferring multiple embryos often leads to multiple pregnancies, which can result in:
- Higher risks of miscarriage
- Higher chances of premature birth
- Gestational diabetes
- Higher rates of C-section delivery
- Postpartum depression
“One size does not fit all” when it comes to the number of embryos we transfer.
Our team utilizes a customized approach to patient care that is designed to optimize outcomes for each patient. eSET is an option for all patients that have at least one chromosomally normal embryo, as identified through PGS.
eSET is recommended for women:
- Younger than 35 years of age
- Beginning their first IVF cycle
- With prior IVF success
- With a large number of high-quality embryos
- Who have embryos available for freezing
- Who are recipients of donor eggs
The first step in deciding if eSET is right for you is to discuss the option with your fertility doctor at NewLife Fertility Centre.
Selecting An Embryo
High-quality eggs produce high-quality embryos, which, therefore, helps the embryo to continue to grow and ‘stick’ once inside the uterus. Embryos must be strong enough to survive the early stages of development. As a woman ages, her ability to produce high-quality eggs begins to diminish, which, in turn, affects the quality of her embryos and, ultimately, the success of her pregnancy.
To choose the highest-quality embryo for transfer, the laboratory grades each one based on its appearance. This assessment includes a number of factors, including the number and size of the cells and the rate of development. Improved laboratory conditions now allow us to grow embryos to day 5 of development, the blastocyst stage.
These embryos, left to develop for five days, contain hundreds of cells. If an embryo reaches the blastocyst stage, we know it is a superior, healthy embryo and has a better chance of implanting successfully. While no method can reliably predict which embryo will produce live offspring (because so many other components factor into birth rate), eSET does offer an opportunity to select the embryo most likely to grow inside the uterus.
Thank you for helping me get pregnant. I am eternally grateful to you. I just wanted to email you to let you know about your amazing staff at the Brampton clinic. I would have sent this email even if I hadn’t been successful because I think staff like this is…
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