Our fertility specialists are the experts you can turn to for help overcoming difficulties in achieving your family goals. In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is an assisted reproductive technology option we use to treat several infertility diagnoses.
Related to:IVF, IVF-ET, embryo transfer, fertility treatment
Our physicians may suggest IVF when less complex and less expensive methods of treatment have failed. However, in certain circumstances, such as advanced age or severe male factor, they may recommend IVF as first-line therapy.
During appointments leading up to the IVF procedure, you and your doctor will work together to develop a plan for optimal results. This may include:
Generally, 2-3 weeks of pre-treatment with an oral birth control pill is used to prevent ovarian cyst formation and allow ease of scheduling procedures. Three to five days after stopping the pill you will be seen for a baseline IVF ultrasound to determine if you are cleared to proceed with ovarian stimulation.
Ovarian stimulation is achieved with injectable medication 1-2 times daily. During this stimulation you will be monitored frequently with transvaginal ultrasound to evaluate the growth of the follicles (fluid filled sacs containing the eggs) and with blood work to follow your estradiol level. You will use a separate medication (by subcutaneous injection) to prevent ovulation prior to the egg retrieval. Our fertility specialists will determine the best time to retrieve (harvest) the eggs from the ovaries. Retrieval is completed using ultrasound imaging while the patient is under anesthesia to avoid discomfort.
Within our onsite laboratory, one of our embryologists will combine the retrieved eggs with sperm which has previously been chosen and prepared.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection
Successful fertilization odds may be increased for some couples by using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a method in which our embryologists use special equipment to individually inject eggs with a single sperm cell. Candidates for ICSI may include patients with severe reductions in sperm number or motility, regardless of cause and patients with a history of failure of fertilization in conventional in-vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET). The ICSI technique may also be used to achieve fertilization using surgically extracted sperm from patients with anatomic or surgical conditions (such as vasectomy) which prevent sperm from entering the ejaculate. In all these cases, donor sperm or ICSI may provide the only options for conception.
The morning after the egg retrieval, the eggs will be evaluated to determine if fertilization occurred successfully. Successfully fertilized eggs are then called embryos. Over the next few days, the cells of the embryo will multiply. Several variables will determine how many days you and your doctor will wait to transfer the embryo into the uterus. Your fertility doctor may conduct tests to determine which embryo is best for transferring. Some patients may choose to freeze all viable embryos at the blastocyst stage (day 5-7 after egg retrieval) for a frozen embryo transfer at a later date. Some patients may elect to perform preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) on the embryos. Embryos that undergo biopsy for PGT will need to be cryopreserved to allow time for the PGT results to be obtained prior to embryo transfer.
If a fresh embryo transfer is performed, this usually will occur on either day three or day five after egg retrieval. Excellent pregnancy rates occur in most cases with the transfer of one embryo, which also minimizes the risk of multiples. The transfer of more embryos will increase the likelihood of a multiple pregnancy, which increases the pregnancy risks for both the woman and the fetuses.
During the transfer, a catheter is passed through the cervix and into the uterus, usually under abdominal ultrasound guidance and with a full bladder. The embryo is then deposited into the uterine cavity. A small amount of fluid is also deposited with the embryo. The embryo can be transferred without the use of anesthesia, which means the patient can leave immediately after the procedure. A serum pregnancy test is usually performed 10 days following the transfer. Remaining good quality embryos can be cryopreserved for future use.
*Payment due prior to treatment. Costs associated with medication and anesthesia not included. Package cost does not include Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) or Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT) of the embryos.
Please call 210-450-9500 to make an appointment or to make a referral.
UT Health Fertility Center doctors are also faculty at The University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio School of Medicine. This allows us to remain one of the most cost efficient fertility practices in the area. Our staff is happy to answer questions about referrals, itemized diagnostic and treatment costs and billing options. The UT Health Fertility Center participates in a variety of insurance plans. For your convenience, we accept VISA, MasterCard, and Discover.