In Vitro Fertilization was originally conceived as a method of treating obstructions of the female reproductive tract. If healthy eggs, healthy sperm and a healthy uterus were present, but a physical blockage of the fallopian tube(s) was preventing sperm from meeting the egg in the body the concept of IVF was considered a treatment option. Removing the egg(s) and sperm from the body and allowing them to interact in a more hospitable environment, in this case an incubator, gives them a chance to fertilize and develop into an embryo which is placed into the uterus a few days later. The embryo will need to implant itself within the uterine lining and form a placenta in order to establish a pregnancy.
IVF can be performed on a single egg, but since the majority of human gametes (eggs and sperm) are incapable of forming a viable embryo the success rate will be lower for these natural IVF cycles. Usually the female patient will take hormones to stimulate the ovary to produce more than one egg. Once the eggs have been nurtured inside the follicle of the ovary for a period of time, another hormone is taken to cause the eggs to mature. Only mature eggs are capable of being fertilized.
An immature egg with germinal vesicle (GV) visible
A mature egg with 1st polar body visible
We hold IVF Orientations on the 1st Wednesday of every month taught by one of our clinical embryologists. You will be able to see photos and videos of ICSI and embryo biopsies as well as the development of the human embryo from fertilization to the blastocyst stage. Please call any one of our offices to make arrangements to attend. Or, you can also make arrangements by emailing Selvi Kircher at firstname.lastname@example.org.