What is In Vitro Fertilization?

In Vitro Fertilization, commonly referred to as IVF, is an assisted reproductive technology. IVF is the process of fertilization through medication that allows eggs to be retrieved from the female (American, 2017). In order to get a sufficient amount of eggs for the IVF process, the woman is stimulated with injected medications using a protocol set by her doctor. The doctor will heavily monitor the woman during this time to tell when her follicles are ready for retrieval. When the follicles are large enough to be considered viable, the woman must be put under anesthesia for a short procedure. While under anesthesia, eggs are retrieved from the woman by transvaginal aspiration directly from the ovarian follicles (Texas, 2017). Once eggs are extracted, a sperm sample from the male is then used to be manually combined with the egg(s) outside of the woman’s body in a laboratory by an embryologist. The fertilized eggs then become embryos and at this point can be transferred into the woman’s uterus.

There are two types of embryo transfers: a fresh transfer and a frozen transfer. For a fresh embryo transfer, one or more of the recently developed embryos from the current IVF cycle are transferred into the uterus as soon as they are ready, which is usually three to six days after the egg retrieval (Horsager, 2017).

For a frozen embryo transfer (FET), the embryos that were formed after the egg retrieval are frozen after about five days. These embryos can then be thawed when the couple is ready for implantation. Frozen embryos can also be saved for a later date.


American Pregnancy Association. (2017). Retrieved from americanpregnancy.org

Horsager, A. (2017). The Episona Blog. Fresh vs. Frozen embryo transfer for IVF. Retrieved

from blog.episona.com

Texas Fertility Center. (2017). Retrieved from txfertility.com