The Step-By-Step Sequence of IVF

IVF Process Explained

You may have been trying to conceive for months or, more likely, for years but to realize that nothing has worked. It is a good thing you are thinking of using IVF treatment as an option. Starting the IVF treatment process can be both exhilarating and nerve-wrecking. We understand the stress that comes with the fertility treatment, which is why we offer continuous support by providing information on the process of IVF treatment.

It is absolutely important to know the process of IVF, because the more you understand, the more you feel confident and in control. Here’s the step by step process involved in an IVF treatment cycle:

Stage 1: Your Ovulation

During this stage your ovaries and egg release will be observed and monitored. This is done before and during the in vitro fertilization process. Your ovaries should be producing eggs and your hormonal levels must be normal.

To ensure that the process will have a higher success rate, fertility medicines or hormones may be prescribed. Most women take fertility medicines to produce one or more eggs by stimulating the ovaries. If you produce more than one egg, your chances of getting pregnant will increase.

Stage 2: Observing Your Drug Response

To monitor the progress of your ovarian stimulation you will undergo an ultrasound examination and blood tests. This allows your fertility doctor to document and record any observations we might have during the process. It will also guide the fertility team to know the specific action to be taken, and evaluate the effectiveness of the medication administration.

Stage 3: Egg Development

Once your eggs have matured, they can now be collected. During the egg collection you will be given a light general anesthesia for this simple and short process. Your eggs will be retrieved using an ultrasound-guided method.

In order to lessen your discomfort, pain medication will be given during this IVF process. A very thin needle will then be passed through the upper vaginal wall. With the use of the vaginal ultrasound, a certain amount of fluid will be separated from the follicles under gentle suction.

After the gentle suction of the follicle, the egg will be immediately secluded from the follicular fluid. The egg will then be placed in a culture dish and then transferred to the incubator.

Stage 4: Introducing the Sperm

Sperm production or the sperm sample, will be produced on the day of egg collection. The embryologist will fertilize both the sperm and eggs together in the lab and, if all goes well, early embryo growth will begin. Those that have been fertilized, which are now called embryos, will be developed in the laboratory incubator for up to 6 days.

Stage 5: The Embryo

The growth of the embryos will be monitored, and the best will then be selected for transfer. If you are under the age of 40, one or two embryos may be transferred. If you are above 40, a maximum of three may be used. The number of embryos transferred is limited to prevent multiple births. For this reason, your gynaecologist will advise the most appropriate embryo transfer for you.

Stage 6: The Procedure

A speculum will be introduced into your vagina, during the procedure. This is comparable to having a cervical smear taken, when a speculum is used to clasp the vagina tract so the cervix is opened.

A fine tube is then passed through the cervix, usually using ultrasound guidance. The embryos are delivered down the tube into the womb.

This is normally a painless process and usually no sedation is needed. However you may experience slight cramping and slight discomfort from the full bladder if ultrasound is used.

Stage 7: Pregnancy Test

Around two weeks after the embryo has been transferred, you will take a blood test to learn whether the procedure is successful.

Some women discover that they are pregnant after the IVF process, but others recognize that the procedure has not worked.

The average couple may experience 2 to 3 tries with the IVF process before a successful pregnancy happens. Once you get pregnant, keep in mind that it is no different from a pregnancy that is established naturally. If the test is positive, you will have your first pregnancy scan two weeks later.

Keep in mind that if more than one embryo is transferred, your chance of pregnancy is greater, but so are the chances of having a multiple pregnancy. About 20 percent of babies born through IVF are twins, triplets, or more.

It is therefore important to arm and prepare yourself with sufficient knowledge in order to make the best decisions together with your fertility specialist, about your IVF options. Our clinic is here to guide you in every step of your IVF journey. Remember, we have one common goal, and that is to help you achieve a healthy baby.


Dr Ann Tan
Dr Ann Tan, PBM
Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
MBBS (S'PORE), MRCOG (LONDON),
M MED (O&G) FAM (SINGAPORE)
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