The details on IVF

IVF (in vitro fertilization) is a term you may have heard before. As you start exploring what
it could mean for you, know that you’re not alone. We’ve got your back.

Here’s a little bit about what
to expect

At the start of your IVF cycle, you may be prescribed medication that will allow your reproductive endocrinologist (RE) greater control over the timing of egg retrieval and prepare your body for step 1 (controlled ovarian stimulation) below.

  1. Step 1

    Controlled ovarian stimulation (COS)

    The ovaries are stimulated to produce multiple eggs.

    • With COS, the goal is to stimulate the development of multiple eggs to increase the chances of producing a healthy embryo
    • In order to produce multiple eggs, your doctor will prescribe medication to stimulate your follicles—which contain immature eggs—to grow using one or more fertility drugs, and will monitor development
    • When your follicles have grown to an appropriate size, you’ll receive a “trigger shot” (a hormone injection) to trigger the final maturation of the eggs before they can be retrieved
  2. Step 2

    Egg retrieval

    Eggs are retrieved from the follicles.

    • Before your doctor retrieves the eggs from your ovaries, she or
      he will give you pain medication or sedate you
    • Then, she or he will use a probe, which is inserted in your
      vagina, to retrieve the eggs from the follicles in your ovaries
    • The procedure usually takes less than an hour in the doctor’s office
  3. Step 3

    Sperm retrieval

    Sperm is separated from the semen.

    • Semen is obtained by masturbation, or a special condom used
      during intercourse
    • If the male’s semen is void of sperm, it may be obtained from
      the testicle
  4. Step 4


    Sperm is introduced to eggs.

    • Partner or donor sperm will be mixed with your eggs
    • The next morning, an embryologist will check that the eggs are
      fertilized and developing properly and will continue to monitor them
  5. Step 5

    Embryo transfer

    Embryos are transferred directly into the uterus.

    • Your doctor will work with you to determine how many
      embryos will be transferred, and at what time
    • More than one embryo increases the chance of pregnancy, but
      also increases the chance of multiples (twins or triplets)
    • Once the number is chosen, your embryo(s) are transferred
      directly into your uterus via a catheter

Don't forget to check your coverage

Your insurance coverage can have a huge
impact on your fertility treatment decisions.

Learn about the ins and outs
of insurance coverage
What happens next?

In the time between egg retrieval (step 2) and embryo transfer (step 5), your reproductive endocrinologist (RE) may prescribe progesterone—a hormone that helps prepare the uterus for implantation and supports pregnancy. Progesterone can be continued for up to 10 weeks following a positive pregnancy test—so keep in mind that even when the steps above are over, you may still be on medication (either vaginally, orally, or via injection) for
some time.

What are the chances of pregnancy?

In nationally reported data, IVF demonstrated
up to a 48% success rate*

*Success was defined as the rate of live births per cycle.

About to start IVF?

My Fertility Navigator was made for you.

My Fertility Navigator is a program designed to help women navigate the rocky road
of fertility. Sign up, and you'll get information on next steps (whatever yours may be!),
a guide to working with a reproductive endocrinologist, and more.

Sign up for My Fertility Navigator