Frequently Asked IVF Questions

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In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a complex medical procedure that can help couples with infertility achieve pregnancy. At Reproductive Partners Fertility Center San Diego (RPSD), we understand that you may have many questions about IVF. We are here to provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your care.

What is IVF?

IVF is a process of fertilization where eggs and sperm are combined in the laboratory. The fertilized eggs, called embryos, are then transferred to the woman’s uterus. IVF can be used to treat a variety of infertility problems, including:

  • Female infertility, such as blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Male infertility, such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or abnormal sperm morphology
  • Unexplained infertility, when the cause of infertility is unknown

What are the steps involved in IVF?

The IVF process typically takes several weeks and involves the following steps:

  • Ovarian Stimulation: The initial step in your treatment will involve medications to prepare your body for the ovarian stimulation process. Following this, we administer specialized medications to stimulate your ovaries and promote the production of eggs.
  • Egg retrieval: Upon reaching maturity, the eggs will be retrieved in our on-site surgical center. The eggs will then be cared for in our state-of-the-art laboratory where they will undergo the fertilization process.
  • Fertilization: In our laboratory, most of the time, we inject each mature egg with a single sperm (ICSI procedure) from your partner or a donor. The day following your egg retrieval, we will let you know how many eggs were successfully fertilized.
  • Embryo culture: We culture the embryos in a controlled environment and closely monitor their development and quality throughout the process.
  • Pre-implantation Genetic Testing: If you choose to have pre-implantation genetic testing on your embryos to screen for chromosomal abnormalities, we perform biopsy by removing 4 to 6 cells from your embryos. These cells are sent to the genetic laboratory while your embryos are frozen.
  • Embryo Freezing: Your embryos are frozen at the blastocyst stage (day 5 – day 7) using the vitrification method until you are ready for transfer. Your frozen embryos are securely stored in a liquid nitrogen tank of -196 degrees celsius, with continuous monitoring through an alarm system.
  • Embryo Transfer: On the day of the transfer, the embryo is thawed (“warmed”), and our skilled physicians carefully transfer the embryo into your uterus under ultrasound guidance.

Preparation for IVF

Once you have determined with your physician that IVF is right for you, preparation is important to optimize your chance of success. Our pre-treatment instructions can help you make the most of your treatment and maximize your chances of having a healthy pregnancy and baby.

  • Share: Providing as much information as possible at your initial consultation and pre-treatment appointments will help your physician customize a plan for you. Many factors–medical history, previous pregnancies, weight, diet, medications, lifestyle, stress level, exercise routines, previous fertility tests or treatments and more–influence the decisions we make as we work with you to determine your best possible treatment.
  • Track your cycle: A woman’s cycle is one of the most important factors in achieving pregnancy, so it is vital to track yours. It is also recommended that you test for ovulation using an ovulation kit; it can tell you if you are ovulating by measuring hormones in your urine. A fertility monitor will provide even more accurate tracking. It assesses your saliva, urine, vaginal discharge or body temperature to provide detailed information about your cycle.
  • Optimize your health:
    • Sleep at least eight hours per night
    • Stop smoking
    • Improve your diet by cutting down on sugar, alcohol and highly processed foods. Increase your intake of antioxidants and Omega 3s.
    • Take vitamin supplements (as recommended by your physician)
    • Seek out people who can support you emotionally during this sometimes stressful process

How can I get started with IVF?

If you are considering IVF, the first step is to schedule a consultation with a fertility specialist at RPSD. During your consultation, your physician will discuss your medical history, perform a physical exam, and order any necessary tests. Your physician will then develop a personalized treatment plan for you.

We are here to help

At RPSD, we are committed to providing our patients with the highest quality care and support. We understand that the IVF journey can be emotional, and we are here to help you every step of the way.

Additional resources

Reproductive Partners Fertility Center San Diego:
American Society for Reproductive Medicine:

Learn more about starting your fertility journey.