IVF Treatment Process

1. Preliminary Appointment

A multipurpose visit will be arranged between you and the in vitro fertilization (IVF) team.

The preliminary visit may take four to six hours, and activities include:

  • Meeting with IVF nurse to learn more about the IVF process and review a sample treatment cycle schedule
  • Meeting with financial counselor
  • Preliminary evaluation of the female partner
  • Preliminary evaluation of the male partner in the Reproductive Testing Laboratory

It is often not necessary to repeat testing that has been done locally. Send your local records prior to your appointment to reduce duplication of effort. If additional testing is required, this will be discussed and arranged.

2. Team Review

Your physician will present your history at the weekly team meeting. The team will develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for you. The complex processes of advanced reproductive therapy procedures are carried out by a team of professionals. Included on this team are: physicians with specialty training in the areas of infertility; nurses with special IVF training; the IVF Lab Director, who is a gamete biologist, and her assistants, trained in ART procedures; health psychologists experienced in working with infertile couples; a financial counselor; ultrasound technicians; endocrinology lab, pharmacy and operating room personnel.

3. Treatment Cycle Scheduling

Once testing is completed and a treatment plan has been developed you are welcome to schedule a treatment cycle. When planning an in vitro fertilization procedure, you will be asked to be in Iowa City one day in the middle of your menstrual cycle and again when your follicles are large enough to trigger ovulation. The actual number of visits required of you will depend upon the availability of monitoring in or near your home community. The IVF team will work with you to coordinate local care when possible. Male partners must be present on the day of egg retrieval to provide a fresh semen sample. An adult must be available to drive you home on the day of oocyte retrieval and on the day of embryo transfer.

IVF Treatment Cycle

Fertility drugs which mimic the body's natural hormones are given daily by injection in hopes that three or more eggs will develop during the treatment cycle - the more eggs fertilized, the better the chance for pregnancy. Fertility drugs commonly given in this program include:

  • Gonadotropin Releasing Hormone (GnRh) agonist
  • Gonadtropin Releasing Hormone (GnRh) antagonist
  • Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH)
  • Human Menopausal Gonadotropins (hMG)
  • Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG)

In all cases, timing of egg retrieval is determined by careful monitoring of blood estrogen levels and/or ultrasound imaging of the size and number of ovarian follicles.