In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) at UC San Diego Fertility Center
We understand that your decision to pursue In vitro fertilization is made with careful consideration of the costs and, most importantly, the chance for success. At the UC San Diego Fertility we define our center by the quality of care and extraordinary success rates we achieve for IVF in San Diego and throughout the United States. Once you meet our warm, caring staff and see the difference in our approach to patient care, we think your treatment decision will be easy.
About The In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Procedure
In vitro fertilization is the most advanced procedure in the assisted reproductive technology repertoire. Literally meaning, "fertilized in glass," in vitro fertilization is a procedure where the egg and sperm are combined in the laboratory, incubated and subsequently transferred into a woman's uterus.
A few of the specific IVF procedures are further defined by the number of days in which an egg is cultured before it is transferred. A standard transfer includes an culture period that is anywhere from 2-3 days, while a blastocyst transfer allows the eggs to be cultured for an additional 2-3 days. Since close to half of standard 2-3 day old embryos are chromosomally abnormal, a blastocyst transfer allows the embryos to develop to the blastocyst (5-day-old) stage while in the laboratory. During those five days the chromosomally abnormal embryos are often selected out naturally, and the more chromosomally normal embryos can be selected for transfer. Usually, only the best embryos have the ability to grow to the blastocyst stage and the Implantation rate per blastocyst transferred is twice that of 3-day-old embryos.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Options
Depending on the recommendation of your doctor and your specific treatment plan, UCSD Regional Fertility Center offers two additional IVF procedures that can be conducted before the embryo is transferred. These procedures are ICSI and assisted hatching. The ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) procedure is a treatment specifically used for male factor infertility. With this procedure the IVF cycle is conducted exactly in the same manner as a typical IVF cycle. However, after the eggs are retrieved, instead of mixing the sperm with the egg, the embryologist utilizes a thin glass pipette to immobilize the sperm, suck it up into the pipette, and then inject it directly into the egg's cytoplasm.
The assisted hatching procedure, like ICSI, is carried out by a technique known as micromanipulation. In small dishes the embryos, which now contain an average of six to eight cells, are stabilized by a holding pipette, while on the opposite side a small pipette containing acidified Tyrode's solution creates a small defect in the zona. Assisted hatching was developed in response to this theory that some women may fail multiple cycles of standard IVF because their eggs have a thicker shell. By creating a minor defect in the zona (shell) the result is a greater chance of the embryo "hatching," or shedding its shell, allowing for a better chance of implantation in the endometrium. In our studies, assisted hatching had improved the success rate in women between 35 and 40 so much that it began exceeding the results of our women under 35.
Next Steps To Take
For an excellent tutorial on the IVF procedure please visit the main Reproductive Partners web site.