In Vitro Fertilization {IVF}

Whenever there is a significant tubal dysfunction, protracted infertility or repeatedly failed inseminations, most professionals recommend IVF. Women also turn to IVF who want to maximize their chances of getting pregnant due to advancing age. And while IVF typically results in pregnancy rates that are three-to-four times greater than other methods of artificial insemination, the procedure is more expensive and more invasive.

Often lesbian couples choose to elect for one mother to carry and one to donate an egg. In that case, both the carrier and the donor will be placed on fertility medications. It usually takes about eight to ten days to prepare the ovaries of the partner contributing the egg for retrieval. The retrieval is then performed under light anesthesia and usually takes less than 30 minutes. After retrieving the healthy, mature eggs, we prepare them for fertilization. This can be done either by mixing sperm and eggs in a petri dish or injecting the sperm directly into the egg.

Finally, the eggs that have fertilized successfully will remain in an incubator until they grow into what are called blastocysts. At that point, a genetic screen (PGS) is often performed to eliminate abnormal embryos and can allow for the selection of gender of the transferred embryo. Such screening also improves pregnancy rates and reduces the risk of miscarriage. The healthiest blastocyst—and we recommend only transferring one if you want one child, as even twin pregnancies are considered risky—is then transferred to the carrying mother’s uterus via a small catheter.