How is the IVF Procedure Done? A Step-by-step Guide

ivf procedure

Understanding IVF Treatment Procedure?

IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is a fertility treatment where fertilizations takes place outside the body, usually in a laboratory setting. Here's a general overview of the IVF treatment process:

  • Medicines to Make Eggs: The woman takes special medication to help her ovaries produce more eggs than usual.
  • Checking Egg Growth: Doctors use ultrasounds and blood tests to keep track of how the eggs are growing.
  • Collecting Eggs: When the eggs are ready, doctors use a small needle to take them out of the ovaries through the vagina.
  • Getting Sperm: The man provides a sperm sample. The doctors pick the healthiest sperm from it.
  • Mixing Eggs and Sperm: In a lab, they put the eggs and sperm together in a dish or a special container. They might help them join naturally or use a tiny injection to help them.
  • Growing Embryos: The fertilised eggs (now called embryos) stay in the lab for a few days to grow.
  • Putting Embryos Inside: The doctors place one or more healthy embryos into the woman’s uterus using a thin tube. It's a quick and painless process.
  • Extra Help for Uterus: Sometimes, after putting the embryos in, the woman might get extra medicine to help the uterus get ready for the embryos.
  • Pregnancy Check: About 10-14 days later, doctors check if the woman is pregnant with a blood test.

The entire IVF treatment process can vary in length and may require multiple cycles for success. The patient should strictly follow postoperative care instructions from the surgeon. These instructions include wound care, medication management, and a gradual return to normal activities. Severe or chronic adverse effects should be reported immediately to the medical staff so that they may be further evaluated and offered guidance, even if they occur frequently.

Who Might Need IVF Treatment?

IVF is typically considered for individuals or couples facing certain fertility issues that may include:

  • Blocked Tubes: When tubes in a woman's body are damaged or blocked, eggs and sperm can't meet naturally.
  • Ovulation Problems: Sometimes, conditions like PCOS can make it hard for a woman to release eggs regularly.
  • Endometriosis: This happens when tissue similar to the womb lining grows outside the womb, making it tough to get pregnant.
  • Trouble with Sperm: Men might have issues with how much sperm they have, how it moves, or its shape. IVF can help by directly injecting sperm into the egg.
  • Unknown Reasons: Sometimes, doctors can't find the exact reason why a couple can't conceive. In these cases, IVF might be suggested.
  • Age: Women over 35 might find it harder to get pregnant due to getting older. IVF can be a good option for them.
  • Past Fertility Treatments Failed: If other ways to help get pregnant didn't work before, IVF might be the next step to try.

IVF isn’t the first-line treatment for infertility. Often, less invasive and less expensive treatments are attempted before moving to IVF. The decision to pursue IVF is made after a thorough evaluation by fertility specialists who assess the individual or couple’s medical history, test results, and specific fertility issues.

Is the IVF Procedure Painful?

The experience of pain during an IVF treatment process can vary from person to person. Here's a general overview of potential discomfort associated with different stages:

Ovarian Stimulation:

The injections used to stimulate the ovaries can cause mild discomfort, bruising, or tenderness at the injection site. Some women may also experience bloating or mild abdominal discomfort due to enlarged ovaries.

Egg Retrieval:

This procedure is typically done under anesthesia or conscious sedation to minimize discomfort. After the procedure, some women may experience cramping, bloating, or mild pelvic discomfort for a few days.

Embryo Transfer:

This step is usually not painful and is similar to a Pap smear. It doesn’t require anesthesia, and many women report minimal discomfort or none at all.

Progesterone Supplementation:

Some discomfort or irritation at the injection site might occur if progesterone is administered via injections.

What to Expect During the Procedure?

During an IVF treatment process, you can expect a series of steps and medical interventions. Here’s a breakdown of what typically happens:

  • First Meeting: You'll meet a special doctor who checks your health history, does tests, and talks about IVF, including its risks and how likely it is to work.
  • Medicines for Eggs: You'll get special medication, usually as shots, to help your ovaries make more eggs than usual. They'll keep an eye on how your eggs grow with ultrasounds and blood tests.
  • Getting Eggs: When the eggs are ready, you'll have a quick surgery, usually while you're asleep or relaxed. Doctors use a thin needle through your vagina to collect the eggs from your ovaries.
  • Sperm from Partner: Your partner gives a sperm sample. Doctors pick the healthiest sperm from it.
  • Joining Eggs and Sperm: In a lab, they put eggs and sperm together in a dish or by injecting one sperm into one egg. They watch to see if they join and grow for a few days.
  • Putting Embryos in: The healthy embryos are put into your womb using a tiny tube. It's fast and doesn’t hurt much.
  • Extra Help for Womb: Sometimes, after putting the embryos in, you might get extra medicine to help your womb get ready for them.
  • Waiting and Checking: Afterward, you wait for a while before taking a test to see if you're pregnant.

Things to Follow After IVF to Increase Success Rate

After undergoing IVF, there are several things individuals can do to enhance the chances of a successful outcome potentially:

  • Follow Doctor's Instructions: Adhere strictly to the post-IVF guidelines provided by your fertility specialist. This includes taking medications as prescribed, attending follow-up appointments, and following activity restrictions if advised.
  • Healthy Lifestyle: Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly (but not excessively), and avoiding smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, and illicit drugs.
  • Avoid Stress: Stress can impact fertility. Engage in relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, or mindfulness to manage stress levels.
  • Avoid Intense Physical Activities: Excessive physical strain, especially in the immediate post-IVF period, may not be recommended. Moderate exercise is generally encouraged, but consult your doctor for specific recommendations.
  • Healthy Weight: Maintain a healthy weight, as extremes in weight (both underweight and overweight) can affect fertility.
  • Bed Rest After Embryo Transfer: While some doctors advise bed rest after embryo transfer, evidence supporting this is mixed. Follow your doctor's recommendations regarding activity levels post-transfer.
  • Stay Positive: It's essential to maintain a positive outlook and remain patient during the waiting period for the pregnancy test results. Support from friends, family, or support groups can be helpful.

Every individual is different, and these suggestions might vary based on specific medical conditions or the recommendations of your healthcare provider. Always consult your doctor for precautions after IVF.


IVF is a demanding process both physically and emotionally, and success rates vary. It may require multiple cycles before achieving a successful pregnancy. While IVF is a significant advancement in fertility treatment, its success can vary based on individual circumstances. Nonetheless, it stands as a beacon of hope, offering a pathway to parenthood for many individuals and couples worldwide, supported by continuous advancements in reproductive technology and medical expertise.