In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure in which the sperm and egg are combined outside the woman’s body in a lab. After they are combined, the fertilized eggs are transferred to the woman’s uterus. It is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART).

About the Procedure

In vitro fertilization involves several steps:

Ovulation Induction

For women using their own eggs for IVF, the cycle begins with ovulation induction. Hormonal medications are given to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Other medications may be given to mature the eggs, prevent premature ovulation, and prepare the lining of the uterus for implantation.

During ovulation induction, the fertility specialist carefully monitors hormone levels with blood tests to determine when the eggs are ready for retrieval. They also use transvaginal ultrasound imaging to monitor the ovaries and the development of follicles. Ovulation induction usually lasts about two weeks.

Egg Retrieval

After the eggs are mature, egg retrieval takes place at the fertility clinic. The fertility specialist uses a special needle guided by ultrasound imaging to remove the mature eggs from the follicles. The eggs are then placed in a special liquid and incubated to prepare for fertilization.

Sperm Retrieval & Preparation

The male partner provides a semen sample at the doctor’s office or clinic on the morning of the egg retrieval so it can be prepared for fertilization. Donor sperm can also be used and will also need to be prepared for fertilization. A special washing process separates the sperm from the other materials such as seminal fluid. 


In the lab, a specialist called an embryologist combines the healthiest portion of the sperm and mature eggs and incubates them. Fertilization may be attempted using either conventional insemination or a process called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), in which a single sperm is injected directly into a mature egg.

Embryo Transfer

The embryo transfer is done at the fertility clinic five days after the transfer. During the procedure, the embryos are transferred to the uterus through a long, thin, flexible tube called a catheter. If the transfer is successful, an embryo will implant in the uterine lining. After a one-week wait, a pregnancy test can be done.

Why In Vitro Fertilization is Performed

In vitro fertilization is an effective treatment for many causes of infertility. Because fertilization takes place outside of the woman’s body, IVF is a good option for people who have the following fertility issues:

The expert providers at West Virginia Fertility Institute specialize in a variety of treatments for infertility, including in vitro fertilization. We combine personalized care with cutting-edge technology to help our patients build their families. Call our office at (304) 345-9292 to schedule a consult.


108 Washington St
W Suite 102
Charleston, WV 25302

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