IVF is a constantly changing field that takes advantage of new research and technologies to help women overcome barriers in becoming pregnant. This has led to the development of a variety of protocols—processes or regimens—that IVF employs to help women, who otherwise could not, become pregnant and bear children.
For many people, only when they first consider IVF do they find out there are several different ways that IVF specialists can assist a woman’s pregnancy and eventual childbirth. These different protocols provide women with more options and more possibilities of success.
Understanding the different protocols can be a challenge for IVF patients. Thankfully, the guidance of your fertility specialist will make it clear to you what will happen when and why. Although someone without a medical background will often be overwhelmed with terminology and the different steps involved, your IVF doctor will lead you through the process.
Lots of Protocols
There are many IVF protocols. Some of the ones you may hear of or read about are Long Lupron, Antagonist, Estrogen Priming, Microdose Flare, Natural Cycle and Mini/Micro-IVF protocols.
Before you go for a consultation, you do not need to be familiar with the names or details of each of these IVF protocols. Your fertility specialist will choose the protocol that works the best based on testing, individual metabolism and your medical history. He or she will take into consideration many factors in selecting the most effective IVF protocol.
After your IVF doctor chooses a protocol and explains the steps involved, you will have an opportunity to ask questions and discuss the details of the process. Your input and cooperation is critical to IVF treatment success.
At LA IVF, we choose from several different protocols to fit the patient. With hundreds of successful treatments, our treatment choices are based on a wealth of experience in addressing each woman’s different situation.
Every Woman Is Different
Because no two women are exactly alike, protocols often end up being modified to fit a woman’s individual metabolism and medical history. And fertility specialists may know of small tweaks to a protocol that improves its results. So it’s unlikely that two women’s IVF protocols will be exactly the same. Indeed, if a woman receives a second IVF treatment after an unsuccessful one, the doctor may make adjustments from what was learned from the first treatment.
After you decide to go ahead with the IVF specialist recommendations, your doctor will guide you through the different steps. The specialist will schedule out the IVF treatment, giving you directions that give you the best odds for pregnancy.
Many of the protocols share similar characteristics, but use different methods to accomplish them. Some of the protocols leave out certain steps and rely on natural processes without medications. Also, there can be variations such as in the case of donor egg IVF.
What A Protocol May Involve
Some protocols involve medications to control the timing of ovulation. These medications prevent premature ovulation so that doctors can time ovulation with egg retrieval.
Ovulation Stimulation & Egg Development
Protocols often use medications to promote ovulation, mimicking the natural hormonal processes of the body. In IVF, these medications enable women to produce multiple mature eggs, which an IVF doctor would then retrieve. The more eggs an IVF doctor has to work with, the higher the likelihood of pregnancy.
Egg Retrieval and Fertilization
Upon ovulation, an IVF doctor can retrieve the mature eggs. The IVF doctor will then identify the viable eggs for fertilization. In a controlled lab setting, the sperm fertilizes the eggs. This can be accomplished in a petri dish, or the IVF doctor can inject the sperm into the egg in a process called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). The direct injection of sperm into an egg is a newer treatment and is a major advance in IVF.
Prepare Uterus for Implantation
Lastly, IVF doctors give a hormone to prepare the uterus for the fertilized egg(s), or embryo(s). This hormone thickens the uterine lining and enables implantation of the embryo(s).
Array of Options
The first IVF treatment does not always work. Sometimes, an unsuccessful treatment is related to luck, while other times, an IVF doctor can determine a better protocol for a second IVF treatment. In the course of a treatment, an IVF doctor will learn more about what works for each patient and what barriers have to be overcome to pregnancy.
As new techniques become available, they will continue to be incorporated into IVF protocols, creating new protocols and new variations on established protocols that will allow even more women the chance to bear a child.
If you have had trouble with a previous IVF procedure and would like to try again with a different protocol or are interested in IVF but confused by all the possible protocols, you can call us at LA IVF for a consultation at (310) 286 2800.