In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most reliable and successful choices for people who face infertility and reproductive challenges. Fangyin Meng, MD, PhD, works tirelessly at her practice in Newport Beach, California, helping her patients have babies through assisted reproductive technologies, such as IVF.
So what makes someone a good candidate for IVF? Read on to learn the basics about the procedure and a rundown of the top candidates for IVF.
Every step of your IVF procedure is meticulously planned and guided by our team. When you choose IVF, you go through a sequence of events called an IVF cycle.
One IVF cycle includes:
- Taking medicine to stimulate your ovaries
- Removing eggs from your ovary
- Collecting sperm and choosing the healthiest ones
- Placing your eggs together with sperm in the lab
- Evaluating the fertilized eggs (embryos) to ensure they’re maturing
- Transferring one or more embryos into your uterus
- Performing a pregnancy test (about two weeks later)
Fertilization in the lab can be done by placing a lot of sperm together with your eggs and letting nature take its course. But, if we have a limited number of sperm, we may recommend an intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). During ICSI, we choose a single sperm and inject it directly into an egg.
Candidates for IVF
You may be a good candidate for IVF if your infertility is associated with any of the following challenges:
Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
Fertilization takes place inside the fallopian tubes, which run from your ovaries to your uterus. During your monthly cycle, one ovary releases an egg that enters and travels through the fallopian tube.
Sperm must make it through your cervix and uterus and into the fallopian tube, where they meet the egg. When the fallopian tubes are damaged, eggs and sperm can’t meet, and you can’t get pregnant. Tubal defects may be caused by an infection, scarring, or having your tubes tied.
There are several conditions that stop your ovaries from releasing eggs, but polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is one of the top culprits. This condition arises from a hormone imbalance that stops eggs from growing or being released into the fallopian tubes.
Beyond PCOS, you may have another type of hormone imbalance that affects ovulation (the release of eggs from your ovaries). Some women have primary ovarian failure, a condition that occurs when your ovaries stop working before age 40.
Uterine and cervical conditions
Uterine fibroids, scarring from an infection or surgery, and genetic conditions that affect uterine development are the primary conditions that cause infertility. Cervical conditions that affect your fertility include a narrow cervix and not producing the mucus needed for sperm to travel through the cervix.
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that normally grows inside your uterus gets implanted in other areas. This tissue can grow on your ovaries and fallopian tubes, where it may block the tubes and interfere with ovulation.
In some cases, endometriosis distorts the shape of your uterus, which prevents the fertilized egg from implanting. The endometrial growths may also release hormones or enzymes that damage the sperm or eggs.
Male factor infertility
IVF is often a good choice when men have a low sperm count or problems with sperm motility. When male factor infertility is involved, we may recommend an intracytoplasmic sperm injection, so we can identify and choose healthy sperm.
In about 10-20% of couples, we can’t find an underlying cause for their infertility. As frustrating as it is for patients to learn they have unexplained infertility, it means we have ruled out physical problems, which is always a hopeful outcome. These couples may be able to get pregnant using IVF.
We work closely with same-sex and transgender couples who want to have a baby. Though we offer several options, IVF is one of the most successful.
If you need help building a family, we can help. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone with Fangyin Meng, MD, PhD, today.