Medical History and Laboratory Tests
The first and crucial step for a successful IVF outcome is the extensive documentation of the possible infertility factors that might be implicated in each case. To this end, our Clinicians will need a range of different exams to verify the cause of infertility. Some of these may be
- Hormonal Profiling for the Female patient (FSH, LH, E2, AMH, Prg)
- Analysis of Sperm Parameters
According the relevant Greek legislation for patients undergoing IVF, certain hematological tests should be performed prior to initiation of the treatment.
These tests include:
- Prenatal testing for the most common hereditary genetic diseases (such as b-Thalassemia and Cystic Fibrosis)
- Testing for the most common transmittable diseases (HIV, Hepatitis, VDRL etc)
When a couple has had many previous IVF attempts and/or miscarriages then further, more specialized tests should be carried out that may include:
- Testing of Blood Clotting (Thrombophilia)
- Immunological Tests
- Karyotype (testing of the DNA content of the future parents)
Key for a successful IVF attempt is the production of adequate, good quality eggs and subsequent embryos. To this end, the patient undergoes a short hormonal treatment usually based on 2 Gonadotropins (Follicle Stimulating Hormone [FSH]/ Lutenizing Hormone [LH]) which are hormones that are naturally produced and circulated in our bodies, and are utilized in slightly higher concentrations during IVF. The ovarian stimulation is closely monitored by measuring the hormone produced by the maturing follicles (Estradiol) and by ultrasound imaging of the growing follicles.
Egg Retrieval, preparation of Sperm and Fertilisation
The egg retrieval procedure takes place is a quick process, under intravenous short-duration analgesia (10 to 15 minutes), without loss of consciousness and painlessly. Within 30 to 60 minutes after the completion of the procedure, the patient may leave the Unit's premises.
Sperm is produced and prepared the same day as the oocyte retrieval. During sperm preparation, an adequate number of spermatozoa with good morphology and motility are selected for insemination or sperm injection. Normally, fertilization rate is about 60%.
Embryo transfer is a simple procedure that takes about 15 minutes without the need for anesthesia. A special catheter is inserted into the uterus, and the embryos are carefully placed into the endometrium. After this, the catheter is checked under the microscope for the unlikely presence of an embryo.
The patient remains at rest for 15 to 30 minutes. For the following 2 to 3 days, the patient is advised to simply reduce her activities, since it's not scientifically proved that absolute immobilization following the embryo transfer provides any tangible benefits. 12 to 14 days after the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test is carried out in order to determine the IVF outcome.