In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
One of the most popular types of infertility treatments is in vitro fertilization (IVF). At The University of Kansas Health System in Kansas City, we offer IVF as part of our comprehensive services for infertility.
Our IVF success rates are nationally recognized and some of the highest in Kansas. There are many steps involved in IVF, and our team of caring professionals is ready to help guide you through the process.
What is in vitro fertilization?
IVF is a type of infertility treatment that involves introducing sperm and eggs in a lab and then implanting the embryo in the uterus. IVF has helped millions of couples conceive. Today’s IVF treatment has become simpler, safer and more successful than ever.
Who can have IVF?
Many couples struggling with infertility can benefit from IVF technology. When treatments such as fertility drugs, surgery or insemination aren't enough, IVF may be an option. IVF can also be part of a fertility preservation plan for those with cancer, obesity or other health issues. Our dedicated fertility specialists can help determine if IVF is right for you.
How does in vitro fertilization work?
IVF is a multistep fertility treatment that can take from a few weeks up to a few months to complete. The process begins by using medication to help eggs become mature. The eggs are removed, then fertilized with sperm in a lab. One or more fertilized eggs (embryos) are returned to the uterus. A successful IVF treatment ends with the fertilized egg implanting in the uterus, resulting in pregnancy.
More families are made here
We offer the region’s most comprehensive infertility services. And while our success rates are among some of the highest in the nation, our greatest accomplishment is seeing the joy we bring to patients who become parents.
Benefits and risks of IVF
Some factors to consider before proceeding with IVF is the cost of treatments, as well as the increased chance for multiple births. However, IVF can mean an opportunity for pregnancy that might not otherwise be possible for couples with fertility challenges.
For women younger than 40 who are using their own eggs, our overall pregnancy rate per transfer is 75% in a fresh cycle.
What happens during in vitro fertilization?
IVF is a very personalized process that typically involves many steps. Your experience will be tailored to your specific situation based on your health, goals and needs.
Before you begin IVF, you will be asked to take several tests. This information will be used to guide your treatment process and ensure that your hormone levels are normal and your ovaries are producing eggs. Tests may include blood tests, ultrasounds, urine tests or others, depending on your situation.
A saline infusion sonogram (SIS) and mock transfer will also be performed. SIS allows your doctor to examine your uterus and check for polyps or fibroids that could affect your IVF treatment. The mock transfer is like a trial run before your actual embryo transfer. This step helps your doctor collect important details about your uterus to maximize your chances of implantation.
Once testing is complete, you will be given medications to help stimulate the ovaries to produce eggs that can be used for insemination. This often includes oral medications and injectable drugs, which are administered in the clinic. Your care team will monitor you frequently during this time, sometimes daily, so be prepared to have flexibility in your schedule.
When your follicles have reached maturity, you will receive an injection to help the eggs release from the follicle wall, making them easier to retrieve. Your egg retrieval procedure will be scheduled shortly after this injection.
Egg retrieval, or follicle aspiration, is usually a 2-3 hour appointment, although the actual procedure takes only about 10-30 minutes. You will receive pain medications and a local anesthetic for enhanced comfort. You may also receive a prescription for antibiotics to reduce the risk of infection.
During the procedure, your physician will use ultrasound technology to carefully locate fluid-filled sacs containing your eggs. A thin needle is used to remove the fluid in a safe, precise manner. This fluid is then examined to determine the number of eggs that were retrieved.
Once your eggs are collected, they are ready for fertilization. A sperm sample will need to be collected beforehand, either from your partner or a donor. The sperm and egg are then introduced in a lab and monitored. In some cases, a single sperm is directly injected into the egg – called intracytoplasmic sperm injection – if sperm are defective and hindering fertilization.
Once the embryos have been cultured in a lab (typically 5-6 days), they are ready to be transferred to your uterus. Embryos can also be frozen and saved for a later date, depending on your needs. Only the healthiest embryos are selected for transfer and implantation. This ensures the best chances for a successful pregnancy. Preimplantation genetic testing is also available to screen for certain genetic conditions.
Transferring the embryo is the final step in the IVF process. The procedure involves placing a catheter through the vagina to the uterus. This is normally a simple process that can be done without anesthetic, but medication can be used to help relax the muscles. The embryos are then guided through the vagina through the cervix and to the uterus, where they are delicately and meticulously placed to ensure the best outcome. After your procedure, you are free to go home. Most people take the day off to rest and relax.
You will be asked to come in for a blood test 2 weeks after your embryo transfer. This will determine if the treatment was successful and pregnancy was achieved.
If you are pregnant, your fertility team will continue to care for you for the next 8-10 weeks, or until they determine it is safe for you to transfer to an obstetrician. If your IVF cycle is unsuccessful, you can either wait to try again or begin a new cycle almost immediately.
Why choose us for IVF treatment
The University of Kansas Health System is a destination hospital for those seeking IVF treatment. As the region's largest practice, we treat patients who visit us from Overland Park, Kansas City and beyond. We help more couples throughout the Midwest than any other hospital in the area.
Our health system features a team of clinical embryologists and dedicated reproductive endocrinologists/infertility experts who specialize in IVF treatment. Additionally, our team of genetic counselors offers comprehensive genetic testing to better improve your chances of conception and a successful pregnancy.
The University of Kansas Health System combines leading-edge technology and personalized care to provide patients with exceptional success rates. We are proud to publicly report data to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.