How Long does IVF Treatment Take?

How Long does IVF Treatment Take?

IVF has a series of procedures that take the stage from consultation to transfer. Basically, an average IVF lasts about 6 to 8 weeks. The steps of an IVF treatment take approximately as follows:

Initial Consultation: This is the point where the treatment starts. It lasts approximately one hour. This consultation is a kind of information meeting where the individual will share her history, meet the doctor, ask the questions in mind… etc. 

Tests and Examinations: This is the second step that takes approximately 3 to 4 days. Doing the tests and examinations will take a few hours. According to the individual’s case, it may take a day or a few days for the tests to result. 

Follicle Stimulation: This is the step where the preparation for egg retrieval starts. It is expected during the stimulation follicular growth rate to be 1.7 mm/day. The stimulation is achieved by medicines and injections that contain follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Follicle stimulation takes 10-16 days.

Egg Retrieval (oocytes retrieval): Egg retrieval is performed 35 to 36 hours after the follicles reached the ideal mature (about 15 to 20 mm diameter is generally considered a “mature” follicle). The egg retrieval procedure takes about 10-20 minutes and is performed under anesthesia. The collected eggs will be identified, rinsed, and placed in small drops in plastic culture dishes. Sperm and eggs are put together in the lab (in-vitro) about 4 hours after egg retrieval, or the sperm are injected individually into eggs. The embryos are cultured in the IVF lab for 2-5 more days before one or more is put into the uterus by the embryo transfer procedure. The embryo divides and multiplies its cells over 5 to 6 days to become a blastocyst. If the individual wants PGS testing can be done in this stage. 

Embryo Transfer: Embryo transfer is generally performed on day 2, day 3, or day 5 of embryo development. Due to certain cycle requirements, it might be performed on day 4 or day 6. The embryo transfer, itself is a simple procedure and lasts between 15 and 30 minutes. After the transfer, the individual will be given around an hour to lie down and relax. 

Pregnancy Test: 14 days after egg retrieval you will be able to make your first pregnancy test. 20 days after the treatment, due to the test result, the first ultrasound can be done. 

How Long Does PGS Testing Take? 

Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS) is extra monitoring that can make your IVF cycle take longer. Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) can add weeks to the process. 

Preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) is a genetic testing procedure performed on embryos created with in-vitro fertilization. With the procedure, the chromosomes of the embryo will be examined, and will be able to get the results whether there is a high risk of passing on a genetic disease. Although it is tough to wait, the results will be worth it. 

PGS has multiple steps. The steps involved in PGS are; 

  • The first step is in-vitro fertilization (IVF). By IVF embryos are produced and cultured. (this takes 3 to 5 days) 
  • The second step is embryo biopsy. Embryo biopsy is performed on the third or fifth day of embryo development. After the biopsy, the sample will be put in the test tubes and sent for analysis to a PGS laboratory. It takes over 24 hours for the lab to finalize the results. 
  • The third step is embryo freezing. The waiting period is long so the embryos have to be frozen. The embryos are frozen by the vitrification method. 
  • The last step is due to PGS results -if the results are normal- the frozen embryo will be thawed in the following cycle and transferred to the individual’s uterus. 


How Long Does Take for Hormones to Balance After IVF? 

IVF is a complex process involving a variety of drugs and hormonal injections at different stages of treatment. Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. They help control how cells and organs work. And also hormones are the key to fertility. During IVF treatment, the reason for taking hormones is to put back what is needed to produce a healthy egg. For the success of IVF treatment, 10-18 eggs at the egg retrieval procedure are needed. To achieve this amount the individual is asked to take some drugs and do hormonal injections.  

IVF stimulation protocols generally involve the use of 3 types of drugs. The individuals will take medication to suppress the LH surge and ovulation until the developing eggs are ready. Besides, to stimulate the development of multiple eggs taking FSH and for final maturation of the eggs taking HCG will be added to your treatment. 

These drugs and injections will be used until the egg retrieval procedure. After egg retrieval, it’s expected the individual’s hormones to go back to regulating on their own. In and around 2 weeks time the individual’s hormone levels will go back to normal and she will get the first period. If the individual decides to continue with the IVF procedure the next step after egg retrieval will be implantation. Therefore the individual has to continue taking hormones to prepare her uterus for implantation.