IVF Cycle Calendar
For 2021, our IVF Cycle Start Dates are listed below. For a “fresh IVF cycle” (where eggs are retrieved in order to freeze them for fertility preservation or to create embryos) these are the 2 week blocks you can expect to be in and out of our office 3-7 times for your treatment cycle. This allows you to plan accordingly with work and personal commitments. For a Frozen Embryo Transfer cycle, you can expect 2-5 visits over this two week block with one visit being the embryo transfer.
IVF Cycle Frequently Asked Questions
Here are a few frequently asked questions or FAQ’s that can help fill in the blanks about process and expectations during an IVF cycle at STL Fertility.
How many times will I have to visit the STL Fertility office during my Fresh IVF cycle?
After your initial new patient consultation, most patients will visit our office a total of 5-7 times from cycle monitoring to egg retrieval and then embryo transfer.
If pregnancy is achieved, we’ll perform a series of early pregnancy scans before discharging you back to your OB/GYN for routine obstetrical care. Patients can expect an additional 5-6 monitoring visits to our office during this time. Each visit lasting about 30-minutes.
When does my Fresh IVF cycle actually start?
When you have selected the IVF cycle dates that work best with your life and allow you to be available for 3-7 monitoring appointments, the actual IVF medications will start 3-6 weeks prior to those dates. Therefore, it is always best to alert your clinical team of the first day of your period at least 1 month prior to your selected treatment month. For example, if you desire a May treatment cycle, you should call your clinical team with your April period.
IMPORTANT: Additionally, you should call our office on the first day of your period in your treatment cycle month. This is the all-important “Day 1” of your stimulation cycle. You’ll need come into our office for a baseline examination and bloodwork within a day or two of having your period.
How many days will I be on stimulation medications for my Fresh IVF cycle?
Gonadotropins (Gonal-F, Follistim, Menopur) are the medications that mimic your natural hormones that stimulate your ovaries to produce oocytes (eggs). You will be injecting a mix of gonadotropins over a 7 to 12-day period to stimulate the ovaries and develop the right quantity and quality of eggs to be used for IVF.
During this time, we will monitor your progress via bloodwork and ultrasound. You can expect to visit our office 3-7 times during your stimulation cycle. Each visit will last about 30-minutes.
What is hCG and why is it so important to my Fresh IVF cycle?
Once the stimulation process has made the right quantity of eggs, you’ll administer a single shot of hCG or human chorionic gonadotropin. This will “trigger” your ovaries to get ready for an egg retrieval at our office about 36-hours later. Your nurse will call you with instructions about when and how to administer this all-important trigger shot. The TIMING of this medication is extremely important as the egg retrieval is timed based off of the time this injection is given. This medication allows maturation of the eggs.
When does the egg retrieval procedure happen during my IVF cycle?
Approximately 36-hours after the hCG injection, you’ll visit our office for an egg retrieval procedure. The procedure takes approximately 40 minutes. You’ll be in recovery for about 90 minutes afterwards and then discharged home. Your eggs will be sent to our IVF lab where if you are creating embryos, they will be injected with sperm from your partner or donor to spur fertilization. If you are freezing oocytes, they will be assessed for maturity and frozen accordingly.
When does my partner provide a sample for my Fresh IVF cycle?
Usually, we like to obtain a fresh sperm sample from the male partner on the same day as your egg retrieval. If we are utilizing frozen sperm, frozen samples stored previously will be thawed and prepared in synch with your retrieval procedure.
When do we hear about fertilization results during our Fresh IVF cycle?
After natural fertilization or Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), we will let you know how many eggs have fertilized and developed into embryos the day after retrival. Once embryos have reached the blastocyst stage of development (5-7 days) we will give you an update about how many embryos are available and either do a fresh transfer if planned or biopsy for PGT-A or freeze for planned frozen embryo transfer in the future.
When does the embryo transfer procedure happen during my Fresh IVF cycle?
At STL Fertility, our primary transfer method for embryos is via frozen embryo transfer or FET for most patients. This is because data supports that FET’s offer higher implantation rates and better obstetrical outcomes though improved hormonal synchronization between embryo and uterus. Your FET will be scheduled based off of when you get your period after your egg retrieval and is usually performed 30-60 days after egg retrieval.
If you are a patient who is a candidate for a “Fresh” Transfer this will occur 3-6 days after egg retrieval and you will need to be on luteal phase support which are progesterone injections after your egg retrieval to prep your uterus for a “ fresh” embryo transfer.
When does pregnancy testing happen?
About 8-14 days after embryo transfer (either fresh or frozen) you’ll visit our office for bloodwork measuring hCG levels to confirm pregnancy. Our office will usually have the results back by that afternoon. If pregnant, you can expect to remain on luteal phase progesterone support for another 6-8 weeks. Remember, pregnancy testing at home can be non reliable because the hCG injection can turn at home pregnancy tests positive. It is best to wait for blood levels of hCG to confirm pregnancy.