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Commonly Asked Questions about IVF

Dr. Michael FeinmanWhen should a person consider an IVF cycle versus other forms of treatment?

Your doctor will discuss with you your best treatment options based upon your age and medical history.  An IVF cycle may be suggested if other options such as interuterine insemination (IUI) have not worked or if you have blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, unexplained infertility, or any other medical condition that prevents your eggs from being fertilized. Each treatment plan is tailored to meet your individual health needs. 

How long does the egg retrieval take? Is it painful? Will I be sedated?

The egg retrieval is a relatively brief procedure.  On average it takes 15 minutes, depending on how many eggs are available.  The procedure is done with local anesthesia and sedation, or conscious IV sedation. You will not feel any pain during the procedure.

How many eggs are retrieved?

The number of eggs varies widely, depending on the age and history of the patient.  Clearly, young women will tend to produce more eggs than a woman in her forties.  An ideal number is the 10-20 range. 

How long does the embryo transfer take?

The embryo transfer is also brief, unless there is difficulty placing the catheter through the cervix into the uterus.  Many doctors perform “mock” transfers ahead of time to avoid surprises.

Will I be on best rest after the transfer?

There is no published data to show that prolonged bed rest improves outcomes.  It is reasonable to take it easy for the day of and the day after the procedure.  It is unrealistic to expect women not to get up and pick up things, especially if she already has children. 

How long should I wait between IVF cycles

We usually recommend at least one month between cycles, although 2 or 3 months may be appropriate for some women.  There is no reason to wait more than 3 months.

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