What to expect during each stage of IVF?

What to expect during each stage of IVF?

17 May 2024

What to expect during each
stage of IVF?

Infertility can be a challenging journey for many couples dreaming of starting a family. Fortunately, advancements in medical science have made it possible for couples to achieve their dream of parenthood through assisted reproductive technologies like In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). IVF is a complex process that involves several stages, each crucial for its success. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you through each stage of the IVF process, providing valuable insights and timelines to help you navigate this journey with confidence.


Stage of IVF

Stage 1: Ovarian stimulation

The journey towards IVF typically begins with ovarian stimulation. This stage involves the administration of medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Your fertility specialist will customize the medication protocol based on your individual needs and response to treatment. Throughout this stage, you’ll undergo regular monitoring through ultrasounds and blood tests to assess the ovarian response and adjust medication dosages as necessary.

Ovarian stimulation usually lasts around 10-14 days, starting from the second or third day of your menstrual cycle.

Stage 2: Egg retrieval

Once the ovarian follicles have matured, the next step is egg retrieval. This minor surgical procedure is performed under sedation or anesthesia to ensure your comfort. Using ultrasound guidance, your fertility specialist will retrieve the mature eggs from the ovaries using a thin needle.

After the procedure, you’ll rest briefly in the recovery area before returning home to rest. It’s normal to experience some mild discomfort or bloating following egg retrieval, but this typically resolves within a few days. Egg retrieval is usually scheduled around 36 hours after triggering ovulation.

Stage 3: Sperm collection/retrieval

While the eggs are being retrieved, the male partner will provide a sperm sample for fertilization. In cases where there are issues with sperm production or quality, sperm retrieval techniques such as Testicular Sperm Aspiration (TESA), Microsurgical Epididymal Sperm Aspiration (MESA), or Testicular Sperm Extraction (TESE) may be performed. These procedures allow for the retrieval of sperm directly from the testes or epididymis for use in fertilization. Sperm collection or retrieval is typically scheduled around the same time as egg retrieval.

Stage 4: Fertilization & Embryo development

Once the eggs and sperm are collected, the process of fertilization begins. In traditional IVF, the eggs and sperm are combined in a laboratory dish, allowing fertilization to occur naturally. In cases where there are issues with sperm quality or fertilization, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) may be used, where a single sperm is injected directly into the egg to facilitate fertilization.

After fertilization, the embryos are cultured in the laboratory for 3-5 days, during which they undergo cell division and development. Embryo development is closely monitored, and embryos are graded based on their quality and developmental stage.

Stage 5: Embryo transfer

The final stage of the IVF process is embryo transfer. This involves the placement of one or more embryos into the uterus, where they will hopefully implant and develop into a pregnancy. Embryo transfer is a relatively simple procedure that does not require anesthesia. Your fertility specialist will use ultrasound guidance to transfer the embryos into the uterus via a thin tube (catheter).

After the transfer, you’ll rest for a short period before returning home to begin the two-week wait for pregnancy testing. Embryo transfer is typically scheduled 3-5 days after egg retrieval, depending on embryo development.

Stage 6: Pregnancy test

Approximately two weeks after the embryo transfer, a blood test is conducted to determine if the IVF procedure was successful and the woman is pregnant. This test measures the levels of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) in the blood, which is a hormone produced during pregnancy.


Embarking on the IVF journey can be both daunting and hopeful. Understanding each stage of the process and knowing what to expect can help alleviate some of the uncertainty and anxiety that comes with fertility treatment. Remember, every individual’s journey is unique, and it’s essential to work closely with your fertility specialist to develop a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs. While IVF is not always successful on the first attempt, perseverance, patience, and support can help you navigate this journey towards building the family you’ve always dreamed of.

Ready to take the next step towards parenthood? Our team at Bavishi Fertility Institute is here to support you every step of the way. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and begin your personalized IVF journey. Let’s work together to turn your dreams of starting a family into reality.

Author Bio

Dr. Parth Bavishi

Dr. Parth Bavishi, MD in Obstetrics and Gynecology, brings over 12 years of invaluable work experience to his role as Director of Bavishi Fertility Institute, leading a group of IVF clinics committed to helping couples realise their dreams of parenthood. 

Bavishi Fertility Institute is dedicated to provide customised and personalised treatments which are simple, safe , smart and successful. Bavishi Fertility Institute works with success and satisfaction for all at heart. Providing an ideal blend of professional treatment and personalised care.

Dr Parth had special training in infertility at Bavishi fertility Institute, the Diamond Institute, USA, and the HART Institute, Japan.

Dr. Bavishi is a distinguished expert in his field. In addition to his clinical practice, Dr. Bavishi is the author of the acclaimed book, ‘Your Miracle in Making: A Couple’s Guide to Pregnancy,’ offering invaluable insights to couples navigating the complexities of fertility. He loves to empower patients to make the correct choice by education both online and offline .

His exceptional contributions have earned him the prestigious Rose of Paracelsus award from the European Medical Association. Dr Parth has been an invited faculty at many national and international conferences.

Beyond his professional endeavors, Dr. Bavishi is an avid traveller who finds solace in exploring new destinations. He also enjoys engaging his mind with brainy puzzles, always seeking new challenges and solutions outside of the medical realm.


Egg retrieval is typically the most uncomfortable stage of the IVF process for many patients. While the procedure is performed under sedation to minimize discomfort, some women may experience mild cramping or bloating afterward. These symptoms usually resolve within a day or two.

Every stage of the IVF process plays a crucial role in achieving a successful outcome. However, many fertility specialists consider embryo quality assessment and selection, which occurs during fertilization and embryo development, as one of the most critical stages. High-quality embryos have a better chance of implantation and successful pregnancy.

While IVF is generally safe, it may carry risks such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), multiple pregnancies, and ectopic pregnancy. Common side effects include bloating, mood swings, and discomfort at the injection site.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle, including regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and stress management, can positively impact IVF outcomes. Additionally, following your fertility specialist’s recommendations and adhering to the prescribed treatment protocol is crucial.

The number of embryos transferred depends on various factors, including age, embryo quality, and prior IVF history. While transferring multiple embryos may increase the likelihood of pregnancy, it also carries a higher risk of multiple gestation and its associated complications.

In the event of unsuccessful IVF cycles, couples may explore alternative treatment options such as egg or sperm donation, gestational surrogacy, or adoption. It’s essential to consult with your fertility specialist to discuss personalized recommendations based on your unique circumstances.

Embryo quality is assessed based on factors such as cell division rate, embryo morphology, and degree of fragmentation. High-quality embryos are more likely to result in successful implantation and pregnancy.

Yes, patients often have the option to freeze excess embryos for future use through a process known as cryopreservation. This allows for additional embryo transfers without the need for repeated ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval.

The duration of the IVF process can vary depending on individual circumstances and treatment protocols. On average, a complete IVF cycle, from ovarian stimulation to pregnancy testing, takes approximately 4-6 weeks.

While undergoing IVF treatment, it’s generally advisable to minimize stress and prioritize self-care. Depending on your individual circumstances and treatment protocol, you may be able to continue working and traveling, but it’s essential to communicate with your fertility specialist and make any necessary adjustments to accommodate your treatment schedule.

Ovarian response to stimulation can vary from patient to patient. In cases of low egg yield, your fertility specialist may adjust your medication protocol or explore alternative treatment options. Conversely, if you produce a high number of eggs, your doctor may recommend measures to reduce the risk of Ovarian hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) or consider cryopreserving excess embryos for future use.

The number of injections required for IVF varies depending on the individual’s treatment protocol and ovarian response. On average, patients can expect to administer daily injections of ovarian stimulation medications for approximately 10-12 days leading up to egg retrieval.

The success of an IVF cycle depends on various factors, including egg quality, embryo development, and uterine receptivity. While the number of eggs retrieved can influence the likelihood of success, success rates can still vary widely even with a small number of eggs. It’s essential to discuss your individual prognosis with your fertility specialist.


To maximize the chances of IVF success, it’s crucial to follow your fertility specialist’s recommendations closely, maintain a healthy lifestyle, and address any underlying medical conditions or lifestyle factors that may affect fertility. Additionally, staying informed, managing stress, and seeking emotional support can contribute to a positive outcome.

Leading up to embryo transfer, it’s essential to follow your fertility clinic’s guidelines, which may include avoiding strenuous exercise, caffeine, alcohol, and smoking. Maintaining a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and getting adequate rest can also support the body’s readiness for embryo transfer. Additionally, your fertility specialist may recommend specific medications or supplements to optimize uterine receptivity and embryo implantation.

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