Natural cycle monitoring
Preparing for fertility treatment
Ovarian stimulation and cycle monitoring
Assisted reproductive treatments (ARTs): IUI and IVF
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
- Ovarian stimulation: Like we’ve described above, your fertility specialist will prescribe a hormonal (or combination of several hormones) to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs. You will be closely monitored with ultrasounds and blood tests until your follicles and hormones are at the correct level, at which time a shot of the human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) will be given to release your eggs.
- Sperm collection: Sperm collection occurs on the day of the egg collection. It is often washed to encourage better results.
- Egg retrieval or ultrasound directed follicular aspiration (UDFA): Your eggs will be retrieved between 34- 38 hours after your HCG shot. This is a mildly invasive procedure so is done under anesthesia. Your fertility specialist will be able to tell you how many eggs were retrieved.
- Egg fertilization: Within a few hours of your eggs being retrieved, they will be inseminated with washed sperms. The next day you would know how many has fertilized. The embryos will then be cultured to day 3 or day 5 depending on the numbers and quality, and can be transferred back fresh on these days or frozen for frozen embryo transfer at a later date. PGD/PGS can be carried out if you wish to select for normal ones prior to transfer at this stage by taking a biopsy of the embryo – preferably on day 5 for a more accurate result.
- Embryo transfer: Your fertility specialist will transfer your viable embryos into your uterus using an ultrasound to guide him or her. If you have excess viable embryos after a fresh transfer, they may be frozen for future use.
- The IFV waiting game: Like any other pregnancy, you will have to wait to find out whether you are pregnant. Your blood will be taken between 9-14 days post-transfer to see whether the embryo has successfully implanted and initiated a pregnancy. Most fertility specialists will also prescribe additional progesterone to take post-transfer to increase your chances of getting and staying pregnant.
Some more infertility-related vocabulary
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD)
Common misconceptions about fertility. Hong Kong fertility expert Dr. Alexander Doo debunks some of the most common fertility myths.
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Dr. Alexander K. Doo 杜堅能醫生 has been practicing in Hong Kong for over two decades. He is a member of various international reproductive organizations and is the Vice President of the Asian Pacific Fertility Preservation Society. He has also been a Council Member of the Hong Kong Society for Reproductive Medicine for over ten years, and a Member of Quality Assurance Committee of the Hong Kong College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He is at present the Honorary Consultant at the Matilda International Hospital as well as the Director of The Women's Clinic and Director of The IVF Clinic.
This article was reviewed and updated on June 3, 2019.