In Vitro Fertilization

IVF General Information

In 2016, our IVF program celebrated its 30th year providing IVF to the region.  We have three board certified reproductive endocrinologists (infertility specialist) on staff.  Our IVF program is one of the most successful in Virginia.  Don’t take our word for it, visit www.fertilitysuccessrates.com.  According to this website, we are #1 in Virginia for patients <35 using thawed embryos (the majority of our transfers are thawed embryos) and #2 in the entire USA for patients 35-37 using thawed embryos. In fact, we attract patients from across the United States.

Dr. Bruce Bateman started one of the earlier IVF programs in the United States in Charlottesville in 1986 making IVF available our region for over 30 years.  All our specialists have extensive experience conducting IVF cycles and we have excellent success rates.  One of our great strengths is our IVF program.  Your doctor and nurses will get to know you personally.  All couples/patients have access to a physician 24 hours a day for any issues or concerns which may arise.

In vitro fertilization (IVF) involves fertilization of eggs outside the body in a special environment created in the laboratory.  In the 1950’s, researchers at the Worcester Foundation in Massachusetts reported the first live birth of rabbits that were conceived by IVF procedures. The first human baby conceived using IVF was delivered in 1978 at Bourne Hall in Cambridge, England.  In the almost 30-year history of human IVF treatment, over a million babies have been delivered around the world and IVF procedures have become much more successful.

Steps in the Process

Attempting to establish a pregnancy through IVF treatment involves several steps:

  1. Stimulation of the ovary to produce multiple mature eggs or oocytes
  2. Retrieval of the eggs by a minor outpatient surgical procedure called an egg retrieval
  3. Fertilization of the eggs and sperm in a laboratory dish or by an embryologist
  4. Culture and evaluation of the embryos
  5. Transfer of selected embryo(s) into the uterus for implantation (usually 1 embryo is transferred). Sometimes embryo(s) are transferred fresh but more often frozen thawed to improve success rates.
  6. Frequently the embryos are cryopreserved prior to the embryo transfer. In most cases, this improves implantation rate of embryos and gives a higher chance of successful pregnancy
  7. Additional embryos are cryopreserved for future use (when available)

IVF patients usually come to our Virginia fertility clinic fairly frequently during the drug stimulation phase of the cycle for monitoring.  This monitoring includes brief visits (15-20 minutes) for 7-10 days for hormone blood level measurements and transvaginal ultrasounds.  Our fertility clinics in Charlottesville and Lynchburg, VA makes the transit for testing easy especially compared to fertility clinics in the Washington, DC or Richmond areas.  If you live in the Roanoke region, we will coordinate local monitoring to reduce the number of visits to Charlottesville.

These ultrasound and blood tests during IVF allow our doctors to monitor follicle development (egg maturity) providing necessary information for medication(s) dosage adjustment.  These visits help prevent potential side effects from ovarian stimulation and determine when the eggs are ready to be retrieved to fertilize them in the lab.

In the past, one or more embryos were transferred “fresh” to the uterus after the stimulation and fertilization.  Over the last 5 years, research has shown that the majority of patients undergoing IVF will have a higher success rate if all the embryos are cryopreserved in a “freeze all” approach.  Research has shown that the high levels of hormones resulting from stimulation alter the receptivity of the uterine endometrium lowering the chances that an embryo will implant and grow when transferred fresh.  If the embryo(s) are cryopreserved and then transferred 6-8 weeks later when the uterus is no longer affected by the stimulation, pregnancy rates are as much as 10% higher.  It appears that the higher responding patients have the most to gain from this “freeze all” approach.  Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A) has also become common place for our patients 35 and older and over half choose to test the embryos to see if they are chromosomally normal before transferring one to the uterus.  This lowers miscarriage rate and improves live birth rates per transfer.

Categories of infertility that can be helped by IVF treatment

  • Fallopian tube dysfunction
  • Ovulation dysfunction when medications to cause ovulation have been unsuccessful
  • Endometriosis, when medical treatment has been unsuccessful or stage 3 or 4 is encountered
  • Male factors such as a persistent low sperm count, motility, and/or morphology or cases where sperm must be obtained surgically
  • Diminished ovarian reserve, in which the supply of eggs in the ovary is limited
  • Unexplained infertility
  • Some genetic diseases

We know that you probably have more questions about the process of IVF or about our Charlottesville, VA IVF program.  Please feel free to contact our office at 434-654-8520.

Translate »