In Vitro Fertilization & Assisted Reproductive Technologies


Video about the 'mock cycle' and 'trial embryo transfer'

The Southeastern Fertility Center is proud to offer one of the nation's most successful programs in In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). IVF is often used in combination with other fertility-enhancing procedures, including Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), Assisted Hatching (AH), and others.

There are three related technologies, termed IVF, GIFT, ans ZIFT. During IVF, GIFT, or ZIFT, the wife's ovaries are stimulated with medications which cause multiple eggs to develop at the same time. Monitoring with blood testing and ultrasound allows determination of egg maturity, at which time the eggs are retrieved by ultrasound guidance using a specially designed aspiration needle. Thereafter, the three procedures differ somewhat.

With IVF, the oocytes (eggs) are incubated with sperm and checked the following day for fertilization. The resulting embryos are transferred two to four days later. Hormonal support is given and a pregnancy test is performed 10-12 days later.

During the GIFT procedure, the eggs are immediately mixed with a specially prepared solution containing the husband's sperm, and this mixture is placed into the fallopian tube by laparoscopy.


Planning for an Embryo Transfer

ZIFT employs a combination of IVF and GIFT, in which the eggs and sperm are incubated for one day, and the resulting fertilized eggs ("Zygotes") are transferred into the fallopian tubes via laparoscopy.

In the past, sub-optimal culture conditions for embryos, as well as other factors, resulted in higher success rates for GIFT and ZIFT than for IVF. However, recent studies at the world's leading ART programs have demonstrated comparable pregnancy rates for all three technologies. Consequently, GIFT and ZIFT, which are more costly and invasive, are infrequently performed today.

ICSI has revolutionized treatment of severe male-factor infertility. With ICSI, only a few (8-10) motile sperm are needed to achieve excellent success rates. These sperm may be obtained from the ejaculate or surgically from the epididymis or testicles. These procedures are safe, fast, and essentially painless. Please see our page about Male Infertility for further information.

In the ICSI procedure, the sperm is injected directly into the egg.

Assisted Hatching (AH) is a procedure performed on the 'shell' (zona pellucida) of the early embryo. This procedure weakens the shell and allows more successful 'hatching' which in turn results in higher pregnancy rates in selected patients. Please contact your infertility specialist for further details or to find out if AH would be beneficial in your case.

Assisted Hatching

Success Rates of ART's

The success rates among various ART programs vary widely, and can be one of the most confusing issues for a couple to interpret. The most proper way to report ART success rates is in terms of number of deliveries per number of egg retrievals. This is the reporting method used by SART (The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology). SART compiles data from most of the U.S. programs, and publishes it yearly. Unfortunately, the data is always at least two years behind, and couples should always check with their center on current success rates.

One should keep in mind that there are a variety of ways to manipulate success rates. For example, a mediocre center that only accepts young, high prognosis patients may have a higher success rate than an excellent referral center that accepts the most difficult and poor prognosis patients. Unfortunately, it is very hard for patients to discern such manipulations of success rates.

The Southeastern Fertility Center has a stellar track record in ART success. We have consistently experienced 40 - 50% delivery rates per egg retrieval. This compares very favorably with the U.S. SART data, which shows a 35% delivery rate in the same group of women (under 40 years of age) for the most recent reporting year.

We attribute our success to many factors. We have an extremely experienced and dedicated staff. Our laboratory personnel are highly trained, thoroughly knowledgeable, and detail-oriented. The relatively small size of our program allows us to take an individual approach - an experience greatly appreciated by many of our patients who have previously been unsuccessful with large "mill" type programs.

Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information.

How many embryos should I transfer?

For More Information

  Optimal Timing for Elective Oocyte Cryopreservation (Egg Freezing) The aim of this study was to use decision-tree analysis to determine the benefit of oocyte cryopreservation in terms of probability of future live birth, dependent on the age of the woman at the time of cryopreservation and intended wait time to pursuing pregnancy. A secondary aim was to determine the cost- effectiveness of oocyte cryopreservation.