Step 4: Fertilization
Embryo fertilization follows the previous steps of the IVF process, including the infertility evaluation, ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval. Fertilization of the eggs is performed with one of the following methods.
Standard insemination allows the sperm to swim around the eggs and fertilize them on their own.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be recommended if male factor infertility is present. ICSI is a procedure where one sperm is manually injected into the egg as can be seen in the picture on the right.
We will culture the embryos once the eggs have been fertilized. The embryo culture phase is an important step in the IVF process as it helps to determine which embryos should be transferred back into the uterus.
The embryos are cultured in incubators specially designed for embryos using exact body temperatures and low oxygen levels. This mimics the human body and has the same types of fluids found in your uterus and fallopian tubes.
Over a period of three to five days the embryos are evaluated and selected for transfer.
At Coastal Fertility Specialists we believe there is an advantage to blastocyst culture and transfer in patients with a normal to high number eggs and embryos as it helps improve the selection process. For that reason we have Harvard trained embryologists who specialize in blastocyst culture. It’s important not to underestimate the impact of the embryology lab on your fertility care.