This is a general overview of what an IVF medicated cycle might look like. Timelines vary by person and should not be taken as medical advice.
Preparation (8-21 days)
This is where you will take birth control pills to quiet your natural cycle and prevent the selection of a dominant follicle.
Stims (8-12 days)
Stimulation, or more commonly referred to as “Stims”, starts here. You will give yourself injectable medications to grow follicles(1). In addition to that, you will also have frequent vaginal ultrasounds and bloodwork for monitoring.
Trigger (1 day)
Your follicles are looking mature. HCG is administered in the evening to trigger ovulation approximately 36 hours later. It is taken at a very specific time in order to prepare for the scheduled retrieval time. You will go in the following morning to get bloodwork to make sure the medication worked. Then, the following day is the retrieval procedure.
Retrieval/Sperm Prep (1 day)
You are ready for retrieval! If you are using frozen sperm, the embryologist will thaw and prepare it that morning. If you are using fresh sperm your partner will produce that morning. Generally, after retrieval they will be able to tell you how many oocytes(2) they retrieved. Keep in mind they may not all be mature.
Fertilization & Embryo Development (3-6 days)
The embryologist will join the egg and sperm together via ICSI(3) or conventional fertilization(4) the day of your retrieval. The following day you should find out how many were successfully fertilized. Then, they allow the embryos to grow for 3-6 days in an incubator. If you are doing a fresh transfer it is possible to do a 3-day transfer; but most doctors wait until day 5. If you are doing PGS(5) testing and/or freezing they will test/freeze day-5 embryos.
Genetic testing (10-14 days)
It generally takes 10-14 days to hear back from PGS testing.
Lining prep (14 days)
This is for frozen transfers only. Usually progesterone shots or suppositories are taken to prepare the lining for a successful implantation.
Transfer (1 day)
It’s baby time! When your lining is prepared you are ready to transfer your embryo. The doctor will place a small catheter into the uterus and place the embryo right where it should be. The process is very quick and practically painless. You are now pregnant until proven otherwise!
2ish week wait (10-14 days)
What? You thought you were going to get out of this one? Nope! Hopefully this is your LAST 2- week-wait! 10-14 days until your blood test to confirm either pregnancy or a failed transfer.
(1)Follicles- Fluid filled sacs found in the ovaries that, once mature, should contain a oocyte.
(2)Oocyte- the cell that is identified as the egg in a follicle.
(3)ICSI (where the sperm is directly injected into the egg to achieve fertilization.
(4)Conventional fertilization where the sperm and egg are left to fertilize in the petri dish to achieve fertilization.
(5)PGS (aka PGT-A) Pre-Implantation Genetic Screening. This process biopsies a few cells from the trophectoderm (the cells that would become the placenta) and tests for genetic abnormalities.