The Mini IVF Process
Your Step-by-Step Guide
Mini IVF explained in 5 easy steps
After your initial consultation, your doctor will outline all of your treatment options, thoroughly discuss them, and answer any questions that you may have about your care plan. At Pearl Mini-IVF, we know that this step takes time and careful consideration, and we won’t rush you through it, as can often be the case in larger, more impersonal fertility centers. In addition, we’ve created this simple step-by-step guide as an overview of the mini IVF process so that you can get more comfortable with how your care plan may unfold.
Minimal Stimulation Begins
The process starts with the use of oral medications to stimulate the ovaries into producing mature eggs. As these eggs develop, we add just a hint of stimulating hormone in the form of 2-5 injections given over the course of one week. That's it! The goal is to develop a small number of very high-quality eggs.
The entire stimulation phase takes only 8-10 days.
During this time, the developing follicles, uterine lining, and hormone levels are monitored, but because of our gentle approach, these visits will not take over your life. A typical Pearl Mini-IVF patient will come for only 2-3 monitoring visits. At the right stage of development, you get your last injection to promote the completion of egg maturity, and an egg retrieval can be scheduled.
Your egg retrieval will be a minor 15-minute outpatient procedure performed in our accredited surgical center in which the mature, high-quality eggs are collected from the ovaries under ultrasound guidance.
Typically, anesthesia is administered to ensure patient comfort and most women are able to return home an hour or so after the procedure. In some cases, we can eliminate the need for general anesthesia by utilizing local blocks, allowing patients to drive themselves to and from the procedure and return to normal activities the same day.
Sperm Collection and Analysis
During the egg retrieval, a sperm sample either from the patient's partner or their selected donor is prepared in the laboratory.
Sperm are carefully isolated and examined under a microscope by our skilled laboratory staff in order to identify the healthiest sperm. Ideal samples are selected and stored safely in our lab to be introduced to the eggs at just the right time.
Fertilization & Embryo Development
Fertilization is achieved in the laboratory by mixing sperm and eggs together, or more commonly, by the intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) method, in which a single sperm is micro-injected into each egg.
Following fertilization, the embryos are cultured and meticulously observed for 5-7 days. When an embryo reaches the blastocyst stage, it can be genetically tested. While this testing can be particularly important for patients who are at risk of aneuploidy (the presence of an abnormal number of chromosomes in a cell) or passing on inheritable genetic disorders, we offer this testing to all of our patients.
Prior to your stimulation and retrieval, you and your doctor will discuss the timing for the embryo transfer. This may happen shortly after the stimulation (fresh transfer) or in the following cycle after the embryos have been cryopreserved (frozen transfer). During your embryo transfer, your doctor will place 1-2 embryos in your uterus under ultrasound guidance using a very thin catheter. This is a simple procedure that only takes a few minutes and doesn’t require anesthesia. At Pearl, we share your joy at getting to this point and take extra steps to assure the experience is a truly memorable one.
When the embryo implants successfully in the lining of the womb, pregnancy results. A pregnancy test can be taken as soon as 10 days after the transfer.