Our experienced fertility specialists understand that no journey to parenthood is one-size-fits-all. We’ll work with you to develop an unique care plan tailored specifically to meet your reproductive needs.
Your care team might suggest the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART), including in vitro fertilization, to help you build your family. ART involves procedures during which both eggs and sperm are handled, and is often recommended if other techniques are unsuccessful. It is becoming more common, though, to use assisted reproductive technologies as a first line of therapy for all causes of infertility.
Penn Fertility Care has helped thousands of people become parents with ART by offering the following options:
In vitro fertilization is the preferred or most common infertility treatment used when the fallopian tubes are severely damaged or absent, and for unexplained or male factor infertility. On average, Penn Fertility Care performs more than 400 in vitro fertilization procedures each year.
Due to its high success rate, IVF has been used more frequently in recent years as a first line of therapy for all causes of infertility.
Steps of IVF
The following steps are taken when performing in vitro fertilization:
- You’ll be given fertility drugs that stimulate your ovaries. The drugs will allow your body to produce multiple egg-containing follicles each month, instead of just one.
- You’ll receive transvaginal ultrasounds and blood tests regularly to monitor your hormone levels and follicular development.
- Once your eggs are ready to be retrieved, you’ll have an outpatient surgical procedure called a follicular aspiration. During the procedure, your doctor will use a transvaginal ultrasound to guide a thin needle into each ovary to retrieve your eggs.
- The recovered eggs are immediately transferred to the laboratory where they are cultured and fertilized. It usually takes a few hours for a sperm to fertilize an egg. Your doctor may also inject the sperm directly into the egg, which is known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
- After your eggs are collected, you’ll begin taking another medication to prepare the lining of your uterus for embryo transfer.
- Before your embryo transfer, you might undergo preimplantation genetic testing (PGT). PGT is a screening test used to determine if genetic or chromosomal disorders are present in embryos produced through IVF. Learn more about PGT at Penn Medicine.
- About three to five days after fertilization, you’ll have an embryo transfer. During the procedure, the developing pre embryos are inserted into your uterus using a catheter.
- After your embryo transfer, you’ll wait about two weeks before having a blood test to see if you are pregnant.
In vitro fertilization involves a variety of carefully choreographed procedures to help boost the likelihood of success. The procedure itself, including the laboratory work, is performed in Penn Fertility Care's central state-of-the-art facility. We also offer hospital-based IVF if you require more complex care. Learn more about hospital-based IVF and take a more in-depth look at the at the IVF process.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a procedure that has revolutionized the treatment of male infertility. As a result, Penn Fertility Care can offer men with a failed vasectomy reversal, low sperm count or a congenital (from birth) absence of the vas deferens a high chance of fatherhood without using donor sperm.
During ICSI, sperm are injected directly into the egg. This means sperm that cannot swim or bind to an egg are still able to fertilize an egg. This procedure has decreased the need for donor sperm and almost eliminated the concept of untreatable male infertility.
Steps of ICSI
The following steps are taken when performing intracytoplasmic sperm injection:
Sperm is collected from either masturbation, electro-ejaculation or other surgical techniques.
- A woman's egg cells are collected and transferred to a special media in a laboratory dish. The procedure is done under a microscope using multiple micromanipulation devices (i.e., micropipettes).
- A pipette stabilizes the egg and, from the opposite side, a micropipette collects the sperm.
- The micropipette pierces through the egg and releases the sperm into the egg.
- After the procedure, the egg is placed into cell culture and checked on the following day for signs of fertilization.
Penn Fertility Care is the first practice in the Philadelphia area to offer an attractive, simpler alternative to traditional in vitro fertilization (IVF) that uses the INVOcell – a vaginal incubator – to allow embryos to develop in the natural environment of the mother’s vagina.
The INVO procedure, also called intravaginal culture or vaginal incubation, is an assisted reproductive technology approved by the FDA with proven equivalent efficacy and pregnancy rates to traditional IVF. The procedure is recognized by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM).
Steps in the INVOcell procedure
The following steps are taken when performing the INVOcell procedure:
- As with traditional IVF, you must still undergo follicle stimulation and a minor surgical procedure to retrieve your eggs. The difference is that this approach requires fewer eggs – generally fewer than 10 – and the amount of hormone medications used for follicle stimulation is significantly decreased.
- After mild follicle stimulation, the eggs are retrieved under conscious sedation. During this same time, the sperm is prepared.
- The eggs are then combined with sperm in culture media and placed in a small medical grade plastic device – the INVOcell.
- The INVOcell is placed into your vagina to allow a more natural in vivo fertilization and embryo development to occur.
- After a three-to-five-day vaginal incubation, the INVOcell is removed and the developing embryos are examined.
- One or two of the best quality embryos are immediately placed within your uterus. If there are additional high-quality embryos, you may choose to freeze them. The frozen embryos can be saved for future use.