IVF FAQ - Houston IVF Information

How do I select an IVF Service?

You may want to begin your search by asking your doctor, friends, local hospital or medical society for names. Once you have some names you may want to contact the programs first by telephone, study any literature sent to you and, then, visit those that most interest you. Try to select an IVF provider that you feel comfortable with and is convenient for you.

What preliminary testing is needed for my partner and myself?

Blood studies, including reproductive hormones, infection screening, cervical cultures, hysterosalpingogram (the x-ray of the uterus and tubes), mock transfer, semen tests need to be completed prior to initiating an IVF cycle. We prefer the testings to be done in our office, but other arrangements can be made for patients from out of town.

If I had the preliminary testing done before, do I need to repeat it?

No, not unless the testing was done more than six months ago (for hysterosalpingogram one year ago) or you had infection and/or a surgical procedure since your last testing.
How do I know what medication I will be taking and when to take it?
During the IVF consult with the doctor, he/she will discuss with you the best medication stimulation protocol that you should be using. An instruction sheet and prescriptions will be given to you.

How long does the egg retrieval take?

Depending on the number of follicles that are present, the time may vary from 45 minutes to 1 1/2 hour. You should plan on being at the IVF suite for a minimum of three hours.

Is the egg retrieval a painful procedure?

Generally, most patients are asleep during the procedure. We usually administer medications intravenously during the procedure. These are very potent pain relievers and therefore most women tolerate the procedure with a minimum amount of discomfort.

How will I feel after the egg retrieval?

Usually patients complain of feeling sleepy. Occasionally they will experience some abdominal discomfort. The day after the egg retrieval some patients decide to return to work, which is fine if you feel well enough. If you can afford the time off from work, we would encourage you to stay at home because you may not feel quite up to par.

When is my male partner required to produce the semen specimen?

On the day of egg retrieval, the embryologist will inform you when the time is proper for you to produce. It is also strongly suggested that a semen specimen be produced 1 or 2 days prior to the egg retrieval, which can be used as a back up.

>Does every follicle contain an egg?

No. In fact, sometimes if the estradiol is very high it is difficult to see every follicle, so we may get many more eggs at the time of retrieval than number of follicles seen on ultrasound. Unfortunately, when the estradiol is low and only one or two follicles are present on ultrasound, there may not be an egg in the follicle. This is called empty follicle syndrome. We will prescan you prior to the egg retrieval if you have a small number of follicles present on ultrasound on the day of hCG.

Will every egg fertilize?

The average fertilization rate is approximately 65-70%. Some patients have a much higher rate of fertilization and occasionally a few patients will unfortunately have no fertilization. If you do not get 100% fertilization with the first day inseminaiton, we will encourage the male partner to return to the IVF suite the next day to produce another semen specimen so that we may attempt to increase the number of fertilized eggs.

How long can embryos stay in frozen storage before being used?

No one knows the exact answer to this question. It has been noted that some women have delivered healthy normal babies when the embryos were stored for more than 5 years.
When can I resume normal activities, I.e., driving, walking steps, going to work, etc.?
48 hours after the transfer you may resume normal activity, unless you have a very strenuous job. If your job is stenuous, you should discuss this with the physician.

When can I have sexual relations?

There have not been any scientific studies done on this subject, but we think it is okay to resume normal sexual relations after three days from transfer.
What is the best position to stay in after the transfer?
Lying flat in a bed or couch or reclining in a chair is the best. You may lie on your side or back, whichever is more comfortable for you. You should staty reclining except for using the bathroom and showering for 36 hours after the embryo transfer.

On the drive home, must I lie flat?

Because of the hazards of driving without a seat belt, we advise that you recline in the front seat, if possible, and put your seat belt on.

If I live far away, should I stay in a hotel for two days after the transfer?

If you live farther than two hours from the office, it would probably be best that you stay in a nearby hotel, at least the night of the embryo transfer.

When can I take a bath and resume strenuous physical activity?

You may take a bath three days after the transfer, however, the water should be warm, not hot. Because of recent studies that suggest that hot tubs or long hot showers/baths may cause harm to the unborn child, you are encouraged to avoid these. You may resume strenuous physical activity only with the consent of the physician and after you have had your pregnancy test.

How do I compare the success rate of different programs?

As you contact different programs, consider carefully how success rates are calculated. Make sure to ask for the success rate for people who fit your particular patient profile, such as your age and cause of infertility. A particular program may have a lower success rate than others, but specialize in more difficult cases. Or, a program may have a very good overall success rate, but not be the best one to treat your particular problem. Federal Register Notice Alert 11/6/98 sets forth a model program, including the proposed definitions, administrative requirements and laboratory standards.

Office Hours
  • Monday - Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Saturdays and Sundays: as needed.