Are you considering IVF (in vitro fertilization)? Knowing the steps involved can help provide peace of mind and clarity as you go through the process. Many patients have a number of questions in advance and throughout the procedure, including whether day 3 vs. day 5 embryo transfer is better.
This is completely normal and our team at The Center for Fertility and Gynecology in Los Angeles, CA will walk side-by-side with you throughout your entire journey. We understand that infertility and the tests and treatments involved can cause anxiety. Dr. Michael Vermesh will answer any questions along the way and recommend the most suitable method of embryo transfer so you have the best chances of achieving a successful pregnancy and smooth delivery.
The IVF Process
To understand embryo transfer, one must first gain a good understanding of IVF treatment. The entire IVF process includes about six different steps:
- Ovarian Stimulation: During this stage, you will be given a series of medications to stimulate your ovaries in order to produce a number of viable eggs. You will undergo a series of ultrasounds and blood tests to ensure your ovaries are responding well to medication.
- HCG Injection: Once the eggs are mature, you will receive an injection of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) to boost the viability of the eggs.
- Egg Retrieval: You will then be placed under anesthesia so Dr. Vermesh can retrieve the eggs from your ovaries. This delicate procedure requires ultrasound technology and a steady hand in guiding the needle to your ovaries.
- Sperm Retrieval: Simultaneously, the sperm will be retrieved either from the male partner or a donor bank, then washed and prepared.
- Egg Fertilization: The eggs are either combined in the same dish as the sperm, or will undergo a procedure known as ICSI to promote fertilization.
- Embryo Transfer: The fertilized eggs (embryos) are transferred into the uterus either three or five days after fertilization.
During egg fertilization, the sperm and eggs are combined to help increase your chances for a successful pregnancy. For the next few days, the eggs will be monitored carefully with microscopic technology by a trained embryologist to confirm fertilization. Whether the eggs are transferred on day three or day five will depend on the quality of the embryos. Dr. Vermesh bases this off of each patient’s individual results.
Understanding Embryo Development
Whereas embryo transfer used to take place immediately after fertilization, nowadays, thanks to advanced technology, doctors are able to wait several days to transfer to improve a patient’s chances of implantation.
When deciding what day to transfer, Dr. Vermesh and the embryologist use state-of-the-art technology to carefully evaluate the development of each embryo to identify the healthiest and most viable embryos. Once the egg is fertilized, it multiplies rapidly from a single cell to multiple cells. By day three, each embryo contains four to eight cells. However, once the embryo reaches the blastocyst stage at day five, it can contain up to 100 cells and fetal tissue, allowing for a more mature embryo to be transferred, increasing your chances for implantation and pregnancy.
Although it is generally better to wait until day five to transfer, if only a few embryos remain after the first 48 hours, Dr. Vermesh may recommend a day three transfer. He and the team at Center for Fertility and Gynecology will work closely with you to determine the best day to transfer to help you attain a successful pregnancy.
Begin Your Fertility Journey
If you are interested in learning more about IVF to start your family, our team at The Center for Fertility and Gynecology would be glad to meet with you. To schedule your consultation, contact us conveniently online, or give us a call at (818) 881-9800.