Egg Fertilization

Egg fertilization is an important component in the IVF process

If you have decided to explore IVF, you likely realize that this treatment requires multiple steps from start to finish. David T. Vandermolen MD, MS, our Northern Louisiana fertility doctor, wants to ensure that our patients feel confident and comfortable about the entire treatment plan. Egg fertilization is a critical part of the in vitro fertilization process.

Egg fertilization basics

When fertilization occurs naturally, the ovaries release an egg during ovulation, and the sperm fertilizes it inside the fallopian tubes. The resulting embryo moves down to the uterus, where it implants and develops, creating a pregnancy.

For patients dealing with infertility, especially those with advanced maternal age, structural issues or male factor infertility concerns, Dr. Vandermolen may need to offer nature a helping hand in the form of IVF.

Understanding IVF

Before fertilization can occur, our Northern Louisiana fertility doctor will prescribe fertility medications to stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs at once. We will monitor your cycle with ultrasound and bloodwork. At the appropriate time, Dr. Vandermolen will perform the egg retrieval.

Once Dr. Vandermolen extracts the eggs, they are taken to our IVF laboratory and evaluated. We assess the egg quality, and the sperm quality as well, using high-powered microscopes and other advanced equipment. Egg fertilization can occur with one of two methods.

  • Conventional fertilization. In this case, the sperm are added to a petri dish containing mature eggs, so that fertilization can occur.
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). We often suggest ICSI when there are concerns with sperm quality or quantity, or if IVF has failed several times. With ICSI, one sperm is injected directly into each egg.

After either procedure, the petri dishes containing the sperm and eggs are moved to an incubator and monitored for fertilization.

Additional considerations after fertilization

Once egg fertilization occurs, the embryos develop for several days in the lab. Our skilled embryologists evaluate their health and quality to determine the best embryo for transfer to the uterus.

Depending on the situation, Dr. Vandermolen may recommend further steps before the transfer. Assisted hatching can increase the odds of implantation, and preimplantation genetic testing may lower the risks of chromosome disorders or passing on genetic abnormalities to the fetus.

Fertility treatment takes time and patience. Count on our Northern Louisiana fertility doctor and our experienced team to provide the support and medical expertise you need during IVF. Contact our office for more information on egg fertilization or to schedule an appointment.