Your IVF Journey
During your first visit, you and your partner will have a consultation with one of our medical staff during which we will listen to your history and perform a check-up that includes an extensive ultrasound scan to check for any pelvic problems. Based on your history and clinical exams, the doctor constructs the optimal treatment, personalized for you.
On the day of your first visit, you should bring:
- any relevant medical records
- a copy of your passports
- a passport picture of you and your partner
- your marriage certificate
In the case that IVF is the right treatment for you, you will go through several steps that generally take place over a period of approximately 21 - 25 days. If you live outside the UAE, you may begin the first 10-14 days of treatment in your home country and then come to the UAE for the remainder of the treatment. The procedural steps of your IVF journey are detailed below:
Step 1: Ovarian Stimulation
Treatment cycles typically start on the second or third day of menstrual cycle and consist of a regimen of hormone injections (one nearly every day for around 10 days) to stimulate the ovaries so they develop more than the one natural egg. These hormone injections may be taken at home or in the clinic, depending on your preference. During this time, you will be assessed through ultrasound tests to analyze the development of the follicles (which are to become eggs) and blood tests to check your hormone levels.
Step 2: Egg Retrieval
Your eggs are retrieved using a transvaginal technique involving a very thin ultrasound-guided needle to reach the ovaries. The number of eggs retrieved depends on how your body has reacted to the fertility medication. The retrieval procedure takes about 15 minutes and is done under sedation. Following the procedure, some patients experience no pain while other feel cramps similar to those that you experience during a heavy period for approximately two days. The more eggs retrieved, the more likely it is that you may feel a little discomfort. Two hours after the operation, you can carry on your day without any limitations.
Step 3: Sperm Collection
On the day of egg retrieval, your husband will need to provide us with a semen sample so that the retrieved eggs can be fertilized. This is the only day your husband is absolutely required to be present at the clinic for a fresh fertilization. Alternatively, your eggs can be fertilized using frozen sperm collected at an earlier time (at an extra cost). If the doctor suspects that infertility may be attributed to a male factor, a semen anaysis will be conducted before you start treatment. If no sperm is found in the ejaculate, then he will be treated using medication to help produce sperm, which can then be obtained directly from his testis under sedation (TESA operation). To find out about male infertility treatments offered at Fakih IVF, click here.
Step 4: ICSI
To increase chances of fertilization, a single sperm is directly injected into your eggs using a delicate needle. This method is called Intra-cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). ICSI is sometimes used as a treatment method for male infertility. It is useful when the husband has very low sperm count or low motility because it ensures that the sperm reaches the egg directly and fertilizes it. At Fakih IVF, we always do IVF with ICSI (unless requested otherwise) because this method ensures that the best eggs and best sperms are collected and fertilized together regardless of whether or not the husband has a sperm problem.
Step 5: Embryo Transfer
Three to five days later, the best 1-3 embryos are transferred back to your uterus (womb) through your cervix. The embryo transfer procedure takes about 15 minutes. No anesthesia is given as it is painless. In case excess embryos are available after the transfer, they can be frozen* for future cycles. The frozen embryos can later be transferred in a natural cycle or with medicated support where a series of hormone treatments is prescribed. You will have 3 blood tests in the following 12 days, each 4 days apart. The first one is to monitor your hormone levels. The second one checks your hormone levels and any pregnancy, and the final one is completed to confirm the pregnancy. If you live outside the UAE and need to fly back to your country, those last 3 blood tests can be done in your home country, provided you rest one day after transferring the embryos.
*Please note that embryo freezing has recently been banned in the UAE, so the option of freezing embryos for transferring at a later date is not available until further notice. For patients in favor of freezing embryos, we are offering them the option of freezing some of their eggs instead. We can freeze embryos in our Beirut branch and also in Michigan.
If you would like to talk to one of our doctors to discuss your options or begin treatment, please click here.