What is IVF?

“In vitro” is a Latin phrase that means “in glass.” In vitro fertilization (IVF) provides a controlled environment that significantly enhances the opportunity for fertilization of the oocyte, or egg. IVF combines egg with sperm in a laboratory dish containing a culture solution that provides nutrients to support the fertilization and development of the egg.  The fertilization process is monitored microscopically over a three-day period, during which successfully fertilized eggs develop into embryos. Then, our team of embryologists carefully examines the quality of the embryos to determine which embryos will be selected for embryo transfer, cryopreservation, or further culturing and development.

History of IVF

It was over thirty years ago that the world first learned of IVF. The first “test tube baby,” Louise Brown, was conceived via IVF in 1978 in London by a team where SCRC’s own Dr. Mark Surrey trained.

In Vitro Fertilization vs. Surgery for Tubal Infertility

SCRC has pioneered significant advancements in IVF as well as surgical infertility treatments. Deciding which treatment to use (IVF or surgery) depends on several factors, including maternal age, expected pregnancy rates, operative risks and recovery time.

Accurate Diagnosis of Tubal Infertility

Knowing the type of tubal problem and the extent of tubal damage you have is crucial in determining the best treatment choice. SCRC utilizes the latest diagnostic techniques such as HSG (hysterosalpingogram) for assessing tubal infertility. This is why getting an accurate diagnosis is such a vital first step. The easiest way to accomplish this is to call SCRC at (866) 312-0771 or click here to contact us. We will help you arrange a consultation with your personal, dedicated SCRC fertility specialist. After you are diagnosed, your fertility team will devise a comprehensive, individualized treatment plan based on their diagnostic findings.

Advantages of IVF:

  • Significantly higher monthly pregnancy rates (known as fecundability)
  • Possibility of extra embryos that may be cryopreserved (frozen) for a subsequent pregnancy attempt.
  • Less invasive; lower operative risk, shorter recovery time

Benefits of Surgery:

  • Offers the potential for many future pregnancies
  • Eliminates the risks of increased multiple pregnancy and hyperstimulation reactions that may occur with IVF medications.
  • If the woman has had tubal ligation (“having the tubes tied”), microsurgical reversal may be an option. NOTE: Tubal reversal is not a viable solution for everyone. At SCRC, we caution you that microsurgical reversal of tubal ligation is not the answer for most of our patients who inquire about it. Many different factors can cause infertility; it’s important to find out what’s right for your individual situation. Our fertility specialists can help you make the right decision based on your particular circumstances.

The IVF physicians at Southern California Reproductive Center will fully discuss the merits of each approach with you to help you determine the best treatment option.

Step-By-Step Overview of the In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Treatment Protocol

IVF is an important option in fertility treatment. The physicians at the SCRC fertility clinic have extensive experience in all aspects of IVF treatment. This difference has made our facility the fertility center of choice for thousands of couples dealing with infertility. Our excellent success rates are due in part to the unparalleled expertise of our fertility doctors and our state-of-the art IVF lab facilities.  IVF patients go through a carefully structured program at our offices. Here’s what you can expect during the process:

1. Initial Consultation with Your Personal Fertility Specialist

When you schedule a consultation, you will meet with your personal fertility specialist, a dedicated SCRC physician who will take an extensive medical history of you and your partner and address any and all questions or concerns you may have. We understand that the IVF procedure can seem intimidating, so we strive to make sure you are comfortable and confident about the process at each step of your treatment. IVF consultations can be scheduled by calling SCRC at (866) 312-0771 or clicking here to contact us.

2. Clinical Coordinator Consultation

Your clinical coordinator is a specially trained member of your fertility team who will oversee your IVF journey at SCRC.  She will review your diagnosis, go over the details of your desired treatment plan, and then schedule all the necessary procedures, which are performed in our offices. She will happily answer your IVF treatment questions and assist you throughout the entire IVF process.

3. Financial Consultation for IVF

In vitro fertilization procedure plans may involve significant financial commitment for those whose insurance does not cover IVF treatment. Please check with your insurance company about coverage.  At SCRC, we want you to be fully informed of  the financial options and alternatives that are available. This way, you can feel comfortable with managing the procedure cost before beginning your IVF treatment plan. IVF financing at the Southern California Reproductive Center includes a variety of flexible options to support your overall plan for building a family. Our helpful, caring fertility counselors will be happy to explain the full range of IVF financing options we offer. If you didn’t think you could afford IVF, think again – you’ll be pleasantly surprised!

4. Pre-treatment Preparation for IVF

In order to ensure you have the most positive outcome from your IVF procedure at SCRC, we carefully review the preliminary evaluation of both partners. At this time, if appropriate, we may prescribe stress reduction measures and other pre-treatment procedures. If indicated, we will perform laboratory testing, infectious disease screening, uterine evaluation, and male fertility testing.

5. Start of Oral Contraceptive Suppression

Two to four weeks after you finish your testing and diagnosis, you’ll begin taking an oral contraceptive (birth control pills) to prepare your ovaries. This integral part of the IVF procedure helps to suppress undesired hormone production and reduces cyst formation before ovary stimulation.

6. Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation (COH)

The goal of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation, or COH, is to produce at least three mature oocytes (eggs). COH is achieved through the use of oral fertility drugs and injectable hormonal medications. Before starting the medications, your fertility specialist will perform a baseline pelvic ultrasound to evaluate the uterus and ovaries in the resting state. During COH, we will monitor you closely through a combination of ultrasound and blood testing. The risks of multiple pregnancy with such hyperstimulation are minimal, but do exist; however, extreme cases seen in the popular media, such as the octuplets of Nadya Suleman, are exceedingly rare.

7. Monitoring Visits

To accurately monitor egg development, we obtain a series of ultrasounds and blood tests for hormone levels. Ultrasound allows your doctor to physically see the development in the follicle of the oocyte and surrounding cells. Blood tests show how the hormonal function of the follicle is progressing. Collectively, this information enables your IVF team at SCRC to follow the development, growth, and maturity of the follicle. This process typically requires from five to seven office visits.

8. hCG Injection

Approximately 36 hours before the actual egg retrieval, we will inject you with a special medication called hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin). hCG acts to stimulate ovulation and the release of the oocyte from the surrounding cells (follicle).

9. Transvaginal Retrieval of Eggs; the IVF Lab

Retrieving the mature eggs from your ovaries is made more comfortable with the care of a certified anesthesiologist who administers an intravenous anesthetic. Risks of this procedure are minimal.

Your partner or donor provides a semen specimen; our IVF lab specialists then perform the actual in vitro fertilization procedure.

In cases where male infertility is a factor, such as low sperm count and/or motility, or if there are problems with the shape (morphology) of the sperm, normal in vitro fertilization is not used. In these cases, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), an infertility treatment involving direct injection of a single sperm into each egg, can be employed in order to improve your chances of conception.

Our IVF lab also can perform PGD, or preimplantation genetic diagnosis, to ensure that each embryo selected is free from specific genetic abnormalities; gender determination is also possible. The PGD process, which selects the healthiest embryos for transfer, thus also helps to increase the chances of a successful pregnancy.

While there are many IVF clinics and physicians, the Southern California Reproductive Center’s IVF lab specialists are some of the most skilled and respected professionals in the in vitro fertilization field.

10. IVF Lab Daily Reports

Your in vitro fertilization procedure is followed closely by Southern California Reproductive Center’s fertility specialists (including your doctor and IVF lab specialists) on a daily basis. They conduct daily reviews of the status of your fertilization and the quality of your developing embryo. They also confer about decisions leading up to the transfer of the developed embryo back into your uterus.

11. Embryo or Blastocyst Transfer

Your SCRC fertility specialists will meet with you and make a presentation of your embryo development, which will include photographs for your records. You and your IVF team will discuss the number of embryos or blastocysts that should be transferred to give you the best chance of a successful pregnancy and the lowest likelihood of high-order multiple births, such as triplets. As always, any questions and concerns you might have will be carefully and compassionately answered.

12. Pregnancy Test #1

Your first pregnancy test following IVF will be performed approximately 12 days after the embryo/blastocyst transfer. During this time, you’ll be taking a progesterone supplement to help support the uterine lining. This stage of the IVF procedure is an emotional time and we will be there with you every step of the way.

13. Pregnancy Test #2

When your first pregnancy test is positive, a repeat test is performed within one week to ensure that your pregnancy is progressing. An ultrasound will be scheduled within two to three weeks after a positive pregnancy test. Then, you should be on the exciting path to parenthood!

Choosing the Best IVF Fertility Clinic

When facing infertility and your desire to build a family, one of the most important decisions you will make is where to go for your treatment. So how do you select the best IVF clinic?

  • Our technologies:
    Because accurate diagnosis is paramount, you want to find a fertility center with the latest diagnostic technologies.  But beyond diagnosis, you want to know who makes up the medical practice and how it operates.
  • Our doctors:
    At SCRC, our fertility specialists also serve as clinical professors at noted Los Angeles teaching hospitals such as Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and UCLA Medical Center.
  • The team approach
    Our practice believes in a team approach to fertility treatment, drawing on the talents of multiple and complimentary medical and allied health disciplines to give you the best possible outcome.
  • Everything you need, all under one roof
    Our practice is streamlined, incorporating our medical offices, a state of the art IVF lab and specially designed surgical center under one roof for your comfort and convenience.

Questions about IVF? Call SCRC and Come In for a Consultation!

If you are considering in vitro fertilization and want to know if IVF may be right for you, see the fertility specialists at SCRC for a consultation. IVF is not something you choose lightly, so trust the experts.

Call us at (866) 312-0771 or click here to contact us. You are also more than welcome to come visit our fertility clinics so you can see our facilities for yourself!

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Preguntas frecuentes

QAnti Depressants and IVF


Is it safe for a woman having IVF treatment to continue medication for depression? Fertility specialist Dr. Mark Surrey, co-founder of Southern California Reproductive Center, explains what antidepressant medications are generally considered safe for a patient undergoing IVF. Dr. Surrey further says the potential cost/benefit to each patient is carefully evaluated before prescribing any and all medications.

QBlood Tests in IVF Treatments


Do blood tests help during IVF treatments? Fertility specialist Dr. Mark Surrey, co-founder of Southern California Reproductive Center, explains what blood tests can, and can’t reveal.

QDescribe the latest technologies available in IVF


Fertility specialist Dr. Hal Danzer, co-founder of Southern California Reproductive Center, talks about the recent advances in IVF that help patients in their journey to become parents.

QPreparing for an IVF treatment


How does a patient prepare for an IVF treatment? Dr. Hal Danzer, co-founder of Southern California Reproductive Center, talks about the steps a patient must take when getting ready for an IVF treatment.

QMedications used in IVF treatments


Fertility specialist Dr. Hal Danzer, co-founder of Southern California Reproductive Center, talks about the medication used in an IVF treatment. Dr. Danzer says that birth control pills play an important role in the process.



How is Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD) used in IVF treatment? Fertility specialist Dr. Mark Surrey, co-founder of Southern California Reproductive Center, explains why PGD is a valuable technology for increasing successful outcomes.

QSCRC’s First IVF Patient


Fertility specialist Dr. Mark Surrey, M.D., co-founder of Southern California Reproductive Center, talks about the first patient seen at SCRC. Dr. Surrey says that the procedure was quite different than what is practiced today.

QTaking Medication Before IVF


Is it necessary for patients to stop taking prescription medications before beginning IVF? Fertility specialist, Dr. Mark Surrey, M.D., Medical Director and co-founder of Southern California Reproductive Center, says every patient is unique and should be carefully evaluated by her doctor before a decision is made to continue or stop medications.

QWhat is Natural Cycle IVF?


What is natural cycle IVF? Fertility specialist Dr. Mark Surrey, M.D., co-founder of Southern California Reproductive Center, explains what it is, how it works, and its effectiveness.

QWhen Are Eggs Ready For Retrieval?


Dr. Hal Danzer, M.D., Fertility Specialist and Co-Founder of Southern California Reproductive Center, explains how doctors monitor a woman’s developing eggs in preparation for retrieval. Dr. Danzer says explains the woman is monitored with ultrasound throughout the stimulation cycle until the eggs are ready to be retrieved.

QCancer Patients and IVF


Why do women who are successfully treated for cancer have to wait five years to have IVF? Fertility expert, Dr. Mark Surrey, co-founder of Southern California Reproductive Center, says patients must be cancer-free for five years in order to be a good candidate for IVF. The concern before five years is that the IVF treatments could trigger a recurrence of the cancer.

QHow acupuncture may be helpful


Dr. Shahin Ghadir, M.D., a fertility specialist at Southern California Reproductive Center talks about how acupuncture may be helpful for women undergoing IVF. Dr. Ghadir also discusses the use of herbal medications.

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