IVF Fertility

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process by which an egg is fertilized by sperm outside the body: in vitro. IVF is a major treatment for infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed.

IVF may be used to overcome female infertility where it is due to problems with the fallopian tubes, making fertilization in vivo difficult. It can also assist in male infertility, in those cases where there is a defect in sperm quality; in such cases intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be used, where a sperm cell is injected directly into the egg cell. This is used when sperm have difficulty penetrating the egg, and in these cases the partner's or a donor's sperm may be used. ICSI is also used when sperm numbers are very low. When indicated, the use of ICSI has been found to increase the success rates of IVF



Step One: Ovulation Induction

Fertility drugs, taken through injections, are used to stimulate a woman's ovaries to develop multiple mature eggs. This improves chances for fertilization and ultimately pregnancy. The most common medications are gonadotropins including Repronex, Follistim, Gonal F, and Menopur.


Step Two: Egg (Oocyte) Retrieval

When the eggs are mature, they are retrieved by an ultrasound-guided procedure that is performed under light anesthesia on an outpatient basis.  During the procedure a needle is placed through the vaginal opening and into the ovaries. There are no abdominal incisions or suturing. The eggs are then evaluated in our onsite embryology lab. Once there, they are fertilized with sperm from your partner or a donor. Risks are minimal and recovery takes an hour or two, although post-operative cramping is common.


Step Three: Fertilization in the Lab

Once the eggs arrive in our embryology lab, our skilled staff analyzes them for maturity and then incubates them. At this time, partners are asked to collect a fresh sperm sample, which is then analyzed and treated to isolate the best sperm for insemination. The sperm is then mixed with the eggs or injected directly into the eggs using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).

It takes approximately 18 hours to determine if fertilization has occurred and 24 to 72 hours to establish if the embryo is growing. During a successful IVF process, the oocytes and embryos will stay in the laboratory for approximately 2 to 5 days.


Step Four: Embryo Transfer

Embryo transfer takes place after eggs have been collected and fertilized in the laboratory.

Depending on your situation between one and three of the best quality embryos are selected and then transferred to the woman’s womb.

An embryo must successfully attach itself to the wall of the womb for pregnancy to begin. 



Success rate

The success rate of IVF clinics depends on a number of factors including patient characteristics and treatment approaches. It is also important to understand that pregnancy rates are not the same as live birth rates.

The live birth rate is the percentage of all IVF cycles that lead to a live birth. This rate does not include miscarriage or stillbirth and multiple-order births such as twins and triplets are counted as one pregnancy. A 2009 summary compiled by the Society for Reproductive Medicine which reports the average IVF success rates in the United States per age group using non-donor eggs compiled the following data:


                                 35           35-37           38-40          41-42

Pregnancy rate           47.6         38.9             30.1            20.5

Live birth rate              41.4         31.7             22.3            12.6

Bernard Kassab

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