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Natural Cycle IVF Procedure
The first step in natural cycle IVF is meeting with your doctor to go over your personal fertility history—menstrual cycles, health issues, past IVF treatments if any—as well as your emotional state. If you agree you’re a good candidate for this method, you will most likely be asked to begin monitoring your ovulation at home by taking your temperature every day for about three weeks before menstruation is due. This will identify when the LH (lutenin hormone) is surging, indicating your most fertile time.
Next, an ultrasound scan is done in a doctor’s office to determine if the follicles in the ovary are developing and producing eggs, and that the blood supply to the developing egg is healthy. The ultrasound is done daily for several days before ovulation is expected. If follicles aren’t developing, you may be asked to inject yourself with hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), a hormone naturally produced by the placenta. Then, 36 hours later, or when the follicle reaches maturity, retrieval is planned. At this point, some doctors will administer an anti-inflammatory drug, to help prevent rupture of the sac.
The egg is retrieved in a simple, in-office procedure by passing a fine needle through the vaginal wall. Depending on your preference, you will be given sedation or general anesthetic. The egg is then joined with the sperm for fertilization using the same in vitro laboratory techniques as with conventional IVF. If the egg fertilizes, a single embryo is placed in the uterus in another in-office procedure. Two weeks after that you are tested for pregnancy.
Natural cycle IVF is an easier, less expensive option than traditional IVF, though with only one egg retrieved, there’s no more guarantee of success. If, however, you don’t conceive on the first attempt, you can always try again right away.