Most clinics offer for the woman to remain lying down for a few minutes after the procedure — although the sperm has been put above the vagina and cervix, so it shouldn’t leak out when you stand up.


On the day of the procedure, when ovulation is imminent, a speculum is placed in the vagina and the cervical area is gently cleaned. The washed specimen of highly motile sperm is placed either in the uterus using a sterile, flexible catheter. There should be little or no discomfort.


The semen is “washed” in the laboratory (called sperm processing or sperm washing). The sperm is separated from the other components of the semen and concentrated in a small volume.


A semen specimen is produced at home or in the clinic after 2-5 days of abstinence from ejaculation.


The woman is given medications to stimulate development of multiple eggs at the beginning of her cycle.

Embryo transfer

This is the final procedure in the IVF process. The embryo is placed in a catheter, which is inserted into the uterus; when the catheter reaches the right location, it is transferred — i.e., squirted out of the catheter — to the uterine lining. For women, the embryo transfer should be painless, and no sedation or other drugs are required.

Egg fertilization

Next, we’ll fertilize the mature eggs we retrieved in our state-of-the-art laboratory. In IVF without ICSI, the eggs and sperm are placed in petri dish to fertilize on their own; for patients using ICSI, sperm are injected directly into the eggs — more on that below.

Egg retrieval

We’ll use ultrasound to monitor follicle development. When they’re ready, we’ll retrieve the eggs from the ovaries. It’s a 10-minute procedure that’s typically done under anesthesia.

Follicle stimulation

We use medications to produce multiple follicles and eggs. Keep in mind: while only one follicle with one egg inside develops in a natural menstrual cycle, IVF success rates are higher when multiple follicles and eggs are produced.


Basic screening tests are performed on both partners. Some of the required testing may already have been performed if you’ve undergone previous infertility testing and procedures.