IN VITRO FERTILIZATION:  General Information

Sperm Fertilizing an Egg

In 2016, our IVF program celebrated its 30th year providing IVF to the region.  We have three board certified reproductive endocrinologists (infertility specialist) on staff.  Our IVF program is one of the most successful in Virginia and serves the surrounding areas including Charlottesville, Harrisonburg, Staunton, Fishersville, Lynchburg, Roanoke, Waynesboro, Stuarts Draft, Forest, Bedford, Buena Vista, Vinton, Bridgewater, Arlington, Fairfax, Farmville, Winchester, Warrenton, Fredericksburg, Blacksburg, Richmond and others.  In fact, we attract patients from across the United States.

Dr. Bruce Bateman started one of the earlier IVF programs in the United States in Charlottesville in 1986 making IVF available our region for over 30 years.  All our specialists have extensive experience conducting IVF cycles and we have excellent success rates.  One of our great strengths is our IVF program.  Your doctor and nurses will get to know you personally. 

All couples/patients have access to a physician 24 hours a day for any issues or concerns which may arise.

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) involves fertilization of eggs outside the body in a special environment created in the laboratory.  In the 1950s, researchers at the Worcester Foundation in Massachusetts reported the first live births of rabbits that were conceived by IVF procedures.  The first human baby conceived using IVF was delivered in 1978 at Bourne Hall in Cambridge, England.  In the almost 30-year history of human IVF treatment, over a million babies have been delivered around the world and IVF procedures have become much more successful.

Steps in the Process

Attempting to establish a pregnancy through IVF treatment involves several steps:

  • Stimulation of the ovary to produce multiple mature eggs or oocytes
  • Retrieval of the eggs by a minor outpatient surgical procedure called an egg retrieval
  • Fertilization of the eggs and sperm in a laboratory dish
  • Culture and evaluation of the embryos
  • Transfer of selected embryo(s) into the uterus for implantation (usually 1 embryo is transferred)
  • Frequently the embryos are cryopreserved prior to the embryo transfer.  In most cases, this improves implantation rate of embryos and gives a higher chance of successful pregnancy
  • Additional embryos are cryopreserved for future use (when available)

Patients usually come to our Virginia fertility clinic fairly frequently during the drug stimulation phase of the cycle for monitoring.  This monitoring includes brief visits (15-20 minutes) for 7-10 days for hormone blood level measurements and transvaginal ultrasounds.  Our location makes the transit for testing easy especially compared to clinics in the Washington, DC or Richmond areas.  If you live in the Roanoke region, we will coordinate local monitoring to reduce the number of visits to Charlottesville. 

These ultrasound and blood tests allow our doctors to monitor follicle development (egg maturity) providing necessary information for medication(s) dosage adjustment.  These risks help prevent potential side effects from ovarian stimulation and determine when the eggs are ready to be retrieved to fertilize them in the lab.

Categories of infertility that can be helped by IVF treatment include:

  • Fallopian tube dysfunction
  • Ovulation dysfunction when medications to cause ovulation have been unsuccessful
  • Endometriosis, when medical treatment has been unsuccessful or stage 3 or 4 is encountered
  • Male infertility such as a persistent low sperm count, motility, and/or morphology or cases where sperm must be obtained surgically
  • Diminished ovarian reserve, in which the supply of eggs in the ovary is limited
  • Unexplained infertility
  • Some genetic diseases

We know that you probably have more questions about the process of IVF or about Charlottesville, VA IVF program.  Please feel free to contact Bonnie Reilly, RN or Stephanie Barrix, RN, the IVF Nurse Coordinators at 434-654-8875 or e-mail Bonnie Reilly or Stephanie Barrix.

IVF Financial Information:

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