In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

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The Infertility and IVF Center is equipped with a state of the art research facility and treatment equipment along with the skilled specialists and researchers who actively conduct research and work to achieve a high success rate for pregnancy

IVF, which is at the center of the infertility treatment, is the retrieval of the egg and sperm for an external fertilization, culture of the fertilized egg for a certain period, and the transfer of the fertilized egg into the uterus.

Tubal infertility (obstruction of the fallopian tubes, fallopian tube adhesions)
Male infertility
Infertility of unknown causes
Failed attempts at IUI


IVF Phase 1_Ovulation Induction
Women generally release one egg per month. The hormonal response is controlled to induce the release of multiple eggs at once since as it is difficult to become pregnant with just one egg in IVF treatment. There are currently three methods to induce ovulation, the egg is sometimes retrieved according to the natural cycle of ovulation when such methods are problematic.

Ovulation Induction Method

Long-term Ovulation Induction
Hormones (Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone agonist: GnRH agonist) that suppress the ovulation of immature eggs are administered through hypodermic injections into the shoulders or the lower abdomen area 7~10 days before the expected start of menstruation to the actual day the egg is retrieved. Hormones that facilitate the growth of the eggs (FSH: follicular stimulating hormone) are injected for approximately 7~10 days when the induction of ovulation is ready. When it is determined that the ovarian follicles have grown sufficiently (generally over 3 ovarian follicles that are over 17mm in size) after a female hormone test and an ultrasound, hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is administered at 10pm that day. The eggs are retrieved approximately 34 hours after the hCG injection (two days later at 8am).

Short-term Ovulation Induction
In the case of a short-term ovulation induction, the hormones that suppress the ovulation are administered 2 days into menstruation through hypodermic injections with 0.5cc at a time until the day the hCG injections begin. For poor responders who release only 1~2 eggs after receiving controlled ovarian hyperstimulation injections according to the natural cycle, the one naturally released egg is retrieved and used for an external fertilization. Although this method is inexpensive and can be repeated each month, the success rate is lower than when multiple healthy eggs are released through the use of controlled ovarian hyperstimulation agents.

New Ovulation Induction Method
The new injection to suppress the ovulation of immature eggs is more time-efficient and economic since the required period of injection has been considerably shortened. Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation agents are administered through intramuscular injections 3 days into menstruation for 4 days. Hypodermic injections, which prevent the ovulation of the immature eggs, are administered 5 days into menstruation along with the controlled ovarian hyperstimulation agents until the day of egg retrieval.

IVF Phase 2_Egg & Sperm Retrieval

Egg RetrievalThe egg is retrieved through a transvaginal ultrasound under a local anesthesia, which takes approximately 10 minutes, and it takes 2~3 hours until the patient can physically go home. The eggs collected externally are cultured a period of certain time for an external fertilization.

Sperm Retrieval & Preparation
Sperm must also be retrieved on the day the egg is retrieved. As was the case for the semen analysis, sexual intercourse must be avoided for 3 days prior to the sperm retrieval. Only highly motile sperm cells are separated to be fertilized with the egg. A high-magnification microscope is used before the fertilization in order to examine the morphology of the sperm, including the head and tail, this is to determine whether normal fertilization is possible, the sperm cells are used for external fertilization. In the case of sperm cells that fall short of the optimal fertilization qualifications, a intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is performed for fertilization, where each egg is directly inserted with a sperm cell.

IVF Phase 3_Test Tube Fertilization & Culture

External Fertilization
The externally retrieved egg and sperm are naturally combined in a culture dish. The actual number of sperm cells is calculated according to the number of eggs, each are combined in an optimal condition. The fertilized egg is examined after 18 hours of fertilization.

Culture of the Fertilized Egg
The fertilized egg is separated and cultured before an embryo transfer. The fertilized egg is cultured in a condition that is most similar to the body. The methods that are currently used for culturing fertilized eggs consist of the short-term culture method, in which the egg is cultured for 3 days, and the long-term culture method, in which the egg is cultured for 5 days.

01) Short-term Culture Method : Since culturing the fertilized egg for 3 days renders the distinction of good eggs unclear for selection compared to culturing for 5 days, the number of transferred embryos is higher for the 3-day culture so there is a higher chance of a multiple birth. However, fertilization and transfer cannot be unsuccessful due to any problem arising during the culture process. The possibility of multiple births after the 3 day culture is now being reduced by adjusting the number of transferred embryos.

02) Long-term Culture Method : In the case of the 5-day culture method, the possibility of multiple births, including twins and more, is decreased since the fertilized eggs are externally cultured over a long period of time, only the eggs with a high chance of implantation are selected. However, the disadvantage of that method is that the fertilized eggs cannot be implanted if they are unable to grow normally. There is also no difference in the pregnancy rate or the delivery rate according to the culture period of the fertilized eggs. Our hospital follows the short-term culture method.

IVF Phase 4_Embryo Transfer

Transfer of the embryo is performed 3~5 days after retrieving the egg. No anesthesia is necessary since there is no pain involved. There are many different types of catheters to transfer the embryo, but our hospital uses a thin catheter through the vagina to transfer the embryo into the uterus so as to avoid harming the inner uterine wall, it also makes the process much easier. 3~4 embryos are normally transferred. Following the transfer, the patient is discharged after resting for 3 hours in the hospital and should take it easy after the discharge as well as until pregnancy is confirmed.

Surgical Embryo Transfer
When the transfer catheter cannot pass through the cervix due to a cervical malformation or other various causes, surgical embryo transfer is performed. The inner uterine wall is accurately located through an ultrasound and the embryo is transferred through a needle inserted into the uterus. Anesthesia is not administered and the pain level is similar to the pain of injections. The recent trend intrafallopian transfer is to not recommend, this requires anesthesia and surgery, since the pregnancy rate for intrafallopian transfer is almost the same as the pregnancy rate for IVF.

Intrafallopian Transfer
01. Definition of Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT)
GIFT is an assisted reproduction technique (ART) performed on women who have normal fallopian tubes but are still unable to get pregnant. The disadvantage is that the fertilization cannot be confirmed since the sperm and egg are inserted directly into the fallopian tube.

02. Definition of Zygote Intrafallopian Tranfer (ZIFT)
ZIFT is a method of inserting the embryo into the fallopian tube after externally confirming fertilization.

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