The number of eggs retrieved will depend upon your age and response to hMG. But on average, six to 12 eggs are developed. As soon as the eggs are identified under the microscope, they are placed in petri dishes which contain a culture medium. The prepared culture medium is a composition that so closely resembles your own body’s fallopian tube secretion that the eggs, and subsequently the embryos, will develop in the petri dish just as they would in your body. The dishes are kept in an incubator at a constant temperature of 37ºC, 100% humidity and 5% CO2 concentration.
At the time of egg retrieval, the male partner will collect his sperm by masturbating into a clean cup. The semen is then washed and processed to remove the seminal fluid to get the highest quality sperm possible. It takes about four to six hours after retrieval for the eggs to finally mature to the point that they are ready for insemination. Traditionally, sperm has been added to each dish containing the eggs and letting nature take its course by fertilizating overnight. However, we are using ICSI even in normal cases to ensure that the best eggs are indeed fertilized. The fertilized eggs, now called embryos, continue to grow in the IVF laboratory. In three to five days, you will return for embryo transfer.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is a micromanipulation procedure developed to help couples with male factor infertility or previous low or failed fertilization. ICSI involves using a powerful microscope and an extremely small glass needle to physically inject a single sperm into the center of the woman’s egg.
After egg retrieval, the eggs which are most likely to be successful ICSI candidates are chosen. While holding the egg in place, the glass needle containing the single sperm is inserted into the egg and the sperm is injected directly into the cytoplasm, thereby fertilizing the egg.