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Houston Fertility Center

Understanding INVOcell™ and Ovulation Induction

By Sonja Kristiansen, MD on September 29, 2017

A woman's eggMany couples face fertility issues when trying to start a family. Unfortunately, the costs of in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be a barrier for some from seeking fertility treatment. Fortunately, more affordable fertility treatment is available through the safe and effective procedure INVOcell™.

INVOcell™ is a fertility treatment that uses a woman's own body during fertilization and early embryo development, avoiding the need for laboratory incubation and other costs associated with other fertility treatments. Additionally, INVOcell™ treatment doesn't require extensive ovarian stimulation like IVF, further lowering costs and reducing risks. Find out more as we take a closer look at INVOcell™ and ovulation induction in this overview from Houston, TX fertility doctor Sonja Kristiansen.

Understanding Ovulation

Ovulation is a part of a woman's reproductive cycle in which a mature egg is released from the ovary and moves through the fallopian tube where it waits to become fertilized. About once a month, one egg will mature and be released. Throughout this time, the uterus prepares for the possibility of a fertilized egg by thickening its walls. If the egg does not become fertilized, the lining of the uterus will shed, resulting in a woman's menstrual period.

INVOcell™ and Ovulation Induction

Because fertilization can only happen around the time of ovulation, when a mature egg is available, women who plan to undergo fertility treatment, including INVOcell™, will also need to undergo ovulation induction.

Ovulation induction is a process designed to start the ovulation process and stimulate the development of eggs through the use of fertility medications. These medications often stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs during one treatment.

However, with INVOcell treatment, the stimulation requirements for the ovaries are far reduced when compared to traditional IVF treatment. This means less medication and less risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), a condition associated with high levels of hormone medications that can cause the ovaries to become swollen and cause severe abdominal pain.

The INVOcell™ Procedure

The INVOcell™ procedure begins with mild ovarian stimulation using fertility medications. Once ovulation is induced, the mature eggs will be retrieved through a minor procedure. Sperm will need to be collected and ready once the eggs are retrieved so that the eggs and sperm may be placed together in a special device called the intravaginal culture system (ICS).

The ICS device is then placed inside the woman's vaginal cavity and left for three days, giving the sperm time to fertilize the egg and allowing for early embryo development. After three days, the ICS is removed and the embryos are examined for viability. Then one or two of the most viable embryos may be placed into the uterus. Any remaining embryos may be frozen for later use.

Candidates for INVOcell™

Not all couples with fertility issues may be ideal candidates for INVOcell™ and, accordingly, may benefit from alternative fertility treatments. Ideal candidates for INVOcell™ include women who plan to use their own eggs, as well as women who do not have high levels of the anti-müllerian hormone (AMH). Couples considering INVOcell™ should not have severe male-factor infertility issues as this can impact the success of INVOcell™ treatment. 

Is INVOcell™ Right for You?

If you and your partner are struggling to conceive, INVOcell™ may be the right fertility treatment for your needs. To learn more about INVOcell™ or other fertility treatments, please schedule a consultation with one of our fertility specialists today.

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