Multiracial couple playing with their IVF baby

Understanding The Steps Of North Houston IVF

When it comes to IVF treatment at our North Houston fertility clinics in The Woodlands or Kingwood, there are multiple steps involved that many of our patients may or may not be fully aware of. In this article, we will break down each of those steps so you are well-informed about IVF, should you consider undergoing this fertility treatment.

Step 1: Ovarian Stimulation

At the beginning of your IVF treatment, our fertility doctors will administer hormones that stimulate your ovaries to produce more eggs at a time. This enables us to find and fertilize multiple healthy eggs to maximize your chances of getting pregnant.

Step 2: Egg Retrieval

Once you have completed the course of your hormone injections, it’s time to retrieve your eggs through a minor, painless surgery. In this surgery, we use a transvaginal probe that will enable us to pull the eggs. Though you are anesthetized, you may feel some minor cramping afterward, but this can be treated with medication. At this point, we will also collect sperm to fertilize the eggs. At this point, you can opt to freeze your eggs, or continue to step 3.

Step 3: Fertilization

In our very own fertility lab at our North Houston IVF clinics in Kingwood and The Woodlands, we will combine the egg and the sperm (or donor sperm). This concept of fertilizing the egg outside of the body is what we refer to as In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), but IVF is also the name of this entire process.

Step 4: Embryo Development

Once fertilized, we will wait until the day-5 embryo stage, which is also known as the blastocyst stage. At this point, we will either proceed with embryo freezing or move onto the next step.

Step 5: Pre-Implantation Genetic Testing

Although this is optional, we highly recommend undergoing genetic testing, a process in which we can test to find out how genetically healthy the embryo is in order to determine how likely it is that you will deliver a healthy baby.

Step 6: Embryo Transfer

The next step is to ready the body and have it undergo the typical hormonal changes a woman’s body undergoes when she is pregnant. Once ready, we will inject the embryo into the uterus with the help of an abdominal ultrasound. The patient won’t feel any pain when this occurs.

Step 7: Pregnancy Test

10 days following embryo transfer/implantation, you will return to our IVF clinic in North Houston for a blood test to determine if you’re pregnant.

Our IVF Doctors In The Woodlands And Kingwood Are Here To Help You Achieve A Healthy Pregnancy

Infertility is a battle, but we take great pride in helping aspiring parents get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby. We are proud of our high embryo quality rates, so if you’re considering undergoing IVF, please request an appointment so we can assess your fertility and recommend a treatment plan.

Husband and wife holding hands over pregnant belly after successful fertility treatment at our North Houston IVF clinic in the woodlands and Kingwood

Potential Causes Of Infertility And Effective Treatments

Although infertility tends to be associated with women, men are also affected by this. Did you know that 30%-50% of couples experience fertility on the male’s part? This doesn’t mean they’re at fault, though; it simply means that men are more affected than many seem to think. In this article, our North Houston fertility specialists in The Woodlands and Kingwood will discuss potential causes of infertility and some effective treatments that may help mitigate your infertility challenges so you can achieve a healthy pregnancy.

Causes of Infertility in Men

Male infertility usually comes down to four issues with the sperm and/or semen:

  • Low Sperm Count
    • Often, we see men who have a low sperm count, which is defined as less than 15 million
  • Poor Sperm Mobility
    • This cause of infertility occurs when the sperm have a hard time getting to the egg
  • Abnormal Sperm Shape
    • Sperm that is shaped abnormally has a hard time reaching the egg with accuracy and effectiveness
  • Abnormal Semen
    • Semen is the fluid that helps transport the sperm to the egg. If it’s considered abnormal, then this would also result in the sperm struggling to reach the egg. 

You may wonder what actually causes these issues to occur in the first place. There are a few root causes, including:

  • Certain medical conditions
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Certain disorders
  • Genetic factors. 

Other factors could be radiation therapy, anemia, diabetes, alcoholism, and mental stress.

Causes of Infertility in Women

Infertility in women is often caused by issues with ovulation, fallopian tubes, the uterus, or the cervix. If the uterus or fallopian tube are damaged in some way, then the egg will have a hard time traveling from the ovary to the uterus.

What can cause these problems in the first place? Similar to male infertility, there are plenty of possible root causes, including:

  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which typically causes ovulation to not occur at all.
  • Chemo and radiation therapy
  • Anemia
  • Thyroid problems
  • Eating disorders
  • Mental illness
  • Endometriosis, a condition in which the cells that line the uterus grow elsewhere. 

Infertility Treatments At Our IVF Clinic In The Woodlands And Kingwood

The many different causes of infertility may seem worrisome, but the good news is that there is a plethora of effective treatments and alternatives for men and women. At HART Fertility in The Woodlands and Kingwood, we offer several options that may be done in tandem with IVF, such as egg and embryo freezing, donor sperm and donor eggs, ovulation induction, and more! If you have been struggling to get pregnant for at least a year, then please request an appointment with our IVF doctors so you can undergo fertility testing and we can determine which treatment(s) is best for you!

Pregnant woman exercising and living a healthy lifestyle for IVF success

Following A Fertility Boosting Lifestyle During The Holidays

Following a good diet is very helpful when you’re attempting to get pregnant and while you’re sustaining your pregnancy. A fertility-boosting diet may increase your chances of conceiving and delivering a healthy baby, but diets and the holidays don’t always go together as easily. In this article, we will offer some advice on how to follow a healthy lifestyle even during the holidays to maximize your chances of getting pregnant. 

Foods That Intending Parents Should Eat To Improve Their Chances Of Successful North Houston IVF

Those who want to achieve a successful IVF pregnancy at our The Woodlands or Kingwood fertility clinics should increase their consumption of whole grains and Omega-3’s by eating foods like flaxseed, nuts, and fish. Poultry, fruits, and vegetables also improve your overall fertility. Our fertility specialists recommend reducing your consumption of red meat and trans fats, which are found in foods such as margarine, junk food, packaged baked goods, and frying oils, and really anything processed. While you’re improving your eating habits as you prepare to undergo North Houston IVF, it’s also a good idea to take multivitamins that support fertility health and your overall well-being.

Regular Exercise Benefits Both Men and Women Undergoing North Houston Fertility Treatment

If you seek fertility treatment at our clinics in The Woodlands or Kingwood, such as IUI or North Houston IVF, it’s a good idea to add exercise into your daily routine. Regular exercise improves your physical health, mental health, and as a result, your fertility as well. Speak with your general physician to learn about the best way to incorporate exercise so as to boost your fertility. Remember, simple exercises like brisk walking work wonders, and you don't need to spend hours every day doing so, either. 

Our IVF Specialists at HART Fertility Clinic in Kingwood and The Woodlands Support You In Your Fertility Journey During The Holidays

Most importantly, know that a healthy lifestyle with healthy eating and exercise should not be restrictive. At your healthiest, you should make conscious efforts and decisions that affect your health without making the experience unpleasant. The good news is that it’s rather easy to incorporate healthy eating every day. During the holidays, don’t be afraid to enjoy sweets and homemade desserts every now and then, but do make certain that for your breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, you are eating healthy home-cooked meals as much as possible with a healthy helping of all the major food groups. An exercise routine will offer even more help when trying to conceive and will help you establish a healthier lifestyle you can enjoy for years to come. If you believe you may be infertile, please request an appointment with our fertility experts so we can learn more about the root cause and make appropriate recommendations for treatment. We look forward to helping you achieve your dreams of parenthood.

Mother holding baby after successful assisted hatching and north Houston IVF treatment

What To Know About Assisted Hatching With North Houston IVF

At HART Fertility Clinic, we offer a variety of fertility treatments and therapies to those who long to be parents in Kingwood and The Woodlands. Although we specialize in IVF, we offer a number of other treatments that we have achieved success in–some of which are done in tandem with IVF. In this article, we will break down some of the things you need to know about Assisted Hatching.

What Is Assisted Hatching?

First of all, in order to explain assisted hatching, we need to explain how North Houston IVF works.

When undergoing IVF, we will mix eggs and sperm in a lab setting, as opposed to within a woman’s body when natural conception and fertilization occurs. When conception takes place, we will watch the egg until it develops into an embryo. At this point, we can conduct PGT (Preimplantation Genetic Testing) to determine which of the developed embryos is the healthiest one that could lead to a successful pregnancy. Once this is determined, we can implant the embryo right away or freeze it for later use.

Now, once an embryo is developed, it will become surrounded by an outer layer called the zona pellucida, which we compare to a shell. An embryo must “hatch” or break free from this shell so it can be successfully implanted into the uterus. Assisted hatching is a procedure in which our fertility doctors poke a tiny hole into the outer shell with a laser in order to help the embryo break free. Assisted hatching gives the embryo a higher chance of successful implantation.

Can Anyone Benefit From Assisted Hatching

Although helpful in theory, not everyone needs assisted hatching. We usually recommend assisted hatching to patients who are over 37 years old and/or have not had a successful pregnancy with IVF.

Does Assisted Hatching Cause Pregnancy Complications

Though very rare, it is possible for the embryo to become damaged through assisted hatching, but our IVF team in North Houston is as careful as possible during this step. Additionally, some studies suggest that identical twins are more likely when assisted hatching has taken place, and with twins, you must be extra careful throughout your North Houston IVF pregnancy.

Our IVF Doctors In The Woodlands And Kingwood May Recommend Assisted Hatching If You Want To Undergo Fertility Treatment

If you think you might be infertile, you might consider undergoing fertility treatments such as North Houston IVF. If so, we recommend you first request an appointment with us so we can administer fertility testing. This testing helps us determine whether you are, in fact, infertile, and what might be causing it. After assessing your fertility, we will determine if you may benefit from North Houston IVF and assisted hatching.

Pregnant woman holding her belly after successful IVF pregnancy

Egg Versus Embryo Freezing At Our North Houston IVF Clinic

At our North Houston fertility clinic, which is located in Kingwood and The Woodlands, we offer a variety of different fertility treatments and therapies. Among our services, we offer egg freezing as well as embryo freezing. Many of our patients inquire about how these treatments compare, so in this fertility blog, we will explain how both treatments work.

Egg Freezing At Our Kingwood Fertility Clinic

When it comes to egg freezing, we will stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs and then retrieve them. We start this process with hormone injections, which is the same method we utilize with our patients who are undergoing North Houston IVF.

To extract the eggs, we will perform a transvaginal ultrasound-guided needle aspiration. This procedure is painless. Once the eggs have been retrieved, we will immediately dehydrate them and freeze them to be used at a later date. By dehydrating your eggs, we prevent them from destruction due to ice crystals that form from the high water content that women's eggs have.

Embryo Freezing At Our North Houston IVF Clinic

Though embryo freezing is much like egg freezing, these treatments differ in that eggs are retrieved and then frozen until you are ready to get pregnant in the future, at which point you will undergo North Houston IVF to fertilize the egg. Embryo freezing, on the other hand, consists of retrieving the eggs, immediately fertilizing them with sperm through IVF, and then freezing them once an embryo develops.

Which Method Is Better?

In truth, one is not necessarily better than the other. Preference plays a big role in this. Note that it will take several eggs before one embryo is formed, regardless of which method you opt for. Egg freezing allows for more flexibility for a few reasons:

  • You can wait until you meet the right partner
  • If you’re a single woman, you can always opt for donor sperm when you’re ready
  • You can choose not to use frozen eggs and discard them if you get pregnant without them

Embryo freezing has a couple of limitations, but these limitations might be favorable for someone else:

  • You need to fertilize the egg with sperm right away, and many women prefer to use their current partner’s
  • Discarding embryos is a harder decision to make, and many faiths and/or moral beliefs don’t allow this

The Fertility Specialists At Our IVF Clinic In The Woodlands And Kingwood Are Here To Support Your Decision

Whether you decide on freezing your eggs or freezing your embryos, both methods are great ways to preserve your fertility. Regardless of your decision, our IVF doctors are here to support you the entire way, so if you’re planning to make a decision soon, please request an appointment so we can offer some guidance, so you can make the best decision for yourself.