Making a baby the traditional way is considered a fairly straightforward process. When it comes to building the modern family, however, the process is a bit more complex. What are the differences between natural and IVF conception? We’ll break it down.
The steps of fertilization in humans always involve the joining of an egg and sperm. In natural conception, the male sperm fertilizes the female egg inside the woman’s body. While many think fertilization occurs in the ovary, it actually takes place in the fallopian tube just outside the ovary.
From there, the fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube. If it successfully implants in the uterus, an embryo can begin to grow.
During the IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) procedure, the beginning of this process is mimicked outside of the body in a lab. Eggs are retrieved from the mother or donor, sperm is collected from the father or donor, and they are artificially fertilized before being transferred into the mother or gestational surrogate.
In both traditional and IVF pregnancies, the fetus starts as an embryo implanting in the uterus. Often, the IVF recipient must take special care after the embryo transfer, getting plenty of rest to be sure the embryo “sticks” to the uterine wall. She may also need to continue use of progesterone for several months to thicken the lining of the uterus, helping it implant and continue to develop. From that point on, an IVF pregnancy will progress just as a traditional pregnancy would.