If you have never visited a fertility clinic and are wondering what the experience is like, don’t worry – this video will walk you through the first steps into the fertility clinic and give you peeks into what happens in each room. You even see what goes on in an embryology lab and how they safely handle, fertilize and store embryos. Join us on this virtual fertility clinic and embryology laboratory tour!
Initial Consultation Visit
It’s here in the doctor’s office where the conversation about treatment options will typically take place. Prior to determining which treatment option to move forward with, the doctor gains a greater understanding of their patient’s situation via an initial evaluation or an initial consultation. Here doctors get to know their patients, their medical history, and their family building goals. Our members get to know their doctors and the clinical staff as well.
The initial evaluation usually also involves some bloodwork at the phlebotomy room [pictured in the video], and an ultrasound. This ultrasound and blood work can give the doctor significant information about our members reproductive health, and from there a diagnosis and plan of action can be quickly determined.
For those doing IVF, they come into the office multiple times throughout their treatment. In a two week stimulation cycle, a member might come into the office four to eight times for morning monitoring. This will include a pelvic ultrasound in the exam room, and more blood work. Members are also taking action at home. It could be as simple as taking oral medications and supplements for treatment like timed intercourse, or intrauterine insemination, which is also called IUI. Or when the treatment is IVF, members are self administering injectable medications two times a day for a couple of weeks. These injectable medications are the hormones that allow doctors to retrieve multiple eggs in an IVF cycle.
Collection Room for Sperm Sample Collection
While men contribute equally to infertility, when it comes to fertility treatment, they provide just one thing: a semen sample, usually early during the evaluation phase and then again later when it’s time to fertilize the eggs. They do so in the collection room. This room is often located next to the Andrology lab which you see here. Here sperm is cleaned, tested or prepared for fertilization. The Andrology lab also contains tanks for storing frozen sperm.
Other Areas of the Fertility Clinic
There are a few other areas of the fertility clinic that our members may utilize along their journey. Many of today’s best clinics have in house psych services, and these are typically available to many patients. But all patients who utilize third party reproductive services (donor eggs and sperm) and traditional surrogacy tend to require a psychological exam. Clinics may have a health and nutrition expert who can assist patients who had been recommended diet and exercise along their treatment.
For those doing IVF, it all leads to a surgical procedure called the egg retrieval, which typically takes place in the fertility clinic’s operating room. One part of the fertility clinic that makes a huge impact is one that patients rarely ever get to see is the embryology lab.
Embryology Lab Tour
An embryology lab is responsible for the safe handling of eggs, sperm and embryos. Our labs take every precaution to ensure that everything is properly labeled and that mistakes do not happen.
We have the space in the incubator labeled with two unique identifiers for the patient and the partner and on the inside again, so the shelf and the place in the incubator is labeled with the patient. A second embryologist is always a double check. Watch the video to see expert embryologists at work, and see the procedures and safeguards in the lab, which the public rarely sees. [Video below begins at 4:48]
Support for Progyny Members
As you can see, there is a lot that goes into fertility treatment. At Progyny, we ensure that no member is going through this process alone. They have support from the great clinics in our network, and they have one on one support from us at Progyny through our patient care advocates. If you are a member with further questions, feel free to reach out to your dedicated patient care advocate or contact us.