In Vitro Maturation (IVM)

Definition - What does In Vitro Maturation (IVM) mean?

In vitro maturation (IVM) occurs when immature eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and matured in a laboratory setting. Once matured, the eggs are fertilized with sperm and the resulting embryos are transferred to a uterus or frozen as part of the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

In conventional IVF treatment, pharmaceutical agents are used to chemically mature eggs in the ovaries before they are retrieved. IVM may be used for women who are at increased risk of ovarian hyperstimulation (OHSS) with the use of conventional IVF drug options used to mature eggs.

FertilitySmarts explains In Vitro Maturation (IVM)

Women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), those under the age of 30, or those who naturally have large numbers of follicles may be especially sensitive to the drugs used to mature eggs (often referred to as a trigger shot). In these women, the ovaries may become hyperstimulated causing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). OHSS can be a serious condition requiring medical attention. Due to the risk of OHSS for some women with conventional IVF treatment, IVM is used as an alternative.

In IVM pharmaceuticals are not used to mature the eggs before retrieval. Instead, immature eggs are collected. Fewer eggs may be collected than in conventional IVF. Because it is not possible to fertilize immature eggs, the retrieved immature eggs are matured in a petri dish that has been placed in an incubator. This process may take 1-2 days and not all eggs retrieved may reach full maturity. Once matured, the eggs can be fertilized by sperm and the resulting embryos can be frozen or transferred to a uterus.

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