IVF is not a quick or painless procedure. Once a woman and her partner pass a series of medical exams, she will begin to receive hormone injections. These allow her to produce multiple eggs each month as opposed to one. During this time, her doctor will perform blood tests and ultrasounds to determine when the eggs can be retrieved. If the process is performed too early or too late, then the treatment won't work.
Once the eggs are retrieved — using a minor surgery that takes about 30 minutes — they are immediately mixed with her partner's sperm, which is donated on the same day. The eggs are kept at the clinic and observed until the embryos reach optimal growth, which usually takes a week.
The woman will then return to the clinic, where the embryos will be injected into the uterus. To increase her chances, the doctor will inject four or five embryos at once. Two weeks later, the doctor will perfom an ultrasound to see if procedure was successful.