In vitro fertilisation (IVF)

IVF is the most common type of fertility treatment. Fertilisation takes place outside of the body in a clinic laboratory and is suitable for most infertility issues.

During your doctor consultation, we will explain why IVF treatment may be appropriate for you.

Is IVF suitable for me?

In general, IVF is suitable for the following people:

  • Women who may have infertility explained by tubal factors
  • Lesbian couples using donor sperm
  • Single women using donor sperm
  • Men with low sperm counts or who have high numbers of sperm with an abnormal shape or movement.
  • Women who have difficulty with ovulation
  • Older women who are less likely to be successful with less invasive treatments
  • People with unexplained fertility problems, or who have tried other treatments that were unsuccessful

What is the process?

An IVF cycle can be broken down into 6 key stages.

Drug simulation
Once a treatment plan has been set up, you will be given a medication that will suppress your natural menstrual cycle.

In the following days, you will have a baseline pelvic ultrasound scan and may be required to take some hormone blood tests to look at your oestrogen levels.

You will be prescribed some fertility drugs to inject yourself with for around 8-10 days.

These are to stimulate the growth of follicles (sacs that hold an immature egg).
Monitor & egg maturity
During this period, you will be required to go into your clinic every few days to have monitoring scans.

Based on the monitoring, you may be required to increase or decrease the dose of your medication.

Once the eggs have matured to around 20mm in size, you will be required to take a Trigger Injection (medication). The timing is vital – and you will be given a specific time of day to take this.
Egg collection
Around 36 hours after your trigger injection, you will undergo an egg collection at the clinic – this takes less than 30 minutes.

You will be sedated throughout the procedure through a light sedative.

Your doctor will then use a transvaginal ultrasound to guide a needle and aspirate (suck up) the eggs from the follicles.

Around 95% of patients have at least 1 egg collected, with the average being around 8 to 15.

You will recover at the clinic for a few hours before being released home.
Fertilisation & embryology
Your partner will produce a sperm sample for use (or the donor sperm will be prepared).

The semen will be ‘washed’ and the best sperm will be chosen to be placed with individual eggs in culture dishes .

These will be placed in an incubator and fertilisation of the eggs will happen over the next 12 – 24 hours.

Embryologists will monitor these over the next 3-5 days until they form as blastocysts (embryos ready for transfer).
Embryo transfer
The embryologist will select the best looking embryos and you will be required to come back to the clinic.

During the embryo transfer, a thin tube will be passed through your cervix.

Through the tube, the embryo(s) will be transferred with a small about of fluid.

The number of embryos transferred will depend on your treating doctor / clinic – the average is somewhere between 1 and 2.

Quality embryos that were not transferred can be frozen for future use.
Monitoring & pregnancy test
You will start taking progesterone supplements after your egg collection for implantation support. This will last for around 2 weeks.

After around 9-12 days after the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test (Beta HCG blood test) can be conducted.

If the test is positive, you will continue to take the supplements and start with pregnancy scans to monitor the growth.

If the test is negative, you will stop taking the supplements and wait for your period to start.