IVF is the most well-known fertility treatment and can be recommended for couples having difficulty conceiving, for single-ladies and for same-sex couples all wanting to have a family.
A typical IVF cycle can be broken down into the following phases:
The female undergoes a treatment cycle where her own menstrual cycle is suppressed. Once this has been achieved the ovaries are then stimulated with gonadotrophin drugs to produce several eggs.
2. Egg retrieval
When the follicles in which the eggs are contained reach maturity, an injection will be given to allow the follicles to release the eggs. This is all timed accurately so that the eggs can be collected (usually under sedation or light general anaesthetic) using ultrasound guidance.
3. Fertilisation and culture
Once the eggs are retrieved they will be fertilised with a prepared sperm sample from the partner or sperm donor and incubated over night. The clinic will culture fertilised eggs (embryos) for several days depending on their development.
4. Embryo transfer and freezing
An appointment will be given to you to attend for the embryo transfer, usually on days two or three or days five or six after egg collection. Any embryos remaining in culture that are of suitable quality will be frozen (cryopreserved using vitrification) provided we receive your consent.
5. Pregnancy test
A pregnancy test will be carried out 11 to 14 days after embryo transfer; depending on which day the embryos were transferred. If your test is positive an early pregnancy scan will be carried out vaginally when you are between six and seven weeks pregnant. This is to check for an on-going pregnancy by checking the growth of the foetus and the heartbeat.
Time will have been spent with you before treatment starts to make certain that the risks and side effects of IVF are fully discussed and required consent forms are signed and fully understood.
Our specialist nursing team is largely responsible for your day-to-day care during this time.
We have a responsibility to help you understand the risks related to multiple pregnancies and there will be certain situations where we will recommend the transfer of one embryo - this is dependent on age and a combination of other factors. Our gold standard is one live healthy baby.
Support through fertility treatment
Each person has a unique reaction to fertility treatment and their journey. It can be an emotional roller coaster and you may have feelings that range from disappointment and frustration to hope and excitement. It’s understandable but these feelings can be unpredictable and upsetting, and can cause tension in relationships. We are here to support you throughout your journey. Our team are trained and experienced in providing emotional support and we have specialist fertility counsellors who can work with you.