In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
Who is this for?
In Vitro Fertilisation is typically for couples who are
struggling to conceive and have been diagnosed with unexplained
infertility, women with blocked fallopian tubes or if you have been
unsuccessful with treatments such as IUI and Clomid (an ovulation
What does this treatment involve?
IVF literally means 'fertilisation in glass' giving us the
familiar term 'test tube baby'. Eggs are removed from the ovaries
during the procedure called 'egg collection', and placed together
with the sperm for fertilisation in a laboratory dish. Three to
five days later the embryo is transferred back into the womb
Step by step guide to IVF
Suppressing your monthly cycle
A drug will be administered to help you suppress your monthly
cycle in preparation for the IVF treatment, this helps to create
the perfect 'environment' for the following stages.
Egg stimulation and progress checking
Once the cycle has been successfully suppressed (normally after
around 2 weeks), you will then be given a drug to stimulate the
ovaries to produce follicles which should contain eggs. Progress
will be monitored with regular vaginal ultrasound scans performed
by one of our nurses or the Consultant to ensure you are
successfully reacting to the drug without over or under responding
to the drugs.
Maturing the eggs
Approximately 36 hours prior to egg collection, you will be
asked to administer an injection which helps mature the eggs ready
for egg collection. Each individual produces a different amount of
eggs, but the most important aspect is the quality and not
necessarily the quantity.
Your consultant will perform the intricate process of egg
collection. This is a minor operation and will be carried out under
sedation. Egg collection involves a needle being placed into a
scanning probe which is then inserted into each ovary. It normally
takes approximately 30 minutes to perform this procedure. Your eggs
are then passed to the Embryologist who will prepare them for
As part of this procedure you will meet our Anaesthetist who will
ensure you are in perfect health. After the procedure you may
experience a little bleeding or discomfort, so we advise you to
arrange transport home and recommend you take it easy for the rest
of the day.
After egg collection you will be given progesterone pessaries
which help to prepare the lining of the womb for embryo transfer.
The progesterone should be continued until your pregnancy test is
taken and, if successful, you will be advised to continue with this
treatment until you reach the gestation period of 12 weeks.
Whilst your partner is undertaking egg collection, we will ask
you to provide us with your semen sample. The Embryologist will
then prepare the semen for fertilisation. Please ensure you do not
have sexual intercourse for 3 days prior as this will help the
sperm quality to be as good as possible.
Fertilisation and embryo development
On the morning following egg collection the Embryologist will
assess the eggs for fertilisation and telephone you to let you know
how many have fertilised. Embryo development is monitored daily for
the next two to five days and you will be kept informed during this
time how your embryos are developing.
The Embryologist will also confirm with you when we need you to
return to the clinic for Embryo transfer. At this time we will
discuss the quality of your embryos, the number to be replaced and
whether or not there are any spare embryos of suitable quality to
be frozen. If there are any embryos frozen they can be stored and
replaced in a future treatment cycle.
For women under the age of 40, one or two embryos can be
transferred. If you are 40 or over, a maximum of three can be
Embryos are transferred into the uterus two to five days after
egg collection. It is a simple procedure which generally requires
no special preparation or anaesthetic, and it is a similar
experience to having a cervical smear test. We encourage a very
relaxed approach to embryo transfer and urge you to have your
partner with you throughout the process.
You can perform a pregnancy test at home with a simple test kit
from the chemist fourteen days after embryo transfer. If your
pregnancy test is positive, an ultrasound scan can be performed 4-5
weeks after egg collection for an additional charge. This scan is
to confirm the viability of the foetus and to ensure that the
pregnancy is located correctly within the uterus. A letter will be
sent to your GP to confirm the findings so that arrangements can be
made for your hospital antenatal care.
If your pregnancy test is negative, we will arrange a follow-up
consultation for you, at no extra charge, to review the possible
reasons for the treatment not succeeding. Alternatively, you may
prefer to make an appointment for a follow-up consultation with a
recommended Counsellor or one of our Fertility Nurses.
It is very important that you notify us of any change to your
address or telephone number whilst your embryos are in storage at
the Centre. If we are unable to contact you following the
completion of your consented storage period, we are required by law
to discard your embryos.