IVF - In vitro fertilisation

Our founder, Simon Fishel, was part of the team that made the very first IVF baby. 

More than 5 million babies have been born with IVF treatment since Simon helped to innovate the procedure in the 70s. It’s one of the most effective and well-known fertility treatments, where an embryo is formed outside of the body and then placed back into the womb.    

Could IVF treatment be right for me?

Most of our patients come to us for IVF treatment, and there can be lots of reasons why we’ll recommend IVF as part of your treatment plan.

You or your partner could have problems with your sperm or eggs, you might be a single woman or same-sex couple, or you could be having trouble starting or growing your family with no clear reason why.

The first step towards finding out whether IVF treatment is right for you is to book a fertility assessment or consultation. Talk to your local clinic or contact us to book an appointment.

IVF is one of the most effective and well-known fertility treatments, where an embryo is formed outside of the body and then placed back into the womb.

What does IVF treatment involve?

Simply, in IVF treatment we fertilise eggs with sperm in our lab. When the embryo or embryos are ready we then transfer them back into the womb of you or your partner to develop.

A typical round of IVF treatment involves several key steps, and you can also take a look at our quick guide to IVF here.

Ovarian stimulation

We start by using fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries and boost egg production.

Monitoring

Once we’ve stimulated the ovaries, we monitor you or your partner closely to establish exactly the best time to collect the eggs.

Egg collection

This simple procedure takes around 30 minutes, and is performed with sedation or local anaesthetic and pain relief. To collect the eggs, we pass a scan probe into the vagina and use ultrasound to guide a needle into one of the ovaries. We then extract eggs from the ovarian follicles; we can usually collect from nearly all of the larger follicles. It’s normal to feel a few twinges during collection, but it isn’t painful. After collection, we’d recommend you or your partner have a short rest before going home.

Fertilisation

Next, we fertilise the eggs with sperm to form embryos. We then grow the embryos in carefully controlled lab conditions until they’re ready to be transferred, at which point we thoroughly assess each one to decide which are most likely to succeed. At this stage, we’ll arrange a time to give you your fertilisation result and let you know when we need to see you again for embryo transfer. If you’re having any additional procedures, such as CAREmaps, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) or pre-implantation genetic screening (PGS), these will take place before transfer.

Embryo transfer

When you come in for transfer, we’ll place your embryo(s) into culture medium and then use a fine catheter to transfer it into the womb of you or your partner. It’s a really short, simple procedure that only takes around 15 minutes, and there’s usually no need for sedation.

Pregnancy test

Around 14 to 16 days after your embryo transfer it’ll be time to take a pregnancy test. If it’s positive, we’ll invite you to come into the clinic 2 to 4 weeks later for an ultrasound scan to check for a heartbeat. If everything’s okay, we’ll discharge you into the care of your GP for antenatal care.

Before, during, and after your treatment we’ll be with you every step of the way with as much support as you need. You can find out more about the ways we support you here or, if you’re interested in our IVF treatment results, take a look at our results page or discover your local clinic.