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.
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.
We start by using fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries and boost egg production.
Once we’ve stimulated the ovaries, we monitor you or your partner closely to establish exactly the best time to collect the eggs.
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.
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.
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.
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.