In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a well-established assisted reproduction treatment in which an egg is fertilised by sperm within a laboratory to create an embryo. The resulting embryo(s) can then be transferred back into the woman’s uterus where it can implant. Within the laboratory, the fertilisation process can be carried out using a conventional IVF technique or by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
In vitro fertilisation using semen from a male partner is recommended for:
In vitro fertilisation using semen from a donor is recommended for:
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IVI London is committed to delivering highly personalised care combined with cutting-edge treatments to help patients build their families safely and successfully. During your first visit, your consultant will discuss your medical history and advise which fertility treatments will be most effective given your specific circumstances. If you choose in vitro fertilisation (IVF), then we will create a treatment pathway for you which is as follows:
In a normal menstrual cycle, a woman grows a single follicle, producing a single egg (oocyte), each month. During IVF, the ovaries are stimulated to grow more follicles, producing more eggs. The aim of this is so that when the eggs are collected, there will be a higher cumulative chance of successful fertilisation within the laboratory and a higher chance of developing multiple good quality embryos that can be transferred back into the uterus.
Depending on the chosen stimulation protocol, the treatment should take between 10 – 20 days and will require regular visits to the clinic. During this time, you may also be required to take specific medication to help prepare your body for the IVF treatment. Your medical team will indicate which medication is needed and the recommended dosage based on your unique requirements. This often involves a series of daily hormone injections, which are administered at home, to stimulate follicle growth. We track the follicle growth through frequent monitoring ultrasound scans and blood tests to assess serum levels in the blood.
When the follicles have reached an adequate size and number, it is time to schedule the oocyte retrieval procedure, known as an egg collection. The procedure will be timed to take place around 36 hours after an hCG injection is administered, which induces oocyte maturation and triggers ovulation. Your hCG injection is administered at home. Your medical team will provide clear and thorough instructions on how, and when, to administer your hCG injection.
The egg collection takes place in the clinic under light sedation, so you won’t feel any discomfort during the procedure. It lasts approximately 15 minutes.
36 hours after the final hCG trigger injection, you will attend the clinic where you will meet with an anaesthetist who will put you under light sedation. Once you are sedated, the oocytes are retrieved using a tiny needle, which passes through the walls of the vagina and aspirates the fluid along with any oocytes from the follicles. The fluid is immediately examined by an embryologist who will separate the oocytes (eggs) and assess how many were able to be collected. You will then be allowed to rest in your own private room, where your medical team will monitor you carefully and provide hot drinks and other refreshments. Once you have fully recovered, you will meet with your consultant to discuss the results and next steps. Afterwards, you can be discharged. For most of our patients, this entire process takes no longer than a couple of hours.
Once the oocytes and the spermatozoa (obtained from a semen sample from a male partner or donor) have been collected, fertilisation of the ova can begin.
The insemination process can be performed via conventional IVF, which involves placing an oocyte surrounded by spermatozoa in a culture plate, or via an intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), which involves depositing a live spermatozoon directly into the oocyte using a pipette.
The fertilised eggs are closely monitored in the laboratory as they begin to develop into embryos. In the following days, our embryologists will be able to grade the embryos based on their embryonic development, according to their morphology and ability to divide. Some embryos can become blocked in their development and will not be able to be transferred back into the uterus, as they will be considered non-viable.
The stage where embryos are graded is an extremely important part in the IVF process, and it plays an integral part in the success of the treatment and the birth of a healthy baby. The grading of an embryo corresponds with the probability it will be able to implant. All IVI clinics are equipped with the most advanced clinical embryology technology available, allowing our embryology teams to make the embryo selection accurately and continue to improve implantation and birth rates.
An embryo transfer procedure involves placing an embryo into the uterus using a narrow catheter. The procedure is simple, quick and painless and is carried out in the clinic.
In some cases, there are extra embryos remaining after an IVF procedure has taken place. Good quality embryos can be vitrified and preserved for a later cycle, removing the need to undergo ovarian stimulation and another egg collection.