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In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)

IVF involves fertilising a woman’s eggs with sperm in the laboratory, then growing those embryos in an incubator for five days before the best one is selected to be transferred to the woman’s uterus.

This involves daily hormone injections to firstly mature the eggs, then an egg collection procedure under local anaesthetic to remove the eggs from the ovaries.

After transferring the best embryo if there are excess embryos suitable for freezing we will freeze them for use at a later date.

Steps for IVF

The steps involved in an IVF cycle are:

    1. Stimulation of the ovaries with FSH
      Stimulation of the ovaries takes place with daily FSH (follicle stimulation hormone) injections into the fatty tissue under the skin. These injections are given to help to grow the eggs in your ovaries so when it’s time for collection more than the usual one mature egg is available. Your nurse will ensure you feel confident about how to do these injections or can teach your partner if you prefer.
    2. Ultrasound and blood test monitoring
      You will be closely monitored, with blood tests and vaginal ultrasounds to check the development of your ovarian follicles. The size of your follicles and your estrogen levels in your blood determine the best day to have your eggs collected.
    3. Trigger injection
      When your leading follicles are at the optimal size, you will be advised to take your trigger injection at a specific time (usually in the evening), which is 36 hours prior to your egg collection.
      This trigger injection releases the eggs from the lining of the follicle and matures the eggs. Your nurse will advise you when you need to arrive at Lingard Hospital for your egg collection and what preparation you will need.
    4. Collecting the eggs and sperm
      • Egg Collection (OPU)
        Egg collection generally takes place under local anaesthetic with sedation in our minor procedure room.
        The eggs are collected via a fine needle aspiration of the ovaries under ultrasound guidance. Your partner or support person may be in the room with you during this procedure. An egg collection generally takes around 20 -30mins soon after you will be taken back to day surgery for recovery.
        You will have short stay until you have had something to eat and drink then if you are feeling ok you can go home.
        You may opt for a general anaesthetic if you prefer. Your doctor may advise a general anaesthetic if your ultrasound scan has indicated your ovaries may be difficult to access.
      • Sperm collection
        On the same day as egg collection the male partner is required to provide a sperm sample to the lab to fertilise the eggs.
        We have a private collection room on site or if you live within an hour of the clinic your sample may be collected at home and kept warm for transport promptly to us.
        Sperm can be frozen in advance of the day of egg collection if you anticipate difficulties.
    5. Culturing embryos in the lab
      The sperm and egg are brought together in the lab, then placed in our GERI incubation system to grow and divide over the next 5 days. You will have to opportunity to be updated on the development of your embryos by your nurse coordinator, in addition to viewing your embryos on our GROW app.
    6. Embryo transfer
      Five days after egg collection, the best embryo is selected for transfer to the woman’s uterus. The procedure is generally straightforward and is no more uncomfortable than having a pap smear. After a speculum is placed into the vagina, a fine plastic catheter that has been loaded with the embryo is passed through the cervix and into the uterus. The transfer takes place under ultrasound guidance. Usually there is no need for pain relief and you are able to go back to work or resume normal activities straight away.
    7. Embryo freezing
      If you have excess embryos that are suitable for freezing, we will freeze these embryos for use in the future.
    8. Pregnancy test
      Eight days after your embryo transfer, we will arrange for you to have a blood test to determine if you are pregnant. If your pregnancy test is positive, you will have a dating scan at around 8 weeks gestation.