Conventional IVF Treatment Process

Part of our personal and thorough approach at the Fertility & Gynaecology Academy includes ensuring you understand what is involved in your fertility treatment. The following IVF Treatment Process is a guide to the most common steps of conventional IVF. The treatment you receive will be tailored to your unique circumstances so may vary.

1. Ovarian stimulation

(injecting IVF drugs)

A woman normally produces one egg per cycle. Because not every egg fertilises and not every embryo progresses to implant, for IVF to be effective we need to help you produce a reasonable number of eggs (8-12) through “Controlled Ovarian Stimulation”.

Through different processes tailored to each individual patient’s needs, we prepare you for IVF using two kinds of drugs; one to stimulate your ovaries to produce eggs (FSH ± HMG injections) and the other to stop your pituitary gland from controlling your ovaries, so that you’ll not ovulate before the time for egg collection. Before you start the stimulatory injections we’ll give you a scan and blood test to ensure that you have a good starting point.

2. Monitoring of the drug response

(ultrasound examination and blood tests)

The idea is to harvest as many eggs as possible which entails daily self-injecting for around 10-12 days beforehand. You’ll be monitored and have repeated blood tests to check that everything is progressing well and you are not over-stimulating. Overstimulation happens in a small percentage of women and can be a dangerous condition which is why you need to be completely honest with your consultant about how you are feeling.

3 . Egg maturation

(the final hormone injection)

Just before harvesting you’ll be given a large dose ‘trigger’ injection.

4. Egg collection

(a small procedure with a light anaesthetic)

Under a light anaesthetic, the eggs are harvested. The same day, the eggs will be ‘mixed’ with fresh sperm.

5. Sperm collection

(from the man)

Men need to abstain from sex two to three days prior to sperm collection, but no longer than five.

6. Embryo transfer

(two-five days later, into the uterus)

Some eggs will fertilise over the next couple of days, some will not. Once fertilised, the resulting embryos are checked continuously for growth. Your consultant will decide on the best ones to transfer back into the womb. Usually this is carried out three to five days after egg collection.

7. Embryo freezing

(other embryos frozen for later use)

Embryos that are good quality but not used can be frozen for later use. Embryos may be stored for up to 10 years. Frozen embryos can be as effective as fresh although some will not survive the ‘thawing’ process.

8. Pregnancy test

Taken two weeks after embryo transfer to check if implantation has taken place.