What is IVF?
In simple terms IVF is when your eggs are collected, mixed with your partner’s or donor’s sperm, and once fertilised placed back into your uterus to become a normal pregnancy.
What are the steps of IVF?
You will start daily injections of hormonal drugs to stimulate your ovaries to produce a number of eggs. You will be shown how to give yourself the injections by one of our nurses. Over the next 10 – 14 days, ultrasound scans are performed to monitor the development of the egg-containing follicles within the ovaries. Once the scans show the follicles have reached sufficient size a last injection is given to trigger the final ripening of the eggs.
Egg collection takes place 36-38 hours after the final injection. For the egg recovery you will be given sedation whilst the eggs are retrieved using a vaginal ultrasound guided technique in our Procedures Room.
The eggs are carefully identified in the laboratory and placed in culture dishes before being mixed with your partner’s or donor sperm, which has been suitably prepared. In some cases where your partner is not able to produce a sperm sample it is possible to use the surgical sperm retrieval technique which will have taken place previously.
Fertilisation should then occur several hours later and is assessed the morning after the egg collection; on average we expect 50-60% of eggs to fertilise normally. Great care is taken to keep your fertilised eggs (now termed embryos) in optimal conditions for development, with minimal disturbance and careful monitoring of the incubators and culture media they are grown in
The embryos are assessed on the appropriate days after egg collection (see Embryo grading), and one or two of the embryos that are judged best quality are replaced inside your uterus at embryo transfer. This is a simple procedure that requires no sedation. Depending on the quality of your embryos and your age we usually transfer one embryo into your uterus but this will be discussed with you at the time. Any good quality remaining embryos can be frozen and used in future cycles.
You will then have to wait for about two weeks before you can take a pregnancy test. We know that this is stressful time and therefore we offer free counselling if you and/or your partner wish to talk to someone.
To help increase your chances of a successful pregnancy we offer some of the most advanced techniques including time lapse monitoring, assisted hatching and endometrial scratching.
Who is IVF suitable for?
IVF was originally developed to bypass blocked or damaged tubes.
It has also been found to be an effective form of treatment for couples where:
- Where infertility is unexplained
- There may be a mild problem with the sperm
- Where the female partner has endometriosis
- There may be more than one factor causing failure to conceive
Bath Fertility has some of the best success rates in the South West.
We hope you might find the information on an average IVF patient’s pathway useful.