In simple terms IVF (In vitro fertilisation) treatment is when your eggs are collected, mixed with sperm, and once fertilised the embryo(s) are placed back into your uterus to hopefully implant and become a pregnancy.
What are the steps of IVF?
Hormonal drugs are used to stimulate your ovaries to produce a number of eggs and ultrasound scans are used to monitor their development over a week or two. The eggs are collected under sedation using ultrasound guidance.
The eggs are placed in culture dishes before being mixed with your partner’s or donor sperm, which has been suitably prepared. Fertilisation should then occur several hours later and is assessed the morning after egg collection; on average we expect about 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. 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. Pregnancies as a result of IVF continue in the normal way.
What is ICSI?
ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection) allows us to inject a sperm directly into an egg, increasing the chance of successful fertilisation for couples who do not have sufficient good quality sperm for regular IVF. From a patient’s point of view, ICSI is much the same as IVF – it is what happens in the laboratory that differs. Each mature egg is injected with a single sperm under a high-powered microscope, using a fine glass needle. Following the fertilisation check, ICSI embryos are grown in the lab and used in exactly the same manner as those from IVF.
As ICSI is a delicate technique requiring specialist equipment and expertise and takes time, it cost more than straightforward IVF. ICSI pregnancy rates are very similar to those achieved with conventional IVF.
If you have any questions or are not sure what treatment would be best for you, please do not hesitate to get in touch. Our friendly Patient Advisors will be happy to answer any questions you may have, please fill out the form below or call us on 01761 434464.