Prior to Treatment

Prior to Treatment

Preliminary tests and screening

All our patients are fully assessed through our Fertility Assessment packages prior to commencing treatment. After a full review our Fertility Specialist will recommend a programme of treatment, based on your personal results and circumstances.

Fertility Assessment Packages

Treatment


Counselling

Counselling

Counselling is always available at any stage of your treatment pathway. Fertility treatment is a significant emotional journey for all patients, and counselling provides extra emotional support. It is completely confidential. If you are going to be using donated eggs or sperm for your treatment, then you’ll be required to see the counsellor before starting treatment, to discuss the implications for all concerned and any children that may be born.

Counselling


Consents and Planning

Consents and Planning

You need to attend an appointment (Pre Treatment Appointment) with a nurse or doctor to sign consent forms, and talk through your particular treatment programme. They will explain all the consent forms that you need to sign, and also show you how to take any drugs you’ll be using during the treatment process. Once all the tests and consent forms are completed, you are ready to start your IVF cycle. If you are having treatment as a couple, both of you will need to attend this appointment to sign the consent forms.

Consent Appointment


Starting Treatment

Starting Treatment

Your treatment will start on Day 1 of your period when you will need to call the clinic. We will then instruct you to start the treatment plan as explained in your Pre Treatment Appointment. Often you will take drugs to regulate your cycle; this gives the clinic the ability to manage when you ovulate.


Ovarian Stimulation and Monitoring

Ovarian Stimulation and Monitoring

In general, treatment starts with the administration of hormones that stimulate your ovaries. This enables us to collect a number of eggs for insemination, rather than the usual one. The hormones are administered by injections that can be taken at home – you’ll be shown how to do this.

Over a period of around 2 weeks of stimulation, you’re likely to have 1-3 scans, and possibly blood tests, to monitor the development of the egg producing follicles. These are short appointments that last around 20mins. The timings are different for everyone, because treatment is tailored to suit each patient individually.

Once your follicles are ready, the stimulation period ends with an injection that matures the eggs in the follicles, ready for egg collection.


Egg Collection

Egg Collection

The appointment to collect the eggs will take place 36-40 hours after the trigger injection. The procedure takes about half an hour, and you will be given sedation to make you sleepy during the procedure. With the help of a scan probe, a very fine needle is passed through the vaginal wall and into the ovary to collect the eggs. Usually, around 80% of follicles contain an egg. You can go home the same day, after a short rest at the clinic. You’ll need to ensure your partner or someone else is able to take you home; you mustn’t drive for the rest of the day, because of the sedation.


Providing Sperm

Providing Sperm

If your treatment uses a fresh sperm sample, it will be provided on the same day as the eggs. Your partner provides the sample at the clinic, in one of our andrology (men’s) rooms. If you’re providing the sample via a surgical procedure, this will take place before the egg collection day, and the sample will be be frozen.

If you already have sperm in storage, or have been matched to a sperm donor, the sample will be thawed on the same day that the eggs are collected.


Insemination of the Eggs

Insemination of the Eggs

The sperm sample provided is prepared to ensure that the very best sperm are being used for insemination.
In Vitro Fertilisation Cycle – prepared sperm will be added to the eggs in a culture dish.
or
Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection Cycle – a single sperm will be selected and injected into each egg, then put into a culture dish.

IVF/ICSI page


Embryology

Embryology

Development monitoring

The embryos are carefully monitored in the period after insemination: first to check for fertilisation, then for signs for development which indicate the embryo is growing.  The embryos are graded as they develop and the monitoring can continue for up to 6 days after egg collection.  You will be informed by the embryologist on a daily basis on the progress of your embryos.

The decision about when to transfer of your embryos will depend on the number and quality of your embryos.

Optional Advanced Treatments

Time-lapse Monitoring

Time-lapse monitoring provides very intensive observation of embryo development

Genetic Screening

Genetic screening (PGD/PGS) detects possible genetic diseases, and can assess embryos for probability of pregnancy success.


Embryo Transfer

Embryo Transfer

The procedure can feel like a smear test, but it takes longer: around 15 minutes. A tiny drop of culture medium containing one or two embryos is carefully deposited in the uterus using a thin catheter.

If you decided before treatment to store any further good quality embryos for further cycles, you’ll be consulted again, and it will happen at this stage.


The Wait

The Wait

We appreciate how difficult this ‘two-week’ wait can be. Please call us at anytime if you are concerned – no worry is too small. It’s a good idea to make plans for after embryo transfer, to help you feel more in control: try to live life as normally as possible.


Outcome

Outcome

The UK average success rate for an IVF treatment cycle is around 30%. Much higher success rates are often experienced but of course these are dependant on individual factors. You should always ensure you are informed of your personal chances of success using the specific treatment that has been recommended to you.

Outcome

Positive Test

If you’re pregnant, we schedule a scan in the clinic at around 7 weeks. If everything looks OK, you’re discharged to your GP and it is important that you continue all medication until told otherwise.

Negative Test

If your period arrives before the test is due, or the test is negative, rest assured you are not alone.

We can meet to talk, review your treatment, and consider what the next step will be on your IVF journey. IVF conception often takes place over a number of cycles. You could be ready for a new cycle within a short time, even a couple of months if you have frozen embryos.