Those eggs are then retrieved and fertilised using a prepared sperm sample in order to create embryos. One or two embryos are transferred back into the uterus. The process can be divided into the several phases.
Like anything important in life, good preparation is vital to the success of fertility treatment. At Harley Street Fertility Clinic, we perform a thorough assessment prior to beginning an IVF treatment cycle and depending on the results, advise patients on pre-treatment preparation as indicated.
Ovarian stimulation involves a course of daily injections of a stimulating hormone over a period of seven to ten days. During this period your ovarian response will be closely monitored using ultrasound scans and blood tests.
The egg collection is a minor procedure typically lasting less than 30 minutes. The procedure is performed under mild sedation. On the same morning the male partner produces a semen sample (alternatively frozen or donor sperm can be prepared).
In conventional IVF, as opposed to ICSI, the prepared eggs and sperm are placed together in a culture dish to allow fertilisation to occur. The development of the embryos is monitored either daily, or continuously if time-lapse microscopy (Embryoscope™) is performed, for the next 3 to 6 days.
Depending on the development of the embryos and the patient’s history, embryos are transferred into the patient’s uterus between days 3 and 6.
Before considering any form of treatment, your doctor will perform a thorough assessment of your fertility. This will include ultrasound scans and hormone blood tests for you, as well as a semen analysis and possible further testing for the man. Without accurate information, a doctor cannot suggest the best treatment, nor can they optimise that treatment for your unique situation. Once a treatment plan has been devised, your doctor will advise you on preparing your body for the treatment. This may include further assessment and treatment of your immunological response, your nutrition and your lifestyle. We want you to be in optimum health when trying for a baby.
One of the key factors involved in having successful treatment is embryo implantation, which is a complex process. In order to increase the probability of implantation a relatively new process called endometrial scratch and saline hysterogram is offered to our patients undergoing IVF or ICSI treatment.
Recent research suggests that locally injuring the endometrium (i.e. scratching the uterine lining) causes the uterus to start a ‘repair reaction’, which may increase the chances of embryo implantation. The endometrial scratch is a relatively new procedure and further research is being performed to understand the exact process by which it works. A saline wash is also performed in order to remove any debris from the surface of the endometrium and provide a clean surface for embryo implantation. The best time to have this procedure is 7 to 10 days before your period starts (this is for a 28 day cycle – if your periods are irregular or infrequent, your doctor will advise you on the best time). Please note, this procedure is elective and the cost of this procedure is additional to the IVF treatment cost.
IVF requires a precise course of hormone treatment and patients are required to self-administer their medications. Fertility treatment is also tightly regulated and a patient’s consent to their treatment must be in writing. Hence, all patients must complete consent forms prior to starting treatment. We therefore request patients and their partners to arrange an appointment with a nurse prior to starting treatment in order to be taught how to self-administer their medications and complete the consent forms.