In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF) Treatment
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure where eggs are removed from the ovaries and fertilised in the laboratory with sperm. Although IVF is the most well-known and successful fertility treatment, there is a range of possible fertility options available at Waterstone Clinic, depending on your situation.
If you are trying for a baby without success, are single, or are in a same-sex couple, your fertility journey will start with basic fertility testing and a discussion with a fertility specialist. A few simple tests (blood tests for women and a semen analysis for a male partner) and an ultrasound scan will give you a wealth of information about your fertility potential. If you need assistance, we will get you on the right path to build your family.
How Do I Know if IVF is Right For Me?
The only way of knowing if IVF is required for your particular situation is to attend for assessment by a fertility specialist. The recommendations we make will depend on the results of your fertility investigations and your window of opportunity for having children. We might advise you to have IVF treatment straight away or we might plan IVF if you fail to conceive naturally by a certain date. If IVF is required, you will be in the best possible hands.
Will My IVF Treatment Be Successful?
This is the question everyone would like answered. IVF is the most successful fertility treatment, but it can never be guaranteed to work. The chance of success is best for younger patients with higher egg numbers. We will apply our twenty years of IVF experience to your situation and give you a clear and honest evaluation of your chances. We focus on laboratory excellence and evidence-based practice. In that way, we maximise your chance of having a baby.
The IVF Treatment Cycle
There are several stages to an IVF treatment cycle. Normally the average treatment cycle with Waterstone Clinic takes approximately eight weeks from the start of medications until you take a pregnancy test.
In a normal ovulation cycle, just one egg will mature in a cycle. The goal of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle is to stimulate the ovaries to grow a number of follicles and to collect as many mature eggs from the ovaries as possible.
In treatment, there are five main steps to the IVF process:
- Stimulation Phase
- Egg Collection Procedure
- IVF/ICSI Procedures in the Lab
- Embryo Transfer Procedure
- Pregnancy Test
One thing that can cause some stress when people think about IVF treatment is what appointments they will have: how many appointments do you have in IVF treatment, and when they will be. The team will discuss all of these with you in advance.
There are different protocols for IVF, but here are typical times when you will need to attend the clinic:
- Baseline Scan: When you start your next menstrual cycle, you will inform the Clinic, and your treatment plan will start. You’ll have a baseline scan, and you’ll get instructions for your medication. This scan takes about 30 minutes and is important to make sure your body is ready to start.
- Stimulation Scans: During your stimulation phase, you’ll have two or three ultrasound scans to track the development of the follicles in your ovaries. These scans take about 20 minutes. At your last scan, the fertility nurse will let you know when your egg collection procedure will be.
- Egg Collection Procedure: You’ll have your egg collection procedure a few days later. If this falls on a work day, you will need to take this day off as you will receive sedation for the procedure. Your partner will need to attend to provide a semen sample, or if you are using donor sperm, it will be thawed. You will need to be accompanied home after you have the sedation.
- Embryo Transfer Procedure: After the egg collection, the lab will let you know how many eggs were collected and, the following day, how many have fertilised. As the embryos develop in the lab, the team will advise you on which day is the best to transfer on: Day 3, Day 5 or Day 6 (at blastocyst stage). The embryo transfer procedure is short; it just takes about 20 minutes.
When preparing for treatment, it’s a good idea to see your GP to check your general health because you are preparing for pregnancy. Once you know you’ll be starting treatment, there are some practical things you can do to prepare, such as taking your folic acid. In the few weeks before you start, you’ll have pre-cycle consultations, and the team will give you all the information you need and let you know what to expect and what appointments you’ll need.
Most people find the physical part of treatment relatively straightforward, and the most challenging part is waiting to know if the cycle has been successful. It helps to be prepared for that wait and to keep your routine as close to normal as possible. In the lead-up to treatment, ask every question you have, as the team is here to support you so you can be confident and positive starting into your cycle.
Experiences of IVF Treatment
We have been helping our patients to have children for nearly 20 years: over 10,000 babies have been born due to treatments at our Clinic. We know every patient’s story is unique and individual. Our patients often share their stories to inspire others and create a community of support. There are many stories in our Patient Stories section and more on our social media.