In-vitro fertilisation (IVF)
Commonly known as IVF, in-vitro fertilisation is one of several techniques designed to help people with fertility issues to conceive. During IVF, sperm is put into the woman’s eggs in a laboratory to produce embryos. In vitro means ‘in glass’, which is why IVF is also sometimes called a ‘test tube baby’ procedure.
- the IVF procedure starts with ‘regulation’ – we temporarily switch off your natural hormone cycle.
- hormone injections are given to encourage your ovaries to produce eggs.
- your eggs are collected when the follicles (the collection of fluid within the ovary) reach the right size, and the uterus lining is thick enough.
- the eggs and sperm, which your partner produced on the day of egg collection, are placed together in a laboratory dish to allow fertilisation and embryo growth to happen.
- the embryo is placed in your uterus – usually on the second, third or the fifth day after egg collection, when the fertilised egg has divided and contains two to eight cells. A day-five transfer is known as blastocyst transfer.
- around 10% of cycles are cancelled before the planned egg collection because:
- there’s an excessive response to stimulation and the risk of hyperstimulation syndrome (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, or OHSS) is substantial.
- the response to ovarian stimulation is poor.
IVF treatment is used in cases of:
- tubal damage
- bilateral salpingectomy (both tubes were surgically removed)
- male infertility
- idiopathic infertility
- immunological infertility
- failure of IUI treatment.