In Vitro Fertilisation - Step by Step Procedure

I.V.F or In Vitro Fertilisation is one procedure that is used to overcome fertility issues to give a couple their best chance at having a baby. IVF treatment is coordinated between the fertility doctor, fertility clinic and the couple. Apart from the fertility doctor couples have access to other staff at the fertility clinic including nurses and counsellors.

In Vitro Fertilisation - Step by Step Procedure

The IVF Procedure is relatively simple and is the joining of an egg and sperm in a specialised laboratory - outside the body. The fertilised egg or embryo is allowed to grow for some days in a protected environment before it is placed into the woman's uterus to increase the chances that a full pregnancy will occur. The actual fertilisation process takes a few hours and in this time a number of embryos' can form. Embryo's are usually *grown* for 5 days as they are then more likely to implant into the uterus. Once fertilised the embryos are transferred into the woman's uterus in a procedure similar to a pap smear.

If there is an issue with the husband's sperm the procedure is then carried out by Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) - one sperm is inserted into each egg. An IVF treatment at your fertility clinic usually takes about 6 weeks and the steps involved include

Your first appointment with the fertility doctor - your specialist will review your medical history and any previous investigations and treatments. You and your partner should attend the first appointment together.

Pre treatment consultation - you'll meet with your fertility doctor again to confirm your plan, sign forms and discuss medications you are currently taking

Treatment starts - The fertility doctor will issue any medications needed and will show you how to administer the Follicle Stimulating Hormone injections - it is recommended you both attend this appointment
Hormone stimulation - The Follicle Stimulating Hormone injections are performed via a diabetic style pen that stimulates your ovaries to produce more eggs than normal. There is a higher chance of fertilisation and pregnancy if more eggs can be collected.

Treatment Monitoring - throughout your cycle regular blood tests are used to measure your hormone levels and ultrasounds measure the size and number of your ovarian follicles. This also assists in working out the best time for collecting eggs.

Trigger Injection - egg collection is planned once the optimum number and size of follicles is achieved. You then receive a trigger injection of HCG (Human Chorionic gonatrophin) in the evening with the operation to retrieve the eggs performed 36 - 38 hours later. This injection helps to *trigger* ovulation.

Egg collection - egg collection is performed as day surgery under ultrasound guidance, you will be at the hospital for 4 hours and will need someone to drive you home. You must have the day off work. On the morning of your egg collection, your partner must be able to supply a fresh sperm sample to fertilise your eggs.

Fertilisation of your eggs - your eggs are taken to the laboratory and placed in a culture medium to prepare them for fertilisation later in the day. The sperm and eggs are placed in a dish for fertilisation to occur
Embryo development - your eggs and sperm are placed in an incubator set at 37 degrees (mimicking the temperature of the human body) The next day the fertility doctor will examine the eggs and call you to advise you on the development of the embryos

Transferring the embryos - the transfer of embryos is a simple day surgery procedure and takes place 5 days after the egg collection procedure is similar to having a pap smear.

Pregnancy test - the nurse at the fertility clinic will organise an appointment for you to have a blood test two weeks after the embryo transfer. If the blood tests are positive an ultrasound will be scheduled for 3 weeks later.

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