A Typical IVF Cycle
If you need IVF you may be wondering what happens. Obviously everyone’s treatment pathway is different, but here’s an overview of what a typical cycle of IVF with us entails.
The first step
We know how daunting it can be if you need help to have a baby. But we want you to feel as welcome as possible and our aim is always to put you at ease from the moment you first visit us. So why not come and meet us? You can call our team to arrange an informal, free 'one-to-one' session. You can find out more about us and how we can help you. Feel free to ask any questions you have, no matter how strange or silly you think they are – we’re here to put your mind at rest.
You can also request one of our brochures by clicking here or by calling us on 0161 300 2730.
If you decide you want to have fertility treatment with us, there are a number of ways you can refer yourself – click here for our self-referral online form.
Once we have your referral we will make an appointment for you to meet with one of our fertility specialists. We will discuss your medical history, that of your partner, and identify the best treatment to suit your needs.
It could be IVF, or IVF in conjunction with ICSI – where a single sperm is injected directly into the egg to fertilise it. This is done where the cause of infertility lies with the male partner. We will also discuss any tests and screening which we may need to do as part of your IVF cycle, including semen analysis testing. Please feel free to ask any questions you have if you’re not sure about any part of your treatment.
Ovarian Stimulation and monitoring
Once your IVF cycle begins, the first stage is to stimulate your ovaries to produce more mature eggs than usual.
This is done through a course of drugs, which you self administer via injection at certain times.
Throughout this stage you will be carefully monitored by our team to ensure that the risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) is minimised – this is when the ovaries produce too many eggs.
There are different medications, doses and protocols. No two women are the same and we will tailor your protocol depending on your requirements and response to the medications.
Once our team has identified that your eggs are ready for collection, you will come to the clinic and undergo the egg retrieval procedure. This is a performed under sedation so that you will be completely comfortable. We always have a consultant anaesthetist to look after you while you are being sedated.
During the procedure a fine needle is passed into the ovaries to retrieve the eggs. Once your eggs are retrieved they are passed straight to our embryology team for checking. We’ll be able to tell you how many eggs you have available for your IVF cycle. You’ll be able to go home a few hours after the procedure.
At the same time, your partner provides us with a sperm sample. Dependent upon your individual treatment needs, this sperm may either be used traditionally where the sperm is mixed with your egg, or in an Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) procedure, where one single healthy sperm is chosen by our embryologist and injected directly into the egg.
Once your eggs have been mixed with your partner’s sperm, or have been injected with single sperms via an ICSI procedure, they are then transferred to special incubators in our laboratory to grow and develop. If the eggs successfully fertilise they are now called embryos, and our embryologists carefully monitor their growth.
The embryos are left to grow in the incubator. The embryologists will decide with you when we should transfer the embryos. This depends on the number and quality of your embryos. We may leave your embryos to develop for five days, and then they are called Blastocysts. If Blastocyst culture and transfer is right for you, it is done at no extra cost.
If you have embryos for transfer, we will arrange for you to come back to the clinic to undergo the procedure to place them back into your uterus, where we hope they will grow as in a natural pregnancy.
We use a new culture medium called EmbryoGlue which is designed to help embryos adhere to your uterus when transferred back.
Embryo transfer is usually a simple procedure and you will be able to go home soon after. You do not need an anaesthetic and the process is a bit like having a smear. Normally your partner/ supporter would come with you.
If you have good quality embryos we may be able to freeze some for future use. We may either transfer just one embryo – this is known as Single Embryo Transfer and is aimed at reducing the risk of multiple births – or dependent upon your age and medical history, we may decide that transferring two embryos is the right choice for you. We will always discuss this fully with you.
Around two weeks after your embryo transfer, you will be able to take a home pregnancy test. If the test is positive, we will arrange for you to come in and undergo an ultrasound scan at around seven weeks, to see how the embryo is developing and if there is a heartbeat. If all looks well, we then pass all the information to your GP and your care continues from there.
Of course we always want to know how things are going – so please keep in touch with us! We love hearing about our patients’ pregnancies and sharing in the happy news when your baby is born.
If the test is negative, you may either repeat the test a few days later – sometimes pregnancy hormones aren’t strong enough to show in the test if it’s done too early – or it could be that IVF hasn’t been successful on this occasion.
If this is the case please be assured that we’re here to provide you and your partner with all the help and support you need. As a team we all understand it can be disappointing and frustrating, and we share this with you when treatment doesn’t go as we all hope.
You’ll be offered counselling with our experienced team, and we then arrange for you to see one of our fertility specialists to discuss the next steps.
Want to find out the cost of your fertility treatment?
Try our simple online Cost Calculator now
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We were lucky enough for it to work at the first try.See more Katie and Yvette