Your IVF Journey
To help you have a better understanding of what to expect, we have given an outline of each stage of the IVF treatment journey. This is a general outline so please bear in mind that your own individual treatment plan may vary.
If you’d like more information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch
We appreciate that being concerned about fertility can be worrying. As dedicated fertility specialists we see patients from all walks of life with differing problems – those who seek our advice because they have only recently become concerned about their fertility, and those who have had treatments elsewhere and need a fresh view.
As you’d expect, we’ll discuss your medical and surgical history and talk about relevant options that are available to you. If you need further tests or examination, we’ll try to perform it there and then.
We have many different regimes so that we can tailor therapy to your specific needs. In general, the stimulation drugs are administered daily, by injection. Training will be provided by our staff on how to carry this out.
Once collected the eggs are prepared for the next stage by the embryologist.
IVF, where the eggs are mixed with a specially prepared sperm concentration, then moved to an incubator to fertilise;
ICSI (Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection), this highly skilled procedure involves a single prepared sperm being injected directly into the centre of an egg. The inseminated eggs are moved to an incubator to fertilise.
Cleavage: Once the zygote divides into two cells (by the day following fertilisation) embryo development begins. Cleavage is the usual term used to describe the division of cells within the embryo (because for the first five days although the embryo increases in cell number it does not change its mass, but the cells, which get smaller and smaller, are ‘cleaved’ from the original egg mass). Each cell of the embryo has its own developmental programme, so that the embryo might have 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 cells on the day after fertilisation (Day 2). Therefore, the number of cells on Day 2 is not critical to establishing a viable pregnancy. The quality of these embryos is assessed and graded from 1 to 4 (1 being the highest grade and only 1 or 2 being suitable for freezing). This is particularly important when considering the freezing of embryos.
Embryos are transferred to the womb on either Day 2 or Day 3, or at the blastocyst stage (‘blastocyst transfer’) on Day 5 or Day 6. Following pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT-A, PGT-SR or PGT-M) we almost always use blastocyst stage transfer. The embryo transfer procedure is straightforward and is almost always performed without the need for sedation or anaesthesia.
The HPRA only permits the transfer of two embryos except in exceptional circumstances. If three embryos are to be considered for transfer we will need to discuss this very carefully with you and document our reasons for the HPRA.
Soon after transfer a nurse will visit you and explain the next steps, but you will be able to go home soon after.
Pregnancy Test: This is usually taken 14-16 days after embryo transfer. The test results indicate whether or not an embryo has implanted in the womb. It might be very important to repeat this test and you will be given the necessary advice.
If the pregnancy test proves negative, a follow up appointment with your Consultant will be arranged to discuss your future options. Support counselling – can always be arranged.