IVF or ‘in-vitro’ treatment means ‘in glass’, which is where the term ‘test tube baby’ originates. This technique involves the collection of eggs from the female which are then fertilised in a closely controlled laboratory by skilled embryologists.
IVF was developed over 30 years ago for the treatment of damaged fallopian tubes in women.
This technique involves the collection of eggs from the female which are then fertilised in a closely controlled laboratory conditions by skilled embryologists. Here the embryos are incubated before the most healthy are chosen to be transferred into the womb. Any remaining embryos can be frozen at this point.
There are a sequence of procedures in IVF referred to as the 'treatment cycle'.
The cycle begins with hormone therapy, used to stimulate the development of several follicles in the ovary (more than would usually develop naturally). These hormone injections are self-administered and the cycle monitored to ensure that ovulation is triggered at the right time.
Once ovulation has been triggered, the eggs are collected and fertilised in a test tube ('in vitro') to create several embryos. . Egg collection is relatively quick and painless, and general anaesthetic is not normally required.
The embryos are carefully checked after two to three days in an incubator when the best one or two are transferred through the vagina to the uterus, where it is hoped that implantation will occur so that pregnancy can begin. This does not always work which is why surplus embryos are kept and frozen.
IVF can be a long emotionally and physically taxing process, for the best chance of success, it’s important that you are healthy before the treatment cycle begins, and that you remain healthy throughout the process.
Cost vary depending on how many cycles you may need and can start at around £3500 for one up to £7500 for 3 cycles.