You might be returning for treatment using your own frozen embryos, from previous cycles, placed back into your womb. This does not need any of the stimulating drugs so is termed an un-stimulated cycle. Using donor eggs or sperm often falls into this un-stimulated cycle pattern so the journey is very similar.
At Boston Place Clinic we believe in making life as easy as possible. We do not insist on a letter of referral from your GP or Specialist to make an appointment although this may be helpful particularly if you have medical problems or a complicated history. We ask that you send or bring any copies of investigations that you have had performed elsewhere as this may prevent repeating some investigations.
You can make an appointment by speaking to someone directly, by fax or letter from your GP or specialist or if you prefer drop us an email with your contact details for an appointment.
To make the best decision about your treatment, your doctor needs the results of some tests. If it is a while since you froze your embryos your Consultant may recommend re-checking the function of your ovaries in case a fresh cycle may be indicated. This can be done by a combination of blood tests and a vaginal ultrasound scan to assess your ovaries.
If you have recently had a successful cycle and are planning to try again with your frozen embryos then an investigation of the cavity of the womb may be indicated to ensure this is normal. This can be done with a procedure called a saline sonogram.
Counselling is available at any stage of your treatment pathway. Fertility treatment is a significant emotional journey for all patients, and counselling provides extra emotional support. It is completely confidential. If you are going to be using donated eggs or sperm for your treatment, then you’ll be recommended to see the counsellor before starting treatment, to discuss the implications for both you and any children that may be born.
You need to attend an appointment with a nurse to sign consent forms, and talk through your particular treatment programme. They will explain all the consent forms that you need to sign, and also show you how to take any drugs you’ll be using during the treatment process. Once all the tests and consent forms are completed, you are ready to start your cycle. If you are having treatment as a couple, both of you will need to attend this appointment to sign the consent form to thaw embryos. If you are funding your own treatment you will need to pay for your treatment programme at this point.
Your treatment will start on Day 1 of your period when you will need to call the clinic. We will then instruct you to start the treatment plan as explained in your Co-ordination appointment. As you’re not undergoing ovarian stimulation, you may or may not have drugs to take in this cycle; this will be agreed with your doctor at your consultation. The drugs are there to help us control your endometrial development, so that we can replace your embryos in the best possible environment at the right time in a ‘medicated cycle’. If you have a regular menstrual cycle, we still monitor you, so we can transfer the embryo(s) at the best point in your ‘natural cycle’.
We’ll monitor your cycle through visits to the clinic for scans and possibly blood tests, or through home ovulation kits. The timings are different for everyone, because treatment is tailored to suit each patient individually.
Your embryos will be carefully thawed for implantation. Over 95% of our embryos survive the thawing process. We will thaw the number of embryos required for transfer generally on the morning of transfer. It is possible to thaw further embryos if one or more does not survive this thaw.
Shortly after egg collection, you may start taking drugs that help prepare your uterus lining to receive an embryo (this is known as Luteal Phase Support).
Optional advanced treatment – Endometrial Scratch
A further procedure which may help with the implantation of an embryo. This is carried out before the egg collection phase. Learn more: Endometrial Scratch
The procedure can feel like a smear test, but it takes longer: around 15 minutes. A tiny drop of culture medium containing one or two embryos is carefully deposited in the uterus using a thin catheter.
We appreciate how difficult this ‘two-week’ wait can be. Please call us at anytime if you are concerned – no worry is too small. It’s a good idea to make plans for after embryo transfer, to help you feel more in control: try to live life as normally as possible.
The UK average success rate for an IVF treatment cycle is around 30%. The treatment journey can be made up of a number of cycles and frozen embryo transfers. The good news is that these will add up; the more cycles you go through, the greater your chances of success.
Around 11 days after transfer (if blastocysts were transferred) you will need to take a pregnancy test.
If you’re pregnant, we schedule a scan in the clinic at around 6-8 weeks. If everything looks OK, you’re discharged to your GP.
If your period arrives before the test is due, or the test is negative, rest assured you are not alone.
We can meet to talk, review your treatment, and consider what the next step will be on your IVF journey. IVF conception often takes place over a number of cycles. You could be ready for a new cycle within a short time, even a couple of months if you have further frozen embryos.