Your doctor may suggest that you need either IVF (in vitro fertilisation) or ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) treatment. Both treatments allow us to transfer embryo(s) directly in to the womb.
This involves the fertilisation of eggs with sperm in an incubator in the laboratory.
IVF treatment requires more eggs than in a natural cycle so the ovaries are stimulated to increase the number of mature eggs available for fertilisation. The eggs are collected from the ovaries using ultrasound guidance. The sperm from the partner or a donor are specially prepared and mixed with the eggs in the laboratory to allow fertilisation to occur.
After five days in the incubator, one or two of the resulting embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus through the cervix and hopefully they will then develop as they would in a normal pregnancy.
This is particularly applicable to women whose fallopian tubes are absent or damaged. IVF is also appropriate for other fertility problems such as endometriosis, unexplained infertility and male infertility, as well as the egg donation programme.
For a detailed overview of this treatment, follow a typical IVF Journey here.
In conventional IVF at least 100,000 sperm must be placed with each egg to have a realistic chance of achieving fertilisation.
ICSI treatment involves the injection of a single sperm directly into each egg. The treatment leading up to and after ICSI is identical to the conventional IVF cycle.
As only a small number of sperm are required for ICSI, this treatment is appropriate for couples where the man has low numbers of normal, motile sperm and would be unsuitable for treatment with IVF unless donor sperm is used. In addition, because the sperm does not have to penetrate the egg membrane itself, it is also suitable for couples who have had unexplained failure of fertilisation in previous IVF treatment. ICSI is only recommended in cases of proven male factor infertility or when there has been failure to fertilise eggs with IVF.