IVF requires the coordinated efforts of not just doctors, nurses and embryologists, but also the couple themselves. Expectations are often very high, which contributes to the couple’s stress and anxiety. Concerns of this nature can adversely affect treatment outcomes.
Our simplification of IVF is important to shield you from the complexities of the programme, so as not to add to the pressures you might already feel. Simplifying IVF also improves efficiency and also reduces the risk of communication errors.
The IVF process allows us to nurture the embryos we believe will have the greatest chance of becoming a healthy baby. At TFC, the entire IVF process is designed to enhance factors that will contribute to a successful pregnancy while minimising those that do not.
The IVF programme at TFC is divided into 4 phases:
The ‘Preparation’ period usually takes about a month. The first consultation is usually scheduled between cycle days 2-4 to assess the clinical situation and to allow final discussions and fine-tuning before embarking on the programme.
A course of oral contraceptive pills (OCP) is usually prescribed to ensure hormonal stability as well as to facilitate scheduling of the IVF programme. Phase 0 may be omitted if certain conditions are fulfilled and couples can go straight into Phase 1.
This is the ‘Egg Growth’ stage. You return on day 2 or 3 of the cycle following the course of OCPs to ensure that all is ready to go before commencing hormone treatment. Daily injections of hormones are used to stimulate the growth of about 10 eggs. Injections have been made simple enough with pen injectors so that many patients are able to self-inject. Blood tests are rarely needed as you are assigned an IVF clinician who will perform all your scans and procedures. Phase 1 typically takes 10 to 14 days and ends when enough eggs are fully grown.
The ‘Procedures’ stage. The first procedure is egg extraction or Oocyte Pick-up (OPU). OPU is typically a 10- to 20-minute procedure performed under a mild, short-acting anaesthetic.
You are usually well enough to go home after two hours. The eggs in the meantime will be combined with your husband’s sperm in the laboratory. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), where individual sperms are injected to each egg, is performed if the sperm count is very low. Otherwise, the sperm and egg are allowed to fertilise naturally.
The second procedure is Embryo Transfer (ET) where fertilised eggs are cultured for three days after which the ‘best’ two or three embryos are transferred back into your womb in a simple 10-minute procedure.
The ‘Womb Stabilisation’ phase. Various hormones are administered for a two-week spell to keep the womb stable until the pregnancy test.
Want to find out more about the services we provide? Do you have any questions about your particular situation or are you looking to book an appointment with one of our fertility specialists?