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IVF Treatment, London

What is IVF?

IVF treatment essentially involves collecting eggs and sperm so that they can be brought together “in vitro” or outside of the body. The technique can be used with donor eggs or sperm and there are also some specialised techniques such as ICSI that can address different types of infertility. However, the basic stages of IVF for most couples will be:

  • Stimulate over-production of mature eggs using medication
  • Collect the eggs with a simple surgical procedure and obtain sperm from the male partner
  • Bring the eggs and sperm together so fertilisation happens in vitro
  • Select the healthiest embryos for transfer
  • Transfer the embryo into the womb when the lining is at its thickest

All of this can take some time, especially during the early stages when we are encouraging as many eggs as possible to mature. You might also need to have multiple cycles of IVF before you get pregnant. You will need to discuss the process and chances of success in detail with your doctor before you begin treatment so that you know what to expect.

Benefits of IVF

The main benefit of IVF treatment is that it can enable couples to conceive even when they aren’t able to get pregnant naturally. The IVF procedure can overcome many different types of fertility problems. It can also enable the use of frozen eggs or sperm and it can be used with donors or surrogates.

However, it is important to have realistic expectations of what IVF can achieve. Many factors can affect the chances of success with IVF, including your age and the reason for your fertility problems. You will need to be patient as fertility treatment can be time-consuming and you should also be prepared for the invasive nature of some of the procedures that will be used.

Who Needs IVF Treatment?

IVF might be a good choice if you haven’t been able to conceive naturally and there is no underlying cause that can be treated (such as a gynaecological condition). The IVF procedure can overcome various fertility issues such as blockages in the fallopian tubes and problems with sperm motility. It can also be used when there is no identifiable cause of infertility.

IVF treatment could be the right option for you if your fertility problems are linked to:

  • Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes
  • Endometriosis
  • Fibroids
  • Ovulation disorders
  • Low sperm count
  • Poor sperm motility or function
  • Older couples who are having trouble conceiving naturally

It is also possible to use IVF to try to overcome unexplained fertility issues or if you need to use frozen eggs, sperm or embryos.

Some couples may be eligible for NHS funded IVF in UK clinics, but there are restrictions on who can have IVF and how many cycles will be funded. However, you can still have private IVF treatment or arrange IVF abroad even if you’re not eligible for NHS fertility treatment. The first step is to talk to a fertility specialist so that you can get personalised advice and fertility testing if you haven’t already had it. If the doctor believes that IVF is right for you, then you can begin the treatment.

How to Prepare?

You will need to have various tests before you start fertility treatment. The results will reveal whether IVF is the right approach for you. You might have some or all of the following tests to determine whether IVF is possible using your own sperm and eggs:

  • Ovarian reserve testing
  • Semen analysis
  • Ultrasound scan or other uterine exams
  • Screening for STIs

As well as having tests to prepare for IVF, you will also need to learn more about the treatment so that you can make the right choices about your care. It is important for you to have a clear understanding of the risks and benefits of the procedure and to know what to expect from the treatment. Depending on your circumstances, you may also need to consider how many embryos should be transferred during each cycle, what you want to do with any remaining embryos after the treatment, and whether you want to use donor eggs, donor sperm or a surrogate.

Risks Involved

IVF treatment is generally very safe, but there are always some risks involved with any medical treatment. Most of the risks apply to women who are having IVF as they will need to take medication and undergo more invasive procedures. The risk of complications is low, but can include:

  • Side effects from the medication used to control ovulation
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which can cause painful swelling of the ovaries and symptoms such as nausea and bloating
  • Complications such as bleeding, infections or damage to the internal organs when the eggs are retrieved

Sometimes it is also necessary to retrieve the sperm directly from the testes, which means that there will also be a small risk of complications such as infections for men having IVF.

Pregnancies that are conceived through IVF can also be at higher risk of:

  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Ectopic pregnancy, which means the pregnancy will not be viable
  • Multiple births, especially if more than one embryo is transferred into the womb
  • Miscarriage and birth defects are more common for older parents, whether the pregnancy was conceived naturally or through IVF

One of the biggest risks that you need to be aware of is that IVF treatment won’t always be successful. You will be investing your time and money in a treatment that might not work. The process can be stressful so it is essential to ensure that you have plenty of support while you’re undergoing fertility treatment.

Result

Each cycle of IVF will take between two and three weeks to complete. You will then need to wait a couple of weeks after the embryo transfer before you can take a pregnancy test to find out the results. If you are pregnant then you will need to see your GP or make an appointment with a midwife or obstetrician to begin your antenatal care. If the test is negative then you will need to decide when and if you want to have another cycle of IVF.

The chances of success with IVF depend on many different factors. You will get personalised advice on your chances of conceiving with IVF from your fertility specialist, but it will usually depend on:

  • Your age. The chances of conceiving with your own eggs are much lower for women over the age of 40, even with IVF.
  • The reason for your infertility, as some conditions such as endometriosis can make it harder for the embryo to implant.
  • Whether you’ve been pregnant before. Women who have already had a baby can be more likely to conceive with IVF.
  • Lifestyle factors such as your BMI, diet, and whether you’ve been smoking or drinking alcohol.

If you are having trouble conceiving then we can provide all of the support that you need, from fertility checks through to the embryo transfer. Our specialists have lots of experience investigating and treating fertility problems, so you can rely on us to provide trustworthy, personalised advice on your options. Once we’ve found the best approach for you, we can then arrange private IVF treatment in the UK or enable you to have your IVF abroad. We provide care in Greece, Dubai and Bahrain as well as in London.

If you’re considering IVF in the UK or overseas then get in touch to discuss your options with one of our experienced fertility specialists.

IVF FAQs

IVF stands for in vitro fertilisation. In vitro is a scientific term that literally means in glass. It refers to procedures that are carried out in the lab instead of in the body. During IVF, fertilisation happens when the eggs and sperm are brought together in the lab.

IVF treatment can help to overcome a wide range of different fertility problems, but the chances of success can depend on your age, lifestyle and health. You will have various tests before IVF to determine if it is suitable for you. Both partners will need to have fertility assessments to find out if it is possible to use your own eggs and sperm. The female fertility tests can also check for issues that might prevent an embryo from implanting successfully. Depending on the results, you might want to consider using donor eggs, donor sperm, or a surrogate.

The chances of success with IVF can depend on your reasons for needing fertility treatment, whether additional procedures such as ICSI are required, and the clinic where you have the procedure. Maternal age is the most important factor. The success rate is highest for women under 35, with 29% of IVF treatments resulting in a successful pregnancy. The success rate drops to about 23% for women aged 35 to 37 and 15% for those aged between 38 and 39. The chances of success are very low for women over 40 who are using their own eggs. The success rate is approximately 9% for women aged 40 to 42. Less than 3% of IVF treatments will be successful for women over 42.

The best way to maximise the chances of success is to choose an experienced fertility clinic. We can connect you with the best fertility specialists in London or overseas. Lifestyle factors can also affect the chances of success, so it is important to follow your doctor’s advice. You should avoid smoking, alcohol and caffeine. Men should also wear loose underwear to prevent overheating. Eating a healthy diet and trying to avoid stress will also give you the best chances of conceiving when you are having IVF treatment.

IVF treatment is available through the NHS in some parts of the UK, but if you are not eligible for this it is possible to arrange IVF at a private clinic. We can help you to do this in the UK or overseas. We can recommend fertility clinics in Bahrain, Dubai, Greece and Prague.

The costs of private IVF treatment can vary a lot depending on where you have your treatment, which tests and procedures are required, how many cycles of IVF you have, and other factors. One way to keep the costs of fertility treatment down is to travel abroad for IVF. We can help you to find affordable fertility treatment.

IVF treatment is very safe, but there are some risks involved. The medication that is used to stimulate ovulation can sometimes cause side effects or a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. The egg retrieval procedure also carries a small risk of complications such as infection. Pregnancies conceived using IVF also have a slightly increased risk of premature birth or low birth weight.

Fertility treatment can be time-consuming as you will need to have various tests and fertility checks before the procedure. It will then be necessary to take medication for a while to control the ovulation process. A single cycle of IVF will usually take two to three weeks. You will then need to wait another two weeks to find out the results. If the treatment is not successful, you may then want to have another round of IVF right away or to wait for a while before trying again. Some couples will conceive with just one cycle of IVF, but there are no guarantees that you will get pregnant quickly or that the treatment will be a success.

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