Many causes of infertility can be successfully treated with IVF – male infertility, tubal damage, endometriosis, ovulation problems, and unexplained infertility.
IVF treatment creates the optimal conditions required to give eggs and sperm the highest chance of getting together to create a pregnancy.
- First, medication is taken to increase the number of eggs available - this is called ovarian stimulation protocols.
- Next, the eggs are removed, during a process called egg collection.
- When IVF includes having the sperm injected directly into the egg, it is called ICSI.
- The embryologist then selects the embryo which they consider has the best chance of pregnancy, to be transferred into the uterus. This is called Embryo Transfer.
- Other good quality embryos can be frozen for another chance of pregnancy.
- More info about the pregnancy test/results here.
- Useful Treatment FAQ's page here.
IVF typically makes 6-10 eggs available, younger women have a 40-50% chance of having a baby from a single treatment. This is double the chance of pregnancy that couples with normal fertility have per month.
While most people think about IVF one cycle at a time, the overall chance of having a child depends on the number of cycles you are prepared to undergo.
IVF treatment has some risks and common side effects during treatment.
Technology you may want to consider with IVF:
- IMSI: When there is significant male infertility, the embryologist injects a sperm into each egg using a technique called ICSI. IMSI is a variation of ICSI using high magnification. More
- PGT-A: checks the number of chromosomes in each blastocyst. More
- PGT-M: to select and transfer embryos free of a known genetic condition. More
- Time-Lapse: Photographs embryos every 10 minutes to capture developmental milestones in the embryo’s life that are missed when embryos are only inspected once a day. More
- Endometrial Receptivity Assay – ERA is a method whereby the endometrium may be checked to determine whether the date of embryo transfer may need to be adjusted to match the woman’s own window for implantation. More
- Assisted Hatching: This is an option in IVF or ICSI. A small hole is made in the soft shell of the embryo before it is replaced in the uterus. There is some evidence that assisted hatching can improve pregnancy rates in some groups of IVF patients, mainly those who are older or who have had several IVF cycles without success, or those replacing frozen thawed embryos.
EmbryoGlue - at the Embryo Transfer stage of IVF
The final step of your IVF journey in the clinic is your embryo transfer. At Sunfert, most embryos are transferred in a solution called EmbryoGlue.
We have good evidence that adding some “glue” to the solution that we put the embryos in at the time of transfer results in more babies being born. In 2014, an exhaustive review of 180 studies selected 18 research papers that were of high quality and their results were combined. Most studies are too small alone to show differences in live birth rates, so this review, called a Cochrane Review, was published and found that “glue” in the embryo transfer solution is beneficial.
What is EmbryoGlue?
EmbryoGlue contains a large molecule called hyaluronic acid, which is present throughout the body and its concentration increases in the uterus at the time of implantation.
Twenty years ago researchers asked the question – if hyaluronic acid increases at the time of implantation – what would happen if we added it to embryo transfer media? They first tested this with mouse embryos and found an increase. So the product was brought to patients and, through a LOT of research, we have convincing evidence that the addition of hyaluronan to transfer media improves outcomes.
For this reason, we have been using EmbryoGlue for transfers since 2004 and since then we’ve kept an eye on the research to make sure we were doing the right thing.
While EmbryoGlue isn’t the only change we've made since 2004, the fact that live birth rates increased for 3-5 consecutive years after its introduction supported our decision and is why we continue to use EmbryoGlue today.
Dr Dean Morbeck in the laboratory at Fertility Associates in New Zealand.
Thaw cycle of IVF (Frozen Embryo Transfer)
When there have been embryos frozen following In-Vitro Fertilisation, they can be thawed and transferred into the uterus at a later stage. This usually entails several bloods tests to time ovulation during a natural cycle. In some cases it is necessary to control a cycle using drugs to prepare the uterus for implantation. Embryos are transferred into the uterus at the appropriate time, as they are in an IVF cycle.
Often about 8 to 12 embryos are produced in an IVF cycle. These embryos are further cultured to blastocysts, i.e. Day 5 embryos. Good quality 'spare' embryos or blastocysts can be frozen, and later thawed to give another chance of pregnancy. Freezing and thawing have to be done under special conditions; virtually all of our embryos survive the thawing process, except embryos that are already poor in quality at the time of freezing. When embryos are to be thawed the woman's menstrual cycle is monitored with blood tests and scans to make sure the embryos are replaced at the right time of the menstrual cycle. More.
IVF Problems, Risks and Solutions
IVF treatment is a complex medical and scientific procedure so it is not surprising that unexpected things can sometimes happen even with the best knowledge in the world and lots of experience. If things do not go as well as expected, we will always discuss the options with you before any decision is made. Risks and common side effects during treatment.
Surgical Sperm Retrieval - Mesa, Pesa, Tesa & Tese
These are the various techniques to obtain sperm from the epididymis or testis from men who have no sperm in their ejaculate (azoospermia). If the cause of the azoospermia is an obstruction, then the sperm retrieval procedure is usually simple and can be done under local anaesthetic with sperm being frozen for future use. If the cause is “non-obstructive” then the procedure will be more complex and best results are achieved with microsurgical techniques. More
If you or your partner are concerned about producing a semen sample on the day of IUI or IVF treatment or that you might be away, we can usually freeze a back-up sample. You need to arrange this well in advance so we can see how well your sperm survive freezing and thawing.If you are having IVF with frozen back-up sperm, we suggest you consider using ICSI to maximise the fertilisation rate of the eggs.
Sperm will only be frozen if you request this service and complete a consent form for sperm freezing.