Please fill out the details below to receive more information about our private patient services.
Page 3 of 7
What is In Vitro Fertilisation?
IVF treatment is more complex than artificial insemination. It is used to reproduce the natural fertilisation process that occurs in the woman's body, but in a specialised laboratory. In this way, the patient´s eggs are fertilised in the laboratory using either the sperm from the husband / partner (homologous fertilisation) or donor (heterologous fertilization). After they are collected, the embryos are transferred into the patient´s uterus. It is necessary to go through a cycle of ovarian stimulation to obtain enough eggs and to ensure good embryo transfer.
In what cases is in vitro fertilisation used?
IVF treatments are used primarily in the following cases:
IVF is performed in several steps:
Before starting any treatment, the medical team will examine each couple and their reproductive state, in order to specialise the treatment.
2. Ovarian stimulation
Hormonal drugs (gonadotropin) are given to the patient to induce multiple ovulation (stimulated ovaries produce several mature eggs rather than just one). The patient is monitored using Ultrasound at all times. At this stage, hormone treatment is also given.
3. Removing eggs
The extraction is performed at the fertility clinic with the patient sedated and / or using a local anaesthetic, which allows them to remain conscious throughout the procedure. The total process takes about 30 minutes.
A transvaginal puncture is performed using ultrasound to guide the process, extracting all follicles in order to obtain as many eggs as possible. After a brief rest, the patient is ready to go home.
4. Insemination of eggs
Once obtained, the eggs are catalogued in the laboratory according to maturity. The mature ones are suitable for fertilisation. Simultaneously, the semen sample is obtained, which is prepared with the best and most mobile sperm. After aspiration, the eggs are inseminated with the sperm (a maximum of 3 eggs may be fertilised).
5. In Vitro Cultivation
The sperm and eggs are incubated together for 24 hours and are then evaluated to check whether fertilisation has been successful. This is confirmed by the appearance of 2 pro nuclei. The final objective is to transfer a maximum of 3 of the resulting embryos.
6. Embryo transfer
Once the embryos are cultivated, they are placed in the uterine cavity. This happens between the 2nd and 6th day after extracting the eggs. Most transfers are made into the uterus, which is a simple procedure that takes about 10 minutes, performed without anaesthesia and is very similar to an intrauterine insemination. In some cases the transfer can be made into the fallopian tubes. This procedure also takes place on an outpatient basis. A speculum is used to see the cervix, then the embryos, immersed in a culture, are transferred into a catheter (a long, thin sterile tube). This catheter is gently guided through the cervix and the contents placed in the uterine cavity. After the transfer, the patient is advised to rest and they will then receive further hormone treatment (progestogen) until the pregnancy is confirmed.
We use the frequency of pregnancy occurring after making the embryo transfer as an index to measure results of the treatment,. The probability of pregnancy is very high, between 25% and 35%, meaning that one in four embryo transfers results in pregnancy. These figures may vary depending on several factors, including the age of the patient.
The probability of pregnancy also increases with the number of cycles of treatment undertaken, so that after four cycles of IVF, the cumulative rate of pregnancies may reach 60%.