In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
IVF is a sequence of steps starting with hormone drug treatment to obtain mature eggs which are collected and mixed with sperm in the laboratory. The resulting embryos are transferred to the womb a few days later.
The drug treatment involves the woman having daily injections of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) for around 12 days which stimulates egg development. Most women self-inject using a simple pen device or get their partner to do it. The response to these injections is monitored and the eggs are collected from the ovaries with a needle. This procedure usually takes around half an hour, during which you are sedated. The eggs are then mixed with the sperm, fertilisation occurs and embryos are produced. Usually one or two embryos are put back in the womb, two to five days later. For further information please click here.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
ICSI was developed for couples in whom there is a significant male factor. The woman goes through the same process as for IVF but a single sperm is injected directly into the egg (rather than allowing them to try and fuse naturally). In these circumstances, ICSI improves the chances of fertilisation and hence increases the chances of having embryos to put back in the womb. For further information please click here.