Taking the First Steps Towards IVF – What Are The Options And Success Rates

Almost one in eight couples will seek help for difficulties when trying to conceive. A third of these will need assisted fertility treatments such as In vitro fertilisation or IVF or simpler fertility treatments such as Artificial insemination or IUI; or other fertility treatments that may be appropriate for their circumstances.

Almost two percent of babies born in UK have conceived following an assisted fertility treatment such IVF or artificial insemination or IUI.

Understanding Your Fertility Problems

This journey starts with acknowledging that there might be a problem. When you have tried unsuccessfully for nearly a year then it may be time to consider seeing either your GP or a fertility Specialist.

Bringing yourself together to acknowledge the problem is the biggest hurdle with its own fears and anxieties. Even before thinking of any fertility treatment, it is important that you understand the common causes that might be preventing you from getting pregnant.

Generally, the initial fertility tests are basic and address few of these broad causes of infertility. These are ovarian reserve, ovulation, blockage of fallopian tubes and checking semen analysis for male factor infertility.

A third of tested couples will face difficulties when trying to conceive due to female cause of infertility such as low ovarian reserve, problems with regular ovulation or blockage of fallopian tubes. Another third will have male causes of infertility such as low sperm count or low sperm motility. And, the remaining third are faced with unexplained infertility.

Information on Fertility and IVF Treatments

It is common experience that most patients do not have enough information to understand what might be preventing them from getting pregnant. Also, when faced with such a situation it is not uncommon for couples to delay seeking help from fertility specialist.

This generally happens when there is difficulty in acknowledging existence of the problem, fear of knowing as to what the assessment may bring to light, anxieties around the treatment and whether they will be successful in their journey towards parenthood.

Finding Fertility Treatment

Once you have decided to seek help, the next step will be to choose a fertility clinic that best meets your requirements. You may also consider seeing your GP to explore availability of NHS funding for the IVF treatment.

Choosing the right fertility clinic is an important decision. Some aspects that you should consider when choosing a fertility clinic are the clinic’s experience related to your problem, what are their IVF or IVF/ICSI success rates, is it conveniently located for multiple visits during the course of the IVF treatment, is it easy to understand the IVF costs, do you enjoy good rapport with the fertility specialist and whether you may receive the continuity of care with your fertility consultant during the IVF treatment.

When going for private fertility treatment, it is important that you understand the IVF costs clearly. You should ask the treating fertility clinic what is included within the cost and procedures that may incur additional costs.

How does IVF Treatment Work?

The IVF treatment involves the use of fertility drugs and injections as we move through different stages of IVF treatment. Some patients will start with ‘downregulation’ fertility drugs to shut down the ovaries.

Following this, you will take stimulation fertility drugs to encourage the development of multiple follicles.  This is part of controlled ovarian stimulation. You are carefully monitor on a regular basis until you are ready for egg collection.

Egg collection is a minor day surgical procedure performed under sedation. Your partner will provide a semen sample on the day of the egg collection. The collected eggs are then inseminated with the carefully prepared sperm sample in a dish containing nutrient fluid.

The dish is then placed in the incubator overnight. The embryos are assessed on a daily basis for their development and grading. You will then undergo embryo transfer few days later when one or two selected embryos are replaced into the womb. You’ll then take a pregnancy test few weeks later.

Once you have decided and booked for your first consultation, you have overcome one of the major hurdles. The initial fertility consultation usually involves discussing all the aspects of IVF treatment. This also gives you an opportunity to develop a rapport with your fertility consultant and the other staff at the clinic.