The treatment process
All fertility treatments carried out in our clinics are always based on extensive investigations. During the initial consultation, a doctor who is a fertility specialist, will familiarise himself/herself with your individual case, so that treatment can be tailored to your needs. Therefore, your treatment may differ from the overview of artificial fertilisation below.
The preparation phase
When we have the investigation results, we make a plan and then start treatment. When your next period starts, you should phone or email us, and together we can start further treatment.
To increase your chances of successful fertility treatment, we start with hormone stimulation for the first three days of your period. The follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) promotes growth of the follicle, so more eggs ripen at the same time in the ovaries. Hormone stimulation involves giving yourself an injection each day for 11–13 days depending on the maturation of your eggs. You can inject yourself at home. Our team will teach you how to do this. After about seven days of treatment, the size of the eggs will be checked with an ultrasound scan and your hormone dose may be adjusted if necessary. Furthermore, the scan can show the optimal time of ovulation.
Induction of ovulation mid cycle
If the eggs have grown enough and can be fertilised, the FSH injections and any GnRH-analogue injections will be discontinued. Ovulation is induced with a hCG injection. You give this injection yourself at home as instructed.
Egg retrieval and artificial fertilisation
About 36 hours after ovulation, the ripe eggs can be removed from the ovaries. You will be given a painkiller and later the follicles will be punctured with a fine needle that is inserted through the vagina and the eggs will be removed. After that you will stay in the clinic for a few hours for observation. The eggs that are removed will be fertilised on the same day in our laboratories. To do this, we need a fresh or frozen sperm sample. During IVF, the sperm cells in the medium attempt to penetrate the eggs. We monitor this process in the laboratory and bring any fertilised egg to the incubator where it can continue its development.
Transferring the fertilised egg after artificial fertilisation
If at least one egg has ripened by the day after artificial fertilisation, we arrange a date with you for transfer. We transfer one egg into the womb. A thin, flexible catheter is used for this, and the procedure is not normally painful.
Following artificial fertilisation, we continue to look after you in our clinics. Hormones, in the form of injections of hCG or progesterone, are often given to support the implantation and development of the fertilised egg. You should always do a pregnancy test. If the result is positive, you can arrange an appointment with us for your first ultrasound scan about three weeks later. If the pregnancy test is negative, we will discuss a further plan with you.
When undergoing treatment, you should note the following:
Relax as much as possible
Artificial fertilisation involves lots of waiting, which can be mentally and physically. Nevertheless, try to get on with life as normal, and take some time to do something nice for yourself and your partner.
Sports, swimming and sexual intercourse
It is important to avoid strenuous exercise particularly after the fertilised egg has been transferred, but non-strenuous exercise and normal activities are fine. You should avoid swimming in swimming pools or in the sea the same day as you have an egg transferred because of the risk of infection. There is no contraindication to sexual intercourse, but you should use a condom on the day the egg is transferred to avoid infection.
Continue to take medicine that was prescribed for you. If you need to take any other medicine, tell the doctor that you could be pregnant.