The 7 Steps of IVF
IVF, or In Vitro Fertilisation, is a procedure used to overcome a range of fertility issues. It sees the egg and sperm joined
together outside the body in our specialised laboratory.”
~ Kimenthra Raja – Director of HART Fertility Clinic & Head Embryologist
The fertilised egg, or embryo, is allowed to grow in a protected environment for three to five days, after which it is transferred into the woman’s uterus, increasing the odds that a pregnancy will result. The procedure, first utilised in 1978, requires the woman’s ovaries to first be stimulated with fertility drugs to produce multiple mature eggs. For many couples battling infertility issues, this gives them the best possible chance of having a baby.
For women who are uncomfortable with fertility drugs, our natural cycle IVF option is a no- or low-stimulation approach. Patients are monitored closely as they approach ovulation, and they may require a so-called “trigger” shot to induce ovulation and “ripen” the egg or eggs. The egg is then retrieved in the same way as for conventional IVF.
IVF is performed in cases where there is a pelvic or tubal problem, where there is unexplained infertility, or following unsuccessful ovulation induction or artificial insemination.
Egg retrieval is performed under anaesthetic in our on-site theatre, and once fertilised, the egg (now an embryo) is reintroduced to the uterus via a small catheter. A pregnancy test can be performed 10 to 12 days later. If it is positive, the foetus will be visible on an ultrasound two weeks later.
Candidates for IVF/ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) we treat are:
- Couples who have failed to conceive via less complicated medical procedures, such as Timed Intercourse and IUI
- Women with tubal problems
- Couples affected by male infertility
- LGBTQ couples using donor eggs and/or sperm
- Women with unexplained infertility
- Women with severe endometriosis
You will need to complete a medical questionnaire and return it to Hart Fertility Clinic by email with all the requested results in order for us to evaluate your fertility history and make treatment recommendations.
We recommend that you start taking the birth control pill one to two months prior to your IVF. This is to streamline the planning of your cycle, giving us a more accurate timeline for your treatment and for your travel purposes. You should take active pills only (no placebo pills). A confirmed treatment plan, with exact dates/timings on when to stop the pill will be sent to you by your coordinator.
You will need to start your fertility injections in Cape Town (and if you are from abroad you will need to stay for 3 weeks). You will therefore need to make make an appointment to see the Doctor at HART Fertility Clinic on the 1st or 2nd day of your period. Your IVF coordinator will assist you with the logistics.
If your medication has been couriered to you (if you are abroad), or you have collected them, and you have started your fertility injections at home, then you will need to make an appointment for your 1st scan with Hart no later than day 8 of your cycle. This appointment will be made and confirmed by your IVF coordinator.
Collection of the Eggs: Once your eggs are ready for collection, you will be given another injection to trigger the ovulation of the matured eggs so they are able to be collected. Approximately 36 hours after receiving this injection that triggers your ovulation, the eggs should be collected. For the eggs to be collected, you will need to be given a mild sedative in addition to a local anesthetic in your vagina. The embryologist will insert a needle through your vagina into your ovary to collect your eggs. Once the eggs are collected, they will be evaluated for maturity and quality in order to decide which are the best choices to fertilise.
Fertilisation At the same time that you are undergoing the above procedure to collect your eggs, your partner (or a sperm donor) will be asked to give a sperm sample. The sperm will need to be evaluated to make sure that they are suitable for fertilisation. Again, should your partner’s sperm not be suitable for fertilisation (or if you are a same sex couple, or a single woman), there is an option for IVF with donor sperm. The egg and sperm are placed in an incubator where they will (hopefully) fertilise.
Transfer of Embryo: The procedure of transferring the embryo into your uterus is painless and a simple procedure that doesn’t take long. You won’t need to receive any type of anaesthesia for this procedure and in some cases may be mildly uncomfortable. About 5 or so days after fertilisation, the embryo is inserted through your vagina, through your cervix, and up into your uterus. You will continue to receive hormone treatments to ensure the best possible conditions for your embryo to implant and begin developing.
Contact us now to book an appointment with one of our specialists who will advise you on the best fertility treatment for you.