IVF is a treatment in which sperm is used to fertilise the eggs (whether your own or coming from donors). Once the eggs are fertilised (now called embryos) they will remain in an incubator within the laboratory for up to 5 days. The development of these embryos is closely observed by our team and the embryo exhibiting the best characteristics will be transferred back into the uterus. Once this embryo is inside the uterus implantation occurs and the embryo will grow into a foetus and follow the same steps as a natural pregnancy would.
IVF or ICSI?
While the female partner is undergoing the egg retrieval procedure the sperm sample, donor or partner is being prepared for use in IVF.
Any mature eggs retrieved from the procedure are placed in a Petri dish in an incubator in the laboratory, to which the prepared sperm sample is added. These are allowed to culture overnight to allow fertilisation to occur.
In some cases, fertilisation needs to be assisted, for example where sperm quality is poor, so our embryology team will utilise a method known as ICSI, Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection.
The embryologist will select an individual sperm cell and inject it directly into the egg, thus bypassing part of the challenge that sperm cells face to pass through the ‘shell’ of the egg.