IVF treatment and process

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) can be used to overcome a range of fertility issues and for many couples, gives them the best chance of having a baby.

IVF was originally developed as a way to overcome problems due to blocked (or missing) fallopian tubes. Over the past few decades, IVF has helped many thousands of Queensland couples achieve their dream of having a baby. IVF treatment is now used to overcome many fertility issues including gynaecological conditions, genetic disorders, age-related infertility and unexplained infertility.

At Queensland Fertility Group your treatment will be coordinated by your Fertility Specialist who is supported by an experienced team of nurses, counsellors and scientists. We understand how important having a family is to you, and will provide you with the highest standard of fertility care.

What is In vitro fertilisation (IVF)?

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is a process used to treat a range of fertility issues.

The process involves extracting eggs from a woman's ovaries, and placing them in a culture dish along with sperm, allowing the process of fertilisation to take place outside the body. The fertilised embryos grow in the laboratory over two to five days, before being transferred back into the woman’s uterus, with the goal of developing into a successful pregnancy.

For many couples experiencing pregnancy delay IVF may give them their best chance of having a baby.

Why IVF treatment might be needed?

There are many factors that can affect your fertility, some of the factors where IVF may help achieve a successful pregnancy include:

If you are concerned about any of these factors, our Fertility Specialists can provide you with an assessment and offer expert advice on the best treatment options for your circumstances.

How much does IVF treatment cost?

It is important that you are aware of all the costs associated with IVF treatment. You need to take into account the fees charged by your treating Fertility Specialist during your cycle, the costs associated with private hospital and anaesthetist fees.

For an overview of QFG’s IVF treatment costs, visit our treatment costs page. Our staff are experts in explaining all of the costs involved and navigating the Medicare Safety Net scheme. If you have any questions regarding IVF costs, please call 1800 111 483 or complete the form below.

The IVF treatment process explained

An IVF treatment cycle takes around six weeks, and typically follows the following 12 steps. Note your treating clinician will individualise a plan for you that may or may not include all these steps:

Step 1: Initial specialist appointment

At your first appointment, your Fertility Specialist will review your medical history, all previous investigations and treatment, and give you preliminary advice about your treatment options. Your specialist may also order some basic fertility tests for further investigation. You and your partner should attend the first appointment together.

Step 2: Pre-treatment consultation

Meet again with your Fertility Specialist to confirm your treatment plan, and ask any questions. Make sure you discuss any complementary medicines you’re taking, as these may interfere with your treatment.

Step 3: Treatment begins

Your Fertility Specialist or nurse gives you the medication you need, explains the treatment cycle timeline, has you sign the relevant consent forms and shows you how to give yourself the Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) injections. We recommend both you and your partner attend this appointment.

Step 4: Hormone stimulation

FSH is injected with a diabetic-style pen, and stimulates your ovaries to produce more eggs than usual.

Step 5: Treatment monitoring

Throughout your cycle, we may measure your hormone levels with regular blood tests, and use ultrasounds to measure the size and number of your ovarian follicles. This also helps us identify the best time for egg collection. Your treating clinician will determine the need and frequency of these tests. Your QFG treatment costs include all your blood and ultrasound tests.

Step 6: Trigger injection

Once you have the optimum number and size of follicles, we plan your egg collection. This involves a trigger injection of hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) to instigate ovulation, and then egg collection between 36 and 38 hours later. The hCG injection replaces the natural Luteinising Hormone in the body and 'triggers' ovulation. Sometimes we may use Synarel® nasal spray as an alternative.

Step 7: Egg collection in day surgery

We collect eggs in a day surgery procedure, and usually under a general anaesthetic using ultrasound guidance. You will be at the hospital for about four hours, and you’ll need someone to drive you home afterwards. We suggest not returning to work until the following day.

In some rare cases, your Fertility Specialist may decide to collect the eggs with a laparoscope. This may also be done as part of the Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT) procedure.

On the morning of your egg collection your partner will need to provide a fresh semen (sperm) sample, so we can immediately fertilise your eggs.

Step 8: Egg fertilisation

The eggs we collect go to the laboratory, where they are prepared for fertilisation. In IVF, prepared sperm and eggs are placed together in a dish where fertilisation occurs. In ICSI, an individual sperm is selected by a highly experienced embryologist, and, under very delicate microscopic control, each egg is injected with a single sperm.

Step 9: Embryo development

The egg and sperm are then placed in individual incubators at 37 degrees, to mimic the temperature of the human body so that fertilisation can occur and embryos develop.

Step 10: Embryo transfer

Embryo transfer is a simple day-surgery procedure and takes place between two and six days after egg collection. The embryo is transferred into the uterus through a very fine catheter passing through the cervix – a procedure similar to a pap smear.

Step 11: Embryo freezing

Any extra embryos not used during a treatment cycle can be frozen and stored until you wish to use them.

Step 12: Pregnancy test

Download IVF booklet

For more information about IVF, visit our Patient Information Booklets page or contact us below.

In vitro fertilisation (IVF)

To find out more about what’s involved in IVF treatment register for one of our free information nights, and have your questions answered by a Fertility Specialist. Alternatively, call us on 1800 111 483 for confidential fertility advice, or to make an appointment with a QFG Specialist.

Read more about freezing embryos...
Read more about our IVF costs...