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:
- Damaged fallopian tubes
- Ovulation issues
- Low sperm count and motility
- Previous vasectomy or tubal ligation
- Unexplained infertility
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.
Top 5 myths about IVF
Top 5 Myths about IVF, with Dr Julie Buchanan
There are quite a few misconceptions about In vitro fertilization or IVF fertility treatment. So let's talk about it.
Hello, and welcome to Fertile Minds. I'm Dr. Julie Buchanan, a Fertility Specialist from Queensland Fertility Group. And today we'll talk through the top five myths about IVF.
1. IVF is often the first and only fertility treatment tried. False.
You may not always need IVF. So we start by doing a fertility assessment to better understand your individual situation and then determine whether IVF is right for you. Other more simple treatments may include, lifestyle changes and optimising pre-existing medical conditions.
This may be all some people need. However, if treatment is recommended, this may include, ovulation cycle tracking, ovulation induction, or artificial insemination. A fertility assessment is an important first step to find out what treatment could be right for you.
2. You can do IVF at any age. False.
Female fertility is highly dependent on age. Female age is the number one determining factor for a successful pregnancy. Although IVF does increase the chances of conceiving, the number and quality of the eggs collected in an IVF cycle decrease the older you become.
3. You're way more likely to have multiple births through IVF. False.
Historically, treatment was commonly linked with multiple births or twin births. But this is far less common these days. This is mainly because the number of embryos being transferred back inside the uterus is restricted to one. We have increased technology and laboratory capabilities. And why do we want to avoid multiple births? There is a higher risk for the mother and the babies predominantly prematurity for the babies and obstetric complications for mom.
4. Will IVF affect my ability to work? Not necessarily.
In all fertility treatments, we try and make sure that your appointments can be done early in the morning before your usual start of work. For the egg collection procedure, you will be at the hospital for about four hours, and you'll need someone to drive you home afterwards. This is the only time that we suggest taking off from work and not returning until the day after the procedure.
5. Babies conceived through IVF will have a high risk of health issues such as low birth rates or developmental delays. This is false.
The vast majority of studies have not found an increased risk of birth defects in babies conceived with IVF. Please be rest assured that a majority of babies conceived through IVF grow up to be healthy adults and compare well to those conceived naturally. One in 20 children in Australian classrooms are born via assisted reproductive technologies.
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. Check out our Brisbane clinic locations here.