IVF (in vitro fertilisation) is one of a number of techniques to help women get pregnant, if they have fertility problems or don’t have a male partner.
The process involves eggs being removed from the woman's ovaries and then being fertilised with sperm in the laboratory before being returned to the woman's womb to grow and develop -- sounds simple, unfortunately it can be a long and complicated road with the success rate for women under 35 being 29%.
How do you start IVF
If you have a male partner and been trying for a baby for over a year naturally, then it is worth booking an appointment with your GP to see if there are any fertility issues and talk through a number of options. IVF is not the only answer if you are struggling to conceive and these will all be discussed at your appointment but if the GP feels IVF is right for you then you will be referred to a fertility specialist.
If you are a single woman or in a single sex relationship and you are wanting to have a baby, then it is worth having a chat with your doctor or a fertility clinic to see what options are open to you.
What happens during IVF
IVF involves 6 main stages:
Suppressing your natural cycle using medication
Boosting your egg supply, again with medication to encourage your ovaries to produce more eggs
Monitoring your eggs using an ultrasound scan to keep an eye on your developing eggs and also medication to help them mature
Collecting the eggs by having a needle inserted into the ovaries, via your vagina, to remove the eggs
Fertilising the eggs with sperm for a few days
Transferring the embryo(s) into the womb
You will then need to wait 2 weeks before taking a pregnancy test to see if the treatment has been successful.