In Vitro Fertilisation - IVF

IVF (in vitro fertilisation) was developed by Professor Steptoe and Bob Edwards which resulted in the birth of the worlds first in vitro fertilisation baby in 1978.

Rina Agrawal has worked with Bob Edwards whilst she was the Director of London Women Clinic & The Hallam Medical Centre.

In vitro fertilisation is a three stage procedure involving an initial phase of injections to stimulate the growth of multiple eggs (typically 12 to 14 eggs are obtained in each cycle). The eggs are then collected through the vagina using ultrasound. This procedure is best performed under a light anaesthetic. The male partner usually would produce his sperm on the same day although depending on the individual circumstances sperm can be kept frozen at the clinic. In in vitro fertilisation each egg is then placed in a droplet of culture fluid containing all the nutrients required for embryo development and approximately 50,000 sperm are added to each egg.

The sperm and eggs are then cultured overnight in an incubator. CRM London has many incubators available (a ratio of approximately 1 incubator for every 50 in vitro fertilisation cycles which is very rare as most clinics would have 1 incubator for every 100 to 400 cycles) The advantage a high ratio of incubators to cycles is that the incubator door does not need to be opened frequently preserving ideal growth conditions for the eggs and embryos.

The day following egg collection scientists check the eggs for signs of fertilisation. The fertilised eggs are allowed to develop for a further 48 hours until they reach the day 3 stage when we anticipate that the best embryos will have between 6 and 8 cells. Usually embryos will be transferred into your uterus at this day 3 stage but if you have many embryos on this day we may suggest that you undergo a blastocyst transfer  This involves developing the embryos for a further 2 days in the laboratory until they become blastocysts on day 5 after egg collection.

Embryo transfer is a very important process in which the best embryos are placed in your uterus.  In UK, we are only allowed by HFEA to transfer 2 embryos in women under 40 years of age although 3 embryos can be replaced in women older than this having IVF treatment with their own eggs.  The HFEA in the UK encourage clinics to adopt the policy of single embryo transfer in selected women in order to avoid the risk of multiple pregnancy and therefore complications for both the mother and the babies.  Pregnancy rates during IVF treatment is dependent on a number of factors such as the women’s age, hormone levels, associated gynecological conditions such as endometriosis, fibroids, ovarian cysts and preexisting medical conditions.