In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is the most widely practised assisted conception procedure in the world. IVF begins with drug treatment with gonadotropin injections to induce the ovaries to develop a number of egg follicles.

Eggs are then removed from the ovary for fertilisation in the laboratory. Egg collection uses an ultrasound probe placed within the vagina. The probe contains a needle guide, which allows the needle to be pushed into each ovary in turn. The doctor can then remove eggs from the egg follicles using gentle suction. The entry of the needle through the vaginal skin and into the ovary is painful, and clinics will usually provide sedation and intravenous pain relieving drugs.

The eggs are then processed and fertilised with the partner's sperm in he embryology laboratory. After two or three days, one or two embryos (fertilised eggs) are replaced in the cavity of the uterus to allow a chance of implantation and pregnancy.

Occasionally, fertilised eggs will be grown or five days, to form blastocysts, large embryos with many cells. This is a useful technique when IVF has failed to lead to pregnancy after two or nore attempts, since it allows study of the early development of the embryo.


IVF was developed to treat couples whose principal cause of infertility is tubal damage. However, the applications for the technique have expanded to include treatment for infertility linked to endometriosis and unexplained infertility. IVF also allows eggs to be injected with sperm in the laboratory (ICSI) for treatment of severe male infertility. Within Nigeria, the average chance of pregnancy and livebirth after one cycle of IVF treatment, if the woman is under 36, is about 37% per cent, although results differ between clinics.

Illustrations

We have put together some illustrations for IVF techniques. To get a better understanding of this process and the treatment best suited for you, please contact us.

Resources

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