ACU, Ninewells will soon be replacing traditional paper-based consenting with a digital consenting system. Fertility Consent is a secure online platform that enables patients to remotely access the relevant medical and legal information to provide informed consent and digitally sign consent forms for their fertility treatment, thus eliminating the need for paper information leaflets and consent forms. Fertility Consent provides a complete library of Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) consent forms and individual clinic consent forms that are automatically allocated to each patient and partner according to their treatment and personal circumstances. The platform also provides a library of materials and easy-to-understand videos that explain each fertility treatment and HFEA form in a clear and engaging way.
We will be introducing this for all new patients over the coming weeks and for return patients as we progress. To enable us to provide this service we require up to date contact numbers for all patients, if you have been recently referred or are due to have an appointment with the ACU, Ninewells soon please contact us to provide us with up to date contact details for each partner on 01382 496475 or alternatively email firstname.lastname@example.org
All pregnancies begin with the joining together of a single sperm and egg, this process is known as fertilisation. The single cell that results will usually go on to develop into an embryo and hopefully later a baby. This would normally take place in the woman’s Fallopian tubes, which allow eggs to pass from the ovaries into the womb. With in-vitro fertilisation (IVF), fertilisation is allowed to happen by mixing each egg with a number of prepared sperm in a test tube (hence the name “Test-Tube Baby treatment”). Whilst this has obviously been a major advance in the treatment of infertility it can almost be considered as simply changing the site for fertilisation and all other major steps remain the same.
Unfortunately for a number of couples their infertility can be due to a problem with fertilisation itself. Usually this is due to either:
- A low number of sperm – about 100,000 are required normally to have a reasonable chance of fertilising each egg.
- A fault in the way the sperm works – either the sperm do not move properly or have difficulty in binding to the egg.
Such cases are referred to as male factor infertility and can often be predicted from a sperm count alone, before any attempt is made at infertility treatments or where there is known to be a blockage in the male reproductive organs. Occasionally couples will be found to have a problem with fertilisation at their first attempt at IVF, this is after all the only chance we get to observe the sperm and egg together. The problem may lie with either the sperm, even though the sperm analysis was normal, the egg or both. If the number of eggs that fertilise (the fertilisation rate) is very few or none at all (failed fertilisation) then further attempts at IVF are usually going to fail also.
If a problem with sperm numbers, function or fertilisation is expected then usually the recommended treatment is a special form of IVF called Intracytoplasmic sperm injection.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI for short) is a technique which involves the injection of a single sperm into an egg and so bypasses all the normal steps in fertilisation. For further information see our patient information leaflet.