What is IVF?
In vitro fertilisation involves the removal of mature oocytes (eggs) from the woman’s ovaries, following a course of drugs and the fertilisation of the eggs by sperm in the laboratory. Once fertilisation has occurred, the resulting embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus.
Only certain groups of patients who are infertile are suitable for IVF. The treatment was originally developed for women who have damaged or blocked fallopian tubes. However, it has been shown that these techniques will also increase the chance of pregnancy in other groups of patients including those where there is no obvious cause (unexplained infertility). The main indications are:
- Tubal disease (ie, blocked/damaged fallopian tubes)
- Male sub-fertility (ie, reduced sperm count)
- Endometriosis (a condition causing inflammation and scarring in the pelvis)
- Failure of ovulation (for example polycystic ovary syndrome)
- Unexplained infertility
Please note: Many patients receiving IVF still have a chance of falling pregnant without treatment. IVF is recommended in these cases as the best chance of improving the chance of pregnancy.
For more detailed information, see our patient information leaflet.