In Vitro Fertilisation
“I love the fact that my job is on the cutting edge of innovation as far as science goes, and I love being able to help patients achieve the family they want.”
— Dr Myvanwy McIlveen
What is IVF?
In Vitro Fertilisation, commonly referred to as IVF, is a medical procedure involving the combining of eggs and sperm outside the body, within a laboratory environment.
What are the stages of the IVF journey?
Firstly, you will inject hormonal medications designed to stimulate the ovaries to grow multiple eggs. After 7-9 days of injections we start doing blood tests & ultrasounds every 2-3 days to determine what is the very best day for your egg collection.
We collect the eggs & sperm and then combine them in the lab to make embryos. We can do either IVF or ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection). IVF is where we mix the eggs and sperm together in a dish & allow the sperm to fertilise the eggs. ICSI is where we inject one sperm into each mature egg. After successful fertilisation, the embryos are then cultured (grown) for 5 to 6 days In Genea’s special Geri time-lapse incubators.
On day 5 we choose the best quality blastocyst for transfer. The embryo transfer is similar to having a pap smear. We also like to freeze any extra good quality embryos, if available, for future use allowing us a baby brother or sister in the future. Eight days later we do a pregnancy test to see if implantation has occurred.
“Do you know using the GROW App you can receive images of your embryos developing in the lab during your IVF cycle?”
Dr Erin Fuller
What are the advantages of IVF?
Individuals grappling with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) can derive benefits from IVF, as it contributes to the regulation of ovulation and enhances the prospects of conception. Moreover, for those who have previously experienced unsuccessful attempts with intrauterine insemination (IUI), IVF demonstrates notably higher success rates.
When is IVF the optimal choice?
- When other treatment have failed
- When you have been trying for a long time
- When you are 38 years or older (time isn’t our friend)
What are the risks and side-effects associated with IVF?
While IVF is a generally safe procedure, the hormonal medications administered for ovarian stimulation can lead to side effects such as mood swings, bloating, and discomfort. The egg retrieval process carries a small risk of bleeding, infection, or accidental damage to surrounding structures. IVF can also be stressful- our counsellor is available for support should you need her.
“We’ve been providing IVF services for our patients for over 30 years. We’ve been at it so long that their babies are having babies!”
— Dr Myvanwy McIlveen
What’s the typical IVF duration?
How long does it take to do IVF? The duration of an IVF cycle can vary; however, it is usually 4-6 weeks. This timeline includes ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, fertilisation, embryo culture, and embryo transfer. Additional time may be needed for pregnancy testing and follow-up appointments. Various factors, including the specifics of the treatment plan and your menstrual cycle influence how long each cycle takes.
What’s the process for egg and sperm collection?
The process of egg collection entails the utilisation of a slender, ultrasound-guided needle, meticulously inserted through the vaginal wall and into the ovaries, enabling the aspiration of fluid from the follicles housing the eggs. This procedure is typically performed under the administration of light anaesthesia or sedation.
Simultaneously, the male counterpart provides a sperm sample, usually through self-collection. In situations where sperm retrieval proves challenging, alternative techniques such as testicular sperm extraction (TESE) or epididymal sperm aspiration (TESA) may be employed. Once both eggs and sperm are acquired, they undergo meticulous preparation for fertilisation within the laboratory setting, where a skilled embryologist assesses sperm quality and selects the most optimal sperm for the fertilisation process. All procedures adhere to stringent medical and ethical standards.
How does IVF address my infertility concerns?
IVF allows us to obtain multiple eggs, fertilise them & then put the best quality embryo right inside the uterus. This amazing technique helps all causes of infertility including blocked fallopian tubes, low sperm counts, unexplained infertility and/or endometriosis present challenges.
Which lifestyle factors influence IVF suitability?
Maintaining a healthy body weight, stopping smoking, regular exercise and prenatal vitamins all help. Some people find stress management techniques such as yoga, mindfulness and/or meditation helps their mental health during what can be a stressful journey. But don’t stress about stress- it does not have an impact on success rates!
What are the IVF success rates?
IVF success rates are dependent upon lots of factors, including age, general health, underlying causes of infertility, and lifestyle factors. Generally, younger individuals have higher success rates, with success rates ranging from 50% per attempt for women under 30 to 30% for women aged 39-42 years. Age more than any other factor influences your chances of success but also being healthy & choosing the IVF clinic with the best success rates will help.
Here are the IVF success rates for our IVF clinic, Genea Newcastle:
If you’d like to compare you can search for any clinic’s IVF success rates at this website established by the Australian Federal Government: https://yourivfsuccess.com.au/clinics
What are my financial considerations?
The cost associated with IVF may vary, ranging from approximately $4,000 to $12,000 out of pocket per stimulated IVF cycle, depending on Medicare, health insurance, the safety net & the NSW government IVF rebate. For most people it is $4500-7400 for your first cycle. This includes everything apart from some prescription fees (usually less than $200). A frozen embryo transfer will cost between $2000-3000 depending on your circumstances.
How does Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) work?
ICSI is a common part of IVF, particularly when male fertility issues such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or abnormal sperm morphology are evident. Additionally, individuals who have experienced poor fertilisation during IVF may opt for ICSI to enhance fertilisation rates.
Can i freeze sperm?
We often use frozen sperm during an IVF cycle for various reasons including remote work, concerns about performance or previous cancer treatment.
How long can you freeze sperm for IVF? Typically, it can be safely stored for many years with good success rates.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic condition where tissue similar to the uterine lining grows outside your uterus, causing pain, menstrual irregularities, and potential blocked fallopian tubes
Is IVF recommended if i have endometriosis?
Yes. Endometriosis can lead to pelvic scarring, tubal damage, and reduced egg quality, hindering natural conception. IVF bypasses these obstacles by directly fertilising eggs outside the body and transferring your resulting embryos into the uterus, increasing your chances of pregnancy.
Do I need genetic disease screening?
For individuals harbouring concerns about inherited genetic diseases, Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (NIPS) offers a non-invasive option. This diagnostic tool analyses cell-free DNA extracted from the bloodstream to assess the risk of specific genetic conditions, such as Down syndrome, in the developing foetus.
How useful is Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)?
Another valuable tool is Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), which entails the screening of fertilised embryos prior to their implantation in the uterus. This process enables the identification of genetic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities. For individuals with known genetic risks or a history of specific disorders, PGD presents the opportunity to select embryos devoid of such conditions, thereby reducing the risk of transmitting them to offspring.
What are the benefits of Non-Invasive Prenatal Screening (NIPS)?
Low Risk: NIPS entails a straightforward blood draw from the arm, eliminating the need for invasive procedures, thereby reducing associated complications and miscarriage risks.
High Accuracy: NIPS exhibits commendable accuracy in detecting certain chromosomal abnormalities, surpassing traditional screening methods. This results in a reduced incidence of false positives and false negatives.
Early Detection: NIPS can be conducted as early as the 10th week of pregnancy, affording ample time for informed decision-making.