at The Wolfson Fertility Centre
We offer the complete range of fertility treatment options at The Wolfson Fertility Centre, and can support you whatever your reason for coming to us.
As part of a major teaching hospital with links to Imperial College, London, our team is involved in the latest fertility research projects, meaning that our patients are often the first to benefit from any new advances in this field.
IVF and ICSI are treatments that allow us to transfer embryo(s) directly into the womb. In IVF procedures the egg and sperm are put together with the aim of fertilisation, whereas in ICSI treatments the sperm is injected into the egg. The ICSI method is often chosen where there are problems with the sperm.
Step 1: Stimulation of the ovaries
IVF and ICSI involve daily hormone injections to stimulate the ovaries to try to produce more eggs. Your ovaries usually produce one egg per menstrual cycle. We aim to produce between five and 15 eggs, as not all of these will fertilise or develop to form good quality embryos. Your consultant will tailor your treatment plan, which can range from two to four weeks of daily injections, to specifically suit your needs. We will closely monitor your response to treatment through scans and blood tests.
Step 2: Egg collection and fertilisation
You will be sedated to make you comfortable and it is similar to having an internal scan. Once your eggs have been collected (this is a day procedure), we will inseminate them in our onsite laboratory. The eggs and sperm are placed together in a culture dish to allow fertilisation. In cases where the sperm count or motility is below the normal range, or where previous IVF treatment has resulted in low or no fertilisation, then we can inject sperm directly into each mature egg to increase the chances of fertilisation. The day after egg collection you will be informed about how many eggs have fertilised and you will have to start taking progesterone.
Step 3: Embryo transfer
Once eggs are fertilised, they are left to develop for two to five days before we transfer one or two embryos into your uterus. We perform these embryo transfers seven days a week so that we can ensure your embryos are transferred at the optimal time. The embryo transfer is a simple procedure done without sedation and is similar to having a smear test. Any spare embryos may be frozen if they are of suitable quality and used in a subsequent cycle, meaning we wouldn’t need to repeat the first two steps.
Step 4: Pregnancy test
Once we have transferred the embryo(s), we will arrange a date for a pregnancy test. If you have a positive pregnancy test, we will ask you to continue taking progesterone and we will arrange an early pregnancy scan so we can make sure your pregnancy is developing correctly.
Although in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment is often the most effective way of achieving a pregnancy, in some circumstances we may suggest a simpler, less invasive method. IUI (intrauterine insemination) is often a useful treatment for women who have irregular cycles (mainly polycystic ovaries) or for couples or single women who need to use donor sperm.
IUI uses your natural cycle or it may involve gently stimulating your ovaries to produce a maximum of three follicles (fluid-filled sacs in the ovary which usually contain an egg).
Usually, both fallopian tubes need to be open for this treatment to be effective.
Donor sperm may be provided by a known donor or may be purchased from a reputable donor sperm bank recommended by our clinic. We screen all donor sperm for infectious diseases. If the donor sperm is from a sperm bank it will already have been frozen and quarantined, and the donor will have been re-tested after a period of six months.
We offer treatment when either egg or sperm donation is required. You and your prospective donor will have the opportunity to meet with our counsellor to discuss the implications of creating your family through egg or sperm donation.
We would recommend that egg donors are 35 years of age or under and ideally have had children of their own. Although we do not hold a list of egg donors, we are able to assess any potential egg donors that you might have in mind for treatment.
We understand that finding a suitable egg donor is difficult. For many years we have established relationships with the most reputable overseas centres. We have co-management arrangements, which take the risk from overseas care as well as increasing convenience and decreasing cost to you.
We can advise on reputable donor sperm banks or egg donation agencies that allow you to make your own choice of donor. We also provide treatment where the sperm donor is known to you and will advise you regarding the screening, quarantine and use of all sperm samples.
We are able to assess the genetic make-up of embryos so we can identify which are more likely to lead to a healthy pregnancy.
We are proud to say that pre-implantation genetic diagnosis was invented right here in our clinics.
This treatment is for couples who carry a serious genetic condition that could be passed on to their children and cause health risks.
Using IVF or ICSI we create embryos. We are then able to remove a single cell or group of cells from these embryos so we can analyse the genetic material contained in the cells’ chromosomes and see if that embryo carries the disease or not.
This treatment is highly specialised and involves careful preparation, which may include blood samples or swabs from family members.
Pre-implantation genetic screening allows us to look at the chromosomes for abnormalities.
This technique can sometimes be helpful for people who have previously had unsuccessful cycles of in-vitro fertilisation or for older women who are more likely to produce genetically abnormal eggs.
If we think these treatments might be helpful to you, we will explain them in more detail to you and help you make a decision.
An endometrial scratch involves agitating the lining of your uterus which can help the embryo to implant. It is described as being similar to a cervical smear. This technique can be helpful for those who have previously been through failed IVF cycles.
Reproductive surgery allows us to investigate why you might be having problems conceiving. We can use key-hole surgery to look inside the pelvis with a flexible telescope and to treat and diagnose problems including:
- damaged tubes
- scar tissue on the uterus
- problems with the connective tissue around the uterus
By treating any of these conditions we hope to be able to improve your chances of a successful pregnancy.
Surrogacy involves transferring embryo’s into the womb of a surrogate woman. The embryo will be created using IVF techniques which is then transferred to the surrogate.
Although we are unable to match you to a surrogate, our counsellor will support you with information about the legal and emotional aspects of treatment if this is a route you decide to follow.