Treatment

Fertility treatment at The Fertility Centre. A well established fertility treatment centre with more than a decade of proven success.

We provide a number of different fertility treatments, from fertility drugs and embryo screening to surgical sperm extraction and IVF. Explore all the different treatments available and find out about the risks of treatment, using donated eggs, sperm and embryos and having treatment abroad.

Fertility treatment has no guarantee of success and the decision to embark on treatment is a personal one.

You should consider carefully the risks and the chances of success that our expert staff will discuss with you at consultation. 

Our success rates for Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and Intracyctoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) are available at www.hfea.gov.uk.

If you become pregnant after fertility treatment, your pregnancy carries no more risks than if you had conceived spontaneously.

Fertility treatment options

Assisted hatching

An egg is surrounded by a shell which is still present in the early embryo. To implant in the womb, the embryo must break through this outer coat—a process known as hatching. It has been suggested that sometimes hatching fails to occur which may provide an explanation, at least in part, as to why some couples fail to
achieve a pregnancy.

Assisted hatching is a procedure that involves a hole being made in the shell of the developing embryo, generated from either an IVF or ICSI treatment, to aid the natural process of hatching. This is performed on either Day 3 or Day 5 following egg collection, approximately 30 minutes before the embryos are transferred.

Blastocyst culture

It is now possible to keep embryos growing in the laboratory up to the blastocyst stage, which is reached 5 days after egg collection. These blastocysts can then be transferred to the uterus on Day 5. The potential advantage of this is that by Day 5 the embryologist has a much clearer idea of which blastocysts have the best growth potential. It is therefore a non-invasive method of embryo self-selection which leads to a better chance of successful pregnancy. However, the attrition rate for the embryos is high and many women hoping to have a blastocyst transfer have no surviving embryos.

Egg freezing

There are occasions when a woman is not ready to have a pregnancy and needs to freeze her eggs—or for medical reasons such as oncology patients. We have facilities to freeze eggs at short notice, should this be necessary.

Embryo freezing

While it is technically possible to freeze human eggs, it is a difficult process with few resulting live births worldwide. However, when there are several embryos of good quality, it is generally worth freezing those that are not used. These embryos can be used at a later date should the original cycle not be successful or should there be a live birth and the couple want to have another child. The process is much easier (and less costly) than a fresh cycle. Usually we monitor the woman’s cycle with ultrasound. When the stage is reached at which a naturally occurring embryo would be ready to implant, we defrost the embryos for a transfer similar to that for an IVF cycle. Unfortunately, not all embryos survive the freeze/thaw process, but it is generally worth freezing spare embryos should the option arise.

EmbryoGlue®

During IVF and ICSI fertility treatment a fertilised embryo will be transferred into the woman’s uterus. The aim of the treatment is that the embryo will successfully implant itself into the lining of the uterus where it will grow and develop. However, sometimes the embryo does not implant and the fertility treatment cycle is unsuccessful.

EmbryoGlue® is a medium developed to closely resemble the environment in the uterus at the time of implantation. It is not a glue in the common sense but acts as an adhesive by increasing the chance of implantation of the embryo to the uterus. The embryos are placed in the solution and allowed to soak in it for a fixed period prior to the transfer.

It is important for you to make an informed decision on what option is right for you—for further information and evidence, including independent reviews, please visit the governing body Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) website.

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

ICSI involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg in order to fertilise it. The fertilised egg is then transferred to the woman’s womb. It can be a suitable treatment when sperm quantity or grammer is poor that conventional IVF would lead to low or no fertilisation. For the woman, the treatment protocols, egg collection and embryo transfer techniques are the same as for IVF. The only difference occurs in the laboratory after egg collection when, rather than allowing the egg and sperm to interact in the dish, a single sperm is injected into the centre of each egg using a micro-injection needle.

Intracytoplasmic morphologically selected sperm injection (IMSI)

The shape of the sperm (morphology) is important in diagnosing male fertility problems and in predicting fertilisation and pregnancy outcomes. Studies have shown that selecting better-shaped sperm does improve your chances of a success clinical outcome. Intracytoplamic morphologically selected sperm injection (IMSI) is a variation of ICSI that uses a higher-powered microscope to select sperm. Normally, the ICSI technique is performed with a 200–400x light microscope. For IMSI a latest generation light microscope (enhanced by digital imaging) is required with a magnification of up to 2,700x. This allows the embryologist to detect subtle structural alterations in sperm and select spermatozoa with the most normally shaped nuclei (which contain the sperm’s genetic material).

Intrauterine insemination (IUI)

This treatment involves the insertion of prepared sperm from either the male partner or a donor into the womb at the women’s most fertile time in her monthly cycle. Insemination using sperm from the male partner can be appropriate when there is unexplained infertility or difficulties with intercourse. The treatment may be carried out with or without the use of fertility drugs, depending on your circumstances evidence now suggests. Ultrasound scan ‘follicle tracking’ is used from day 8 or 9 of the female partner’s cycle to time insemination accurately.

In vitro fertilisation (IVF)

In this treatment, eggs are removed from the ovaries, fertilised with sperm in a laboratory dish and allowed to grow before replacing in the women’s womb. IVF can be appropriate in the following circumstances:

  • If a woman has damaged or blocked fallopian tubes which stop sperm from reaching the egg
  • If a man has sub-optimal sperm quantity or quality which reduces the chance of fertilisation
  • If there is unexplained fertility or resistance to conventional ovulation induction techniques

Ovulation induction

This treatment option can be appropriate for women who have an irregular cycle and do not produce an egg each month. Provided the semen analysis is normal and the fallopian tubes are open, we generally advise ovulation induction as first line of treatment. This involves taking a simple fertility drug called Clomifene (Clomid) for five days from Day 2 of the cycle and we arrange an ultrasound scan ‘follicle tracking’ from Day 8 or 9 of the cycle to check the ovaries are responding to the drug and producing a follicle. We then advise timed intercourse. When there is no response to Clomifene or if conception has not occurred after a couple of cycles, we recommend treatment with injectable fertility drugs called Gonadotrophins. These drugs are more potent than Clomifene and require close ultrasound scan monitoring every cycle, as the risks of a multiple pregnancy are much higher. If you are significantly overweight or underweight you are unlikely to respond well to ovulation induction treatment (or any fertility treatment). Your doctor will check your Body Mass Index and may recommend deferring treatment.

Sperm washing

This service has been developed for couples in which the male partner is HIV positive but the female partner is HIV negative (referred to as HIV discordant status) and wish to have a child. The aim of the treatment is to reduce the risk of HIV transmission by attempting to achieve conception through insemination of sperm that has been washed free of HIV rather than through unprotected intercourse. We were the first clinic in the UK able to offer sperm washing to couples. There are more than 25 clinics worldwide now offering the treatment. The combined results from all these clinics indicates that in more than 5,000 inseminations or other fertility treatments carried out using washed sperm (prepared according to published guidelines), there have been no reported cases of HIV transmission to the female partner or to the resulting child.

Surgical sperm retrieval

Some men have no sperm in their ejaculate because it has been intentionally blocked by surgery (vasectomy), blocked by infection, or congenitally blocked. It is commonly possible to obtain sperm from the man in these situations which can be used for an ICSI cycle. The procedure is usually performed under anaesthetic in advance of any egg collection. The sperm are then frozen and stored for future use.

For further information about any of the services offered at the Fertility Centre, please contact us on 020 3315 8585 or email us at .

For further information about the governing body, visit The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) website