The treatment can be performed using your own eggs and your partner’s sperm, or using either donated sperm or donated eggs - or both.
The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in UK recommends IVF for:
NICE recommends that up to three cycles of IVF should be available on the NHS for women who are between 23 and 39 years of age and women aged between 40 and 42 years should be offered one cycle of IVF.
However, these are only recommendations and in England it’s the local CCG who decides whether to fund IVF treatment on the NHS. Other parts of the UK have different funding arrangements and different criteria for IVF treatment. For more details on funding go to hfea.gov.uk.
If you decide to pay for IVF you can have treatment at a private clinic. Costs vary, but one cycle of treatment can cost £5,000 or more.* There may also be additional charges for medicines, consultations and tests so make sure you know exactly what is included in the price you are quoted
At the time that your eggs are being collected your partner will be asked to produce a sperm sample. Normal sperm will then be separated out from any poor quality sperm ready to fertilise the eggs. In some cases the egg will be fertilised by an injection of an individual sperm into the egg. This is called intra cytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI.
If donated sperm is being used, it will be thawed before being prepared in the same way.
A lot depends on your age and the cause of your infertility, but the younger you are the more likely you are to get pregnant.
There are a number of potential problems that can occur as a result of IVF.
A study that has recently been published showed that almost one third of women who don’t conceive through IVF become pregnant naturally. In the study, which was carried out by Imperial and Kings College London and Greenwich Trust, 403 British couples were surveyed over six years after starting fertility treatment. The findings revealed:
The researchers said the findings offer hope to thousands of couples who stop IVF because of the cost or because it is simply so heart rending.
* NHS Choices www.nhs.uk