What happens in an IVF cycle?
Are you thinking of starting your fertility journey? Find out what happens in a typical IVF cycle.
The initial consult
After you register to become a new patient with us, you will receive an appointment for an initial consultation with one of our expert fertility consultants. You can have this consultation in person in our clinic or online via Zoom. If you have had any previous investigations carried out, please email them to us before your consult.
At this consultation, you and your doctor will take note of your medical, fertility and obstetric history if applicable. Your doctor will recommend various investigations based on your individual history. This may include an SIS (check of the uterus, ovaries and tubes), a semen analysis (checks the number of sperm, how they are moving and if they look normal), various blood tests and immunology or genetic testing.
You will also receive a consultation with one of our experienced fertility nurses. They will contact you a few days after your consultation by email to summarise the doctor's requests, advise you regarding booking appointments and give you general helpful information and services ahead of your treatment.
Once these tests are completed, you will have another zoom consultation with your doctor to discuss your results and they will recommend a treatment plan tailored to you. Again, a nurse will contact you within a few days of this consultation by phone to explain and plan your treatment.
For most IVF cycles, you are asked to call us on day 1 of your period and you will have a scan on day 2 or 3. All scans are done transvaginally.
At this scan:
- We will assess your uterine lining
- The antral follicles on your ovaries will be counted
- We may take hormone bloods
- We will conduct screening for HIV/Hepatitis for you and your partner (if applicable)
- You will receive a schedule of your stimulation medications
- You will receive an injection demonstration.
The aim of the stimulation medication is to recruit and grow follicles on your ovaries. Follicles are sacs filled with fluid in which an egg develops. You will have 3/4 monitoring scans to measure the lining of your womb and to count and measure the follicles on your ovaries. Scans are carried out in the morning time and take about 30 minutes.
The number of follicles recruited is dependent on your AMH, age and medical/surgical history. The stimulation phase usually lasts 12-14 days before an egg collection takes place.
The egg collection
An egg collection is a transvaginal procedure where a needle is passed through the vaginal wall and into the ovary. The fluid in the follicle is drained and given to the lab to be checked for the presence of an egg. An egg collection usually takes place in the morning time and is carried out under sedation (not a general anaesthetic) and morphine is given for pain.
While you are having an egg collection your partner will do a semen sample (if applicable).
Your recovery time in the clinic after egg collection will take about 2 hours. You will need someone to drive you home after egg collection. We recommend that you take the day of the egg collection and the day after off work.
You will know the total number of eggs collected before you leave the clinic. The eggs and sperm will be left to fertilise overnight.
After an egg collection, you may experience mild cramping and slight bleeding. A hot water bottle and Paracetamol is recommended for relief.
The following day the embryologist will let you know how many of the eggs fertilised.
You will get a call on day 4 post egg collection to advise you how many embryos are developing (the day of egg collection is day 0, the following day is day 1).
5-6 days after your egg collection you will have an embryo transfer. An embryo transfer is when the embryo that has developed in the lab is put back into the lining of your womb. This is just like a smear test and you don’t need to take time off work afterwards. Transfers usually take place in the afternoon and will require you to have a full bladder.
Your pregnancy blood test will happen 12-14 days after your embryo transfer.
If you are successful, congratulations! You will have an OB scan carried out when you are 7 weeks pregnant.
If, unfortunately, you do not have a positive blood test, a return consult with your doctor will be arranged and the next steps discussed. We also provide counselling services that we would encourage every patient to avail of.
- Counselling: We have a list of recommended counsellors available should you need them; please get in touch with the team.
- Finance: We have several financial supports available.
- Health Insurance: Some insurance companies cover certain fertility treatments and testing. We are listed under Vhi, Laya Healthcare and Irish Life. Please check your cover as plans can differ.
- Access Fertility: Their programmes fix the cost of treatment and offer up to a 100% refund if you don’t have a baby.
- Humm: Our patients can distribute the cost of fertility tests and treatments in instalments over a period of time making treatment more financially flexible.
- DPS scheme and tax relief: Fertility drugs are expensive, however under the Drugs Payment Scheme (DPS) an individual or family will pay no more than €124 each calendar month for the drugs required. You can claim tax relief on any fees relating to IVF treatment through the tax relief for medical expenses scheme. The tax relief is given at the standard rate of 20%.
- Dietitian: Making healthy dietary choices can help to improve your fertility health and optimise your chances of conceiving. Our Registered Dietitian, Sophie Pratt, can tailor a diet and nutrition plan to your specific, individual needs.
Remember we are here every step of the way. We have a 24-hour emergency line so our nurses are always on hand if you have any concerns.