What to expect at a fertility clinic

A woman talking to her doctor at a fertility clinicAt the clinic, it’s important to feel that you are getting the most out of your consultations. Make sure you do by:

  • asking questions
  • taking time out to think things through – there can be a lot of difficult issues to consider
  • remembering that the clinic staff are there to help you make the right choice for you.

What tests are done at the clinic?

In addition to tests carried out by your GP, before any treatment can take place you may be given further tests at your local hospital or fertility clinic. These may include:

For women

  • A full hormone profile taken between days two – four of your period to assess for any hormone imbalance.
  • Blood tests to find out if you are ovulating. 
  • An ultrasound scan to look at your uterus and ovaries.
  • Follicle tracking – a series of ultrasound scans to follow the development of a follicle to see if an egg is developing.
  • Hysterosalpingogram – an x-ray to check your fallopian tubes.
  • Laparoscopy – an operation in which a dye is injected through your cervix as the pelvis is inspected via a telescope (laparoscope) with a tiny camera attached to check for tubal blockage.
  • Hysteroscopy – a telescope with a camera attached is used to view your uterus to check for conditions such as fibroids or polyps.
  • Hysterosalpingo-contrast sonography (HyCoSy) – a vaginal ultrasound probe is used to check the fallopian tubes for blockages.
  • Occasionally, a tissue sample may be taken from the endomtrrium  lining of your uterus to be analysed.

For men

  • Semen analysis to check sperm numbers and quality.
  • Sperm antibody test to check for protein molecules that may prevent sperm from fertilising an egg.

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Screening of patients

Before processing patient sperm, eggs or embryos for treatment and/or storage, the fertility clinic must carry out a number of screening tests to assess the risk of contamination. The clinic will test patients for:

  • HIV 1 and 2: Anti-HIV – 1, 2
  • Hepatitis B: HBsAg/Anti-HBc
  • Hepatitis C: Anti-HCV-Ab

Testing for HTLV-1, malaria and other conditions may also be performed if a patient’s medical and/or recent travel history indicates they may be at risk.

Patients who donate their eggs, sperm or embryos must also be screened for according to professional body guidelines (http://www.fertility.org.uk/news/pressrelease/09_01-ScreeningGuidelines.html).

To review the professional body guidelines see: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19085256  

 

About giving your consent

As with most medical procedures, you and your partner, if you have one, will have to give your consent to treatment.

The consent forms are necessary to protect you and any child you may have. Take time to reflect on any issues you may have before signing anything.

For more information see:

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Page last updated: 18 May 2012

Starting your fertility treatment journey?

'Getting started' is our informative fertility treatment reference guide.

The guide aims to make your journey easier by giving you a step-by-step introduction to fertility treatment.

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