Your fertility treatment options
In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
Eggs are removed from the ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory dish before being placed in the woman’s womb. IVF literally means ‘fertilisation in glass’, giving us the familiar term ‘test tube baby’.
Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
ICSI involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg in order to fertilise it. The fertilised egg (embryo) is then transferred to the woman’s womb.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
Before fertility treatment, the best quality sperm are selected. They are then inserted into the womb at the woman’s most fertile time, when an ovary releases an egg (ovulation).
Donor insemination (DI)
Sperm that has been screened for sexually transmitted diseases and some genetic disorders from a donor is used to fertilise a patient’s egg. DI is IUI (intrauterine insemination) with donor sperm.
Testing that enables people with a specific inherited condition in their family to avoid passing on this condition to their children. Includes PGD, PGS and sex selection.
Gamete intra-fallopian transfer (GIFT)
Eggs are removed from the ovaries and the healthiest are selected and placed together with sperm in the woman’s fallopian tubes. Fertilisation therefore takes place in the body, as it would if conception had occurred naturally.
In vitro maturation (IVM)
Eggs are removed from the ovaries and are collected when they are still immature. They are then matured in the laboratory before being fertilised. This means that the woman does not need to take as many drugs before the eggs can be collected as she might if using conventional IVF, when mature eggs are collected.
Reproductive immunology is a service offered by a few fertility clinics in the UK. It includes a range of tests and treatment to do with the patient´s immune system in pregnancy.
Surrogacy is when another woman carries and gives birth to a baby for you.
If you aren’t ovulating properly (producing and releasing an egg each month), fertility drugs – which trigger egg production in much the same way as your body’s own hormones – can help.
Sterilisation can sometimes be reversed, fallopian tubes can be unblocked using keyhole surgery and, for men, sperm can be retrieved surgically for use in fertility treatment.
Page last updated: 07 January 2013