What is IVF?
IVF is a common treatment for people who are unable to conceive naturally
Usually in IVF, the woman has medicines (fertility hormones) to stimulate the ovaries to produce several eggs. The eggs are then collected and mixed with sperm in a laboratory.
IVF is carried out when the sperm quality is considered to be ‘normal’ If there are issues with the sperm quality such as low motility or numbers, a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may instead be used – this is where a single sperm is injected into the egg by an embryologist
If fertilisation is successful, the embryos are allowed to develop for between two and six days. This helps the embryologist to select the strongest embryo, which is then transferred back to the woman’s womb to hopefully continue to a successful birth.
Often several good quality embryos will be created. In these cases, it's normally best practice to freeze the remaining embryos because putting two embryos back in the womb increases your chance of having twins or triplets, which carries health risks. You can use your frozen embryos later on if your first cycle is unsuccessful or you want to try for another baby.
Find out more about embryo freezing
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)