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IVF is one of the most commonly known treatments for creating embryos by fertilising the egg with the sperm in a laboratory. IVF involves bringing eggs and sperm together in a dish in our laboratory to replicate what happens naturally within the woman’s body. Our Embryologists work out the exact amount of sperm needed, with the strongest sperm penetrating the egg to form an embryo as it would in the body.

The embryos are then given the optimum environment in which to develop within the dish [click here to see video of IVF embryo to blastocyst development]. Between two and six days after fertilisation, the embryos will be transferred back into the woman’s uterus (Embryo Transfer, ET).  

ICSI treatment is when the sperm is injected into the egg. Click here to find out more.

Why Do I Need Fertility Treatment?

IVF Treatment is one of the most challenging things you will ever do. So finding the right care, expertise and the latest medical technology to provide you with the best chances of conceiving and the utmost care and support every step of the way. Below is a break down of why you might require this treatment.

    • You are using your partner’s frozen sperm in your treatment and IUI is not suitable for you
    • You are using donor eggs in your treatment
  • You are using your own frozen eggs in  your treatment
  • Other techniques such as fertility drugs or intrauterine insemination (IUI) have not been successful
  • The man has fertility problems but not severe enough to require intra-cytoplasmic  sperm injection (ICSI)
  • You have been diagnosed with unexplained infertility
  • Your fallopian tubes are blocked

There are many other things which could stop you conceiving naturally. If you have been trying to conceive for over six months naturally or without contraception, we recommend booking an appointment with your local GP.

How Long Does It Take?

From your consultant appointment to the results of the pregnancy test, your treatment could take approximately nine weeks, if you undergo a long protocol cycle. During that time, you will make about six visits to the clinic.

If you decide to have a short protocol cycle, this will take an approximate of five weeks, and should have five visits to our clinic.

(Please note, every person we treat will have different requirements and might take longer than stated above.)

Short and Long Protocol

There is two types of IVF cycle; long or short protocol. Most patients will do long protocol IVF. The short protocol or antagonist cycles are often suggested for patients who have a Polycystic ovarian syndrome, as this is used to reduce the risk of OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation), a side effect of IVF. In short protocol cycles, the drugs to stimulate the ovaries will start on day 2 of your period, and there will be no down-regulation phase.

IVF Process: The Six Steps

IVF treatment is a six steps programme, which starts with suppressing your natural monthly hormone cycle to having your embryo transferred.  Depending on your personal requirements this might change. Below is a detailed breakdown of what’s involved. Also take a look at this video animation.

Suppressing Hormone Cycle

1. Suppressing Your Natural Monthly Hormone Cycle

As a first step, you will be given a drug to suppress your natural cycle, which you can administer yourself in the form of a daily injection or a nasal spray. The drug treatment continues for about two weeks.

Boosting The Egg Supply

2. Boosting The Egg Supply

After your natural cycle has been suppressed, you will be given a type of fertility hormone known as a gonadotrophin. You will usually take this as a daily injection for around 12 days. The hormone will increase the number of eggs you produce.

Ultrasound Scan

3. Ultrasound Scan

At BCRM we will monitor your progress throughout the drug treatment through vaginal ultrasound scans and, possibly, blood tests. Between 34 and 38 hours before your eggs are due to be collected you will be given a hormone injection to help your eggs mature. This is likely to be human chorionic gonadotrophin (hCG).

Egg Collection

4. Collecting The Eggs (Transvaginal Oocyte Recovery)

A hollow needle is attached to the ultrasound probe and is used to collect the eggs from the follicles on each ovary. Afterwards, you may experience some cramps, feel a little sore and bruised and/or experience a small amount of bleeding from the vagina. Once your eggs have been collected, you will be given pessaries, injection or gel to help prepare the lining of your womb for your embryo transfer.

Egg Fertilisation

5. Fertilising The Eggs

Your eggs will be mixed with your partner’s or the donor’s sperm and cultured in the laboratory for 16–20 hours after which they are checked for signs of fertilisation. Those that have been fertilised (embryos) will be grown in the laboratory incubator for up to six days. The embryologist will monitor the development of the embryos and the best will then be chosen for transfer.

Egg Transfer

6. Embryo Transfer (ET)

During the procedure, a doctor or nurse will insert a speculum into your vagina. This is similar to having a cervical smear taken when a speculum is used to hold the vagina open, so the cervix is visible. A fine tube (catheter) is then passed through the cervix, normally using ultrasound guidance. The embryos are passed down the tube into the womb; this is normally a pain-free procedure.

Why Choose

BCRM Fertility Clinic

Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine (BCRM) is now a Private Fertility Clinic that was established in January 2008, following the merger of two successful fertility clinics the NHS Southmead Fertility Clinic and the University of Bristol’s Centre for Reproductive medicine. This collaboration brought two teams of highly experienced fertility experts into one centre providing state of the art facilities to all our patients.

The Centre is Consultant-led with a team of Specialist Doctors, Fertility Nurse Specialists and Clinical Embryologists supported by an extensive Administrative Team.

Mr Valentine Akande MBBS PhD MRCOG is the Medical Director and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) recognised Person Responsible for the Centre.

At the Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine, we will guide you through the pathway of investigations and treatments, depending on your individual needs.

The staff at Bristol Centre for Reproductive Medicine bring decades of experience and knowledge to the range of reproductive and infertility problems couples face and part of our success is due to this. We attract and retain some of the best staff in the field of infertility who are able to provide you with a high degree of care and expertise.

To book an appointment:  Tel:  + 44 117 301 8605

or Email:

IVF Success Rates

Find out more about our IVF success rates by clicking this link and also see the data below

[Data Taken from the HFEA website on 9/02/18]

Under 38 Success Rate
ivf success rate
38 And Over Success Rate
ivf success rates by age

ICSI Success Rates

Find out more about our success rates in this link and also see the data below

[Data Taken from the HFEA website on 9/02/18]

Under 38 Success Rate
ICSI Success Rates
38 And Over Success Rate
icsi ivf success rates

Frozen Embryo Transfer Success Rates

Date Taken from the HFEA website on 9/02/18

Under 40 Success Rate
frozen embryo transfer success rates
40 And Over Success Rate
frozen embryo transfer success rates uk

Contact us

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Alternatively, you can call us on 0117 414 6888

IVF: Time lapse showing development of fertilised egg to embryo then blastocyst