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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.

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.

Egg Donation Process Step 5: Hormone Injection

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.

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. Medication for both long and short protocols will start on cycle Day 19.

Fresh Treatment Cycle Success Rate

Data obtained from HFEA website IVF/ICSI, 2019 Pregnancy and births per embryo transferred, own eggs & “fresh” embryo transfers

*Based on 184 embryos transferred

*Based on 145 embryos transferred

*Based on 129 embryos transferred

*Based on 134 embryos transferred

*HFEA states : “Redated to protect the identity of patients” – ie numbers are low in this category, typically less than 50

State of the art facilities


Operating from Southmead Hospital, our clinic is home to some of the most modern, cutting edge technology and lab facilities in the UK. We have an experienced and dedicated team of embryologists committed to ensuring the best success rates and highest quality of care. Our purpose-built IVF facility has helped thousands of couples to conceive and create families.

Book An Appointment

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    Your initial consultation at BCRM is the first step in your journey towards a successful outcome.

    Find out more about what to expect from your first visit.

    Meet our expert team

    Our team of friendly, highly-skilled specialists are dedicated to providing the highest standard of patient care. We understand the emotional stress that reproductive issues can cause and we are committed to making your journey to fertility as smooth as possible.