Information & Guides

Frequently Asked Questions


IVF stands for in vitro fertilisation, which means fertilisation outside the body. During IVF, sperm and eggs are brought together in the laboratory to create an embryo. As part of the IVF process, drugs are used to stimulate the ovaries to prepare eggs for fertilisation. These eggs are then collected (and mixed with sperm to allow the eggs to be fertilised. The eggs that have fertilised successfully are grown and monitored in the lab for 3-6 days before the best one is transferred back into the womb, to hopefully grow into a baby. Additional embryos can be frozen for use in further treatment.


ICSI is an enhanced form of IVF where individual sperm are selected for injection directly into the egg to improve the chances of fertilisation and creating an embryo. ICSI is used in cases where there are problems with sperm quality or quantity.


We will establish if either IVF or ICSI is right for you, depending on your test results, age and how long you’ve been trying to conceive.


Embryos are frozen on day 5 or 6 of development once they have reached the blastocyst stage. They are frozen using a ‘flash-freezing’ method known as Vitrification. This involves moving a blastocyst through a series of protective solutions, using very precise timings, and instantly cooling to -196oC in liquid nitrogen. Each blastocyst is stored in an individual, sealed and labelled straw.


On the scheduled day of FET, the device containing the blastocyst is taken out of the liquid nitrogen and rapidly warmed to 37oC before being washed through a series of solutions to help it to recover. In the hours that follow, the blastocyst should return to its original state ready to be transferred.


UK law permits Blastocysts to be stored for up to 55 years, and longer in exceptional circumstances. Freezing stops all activity in the blastocyst cells. This means that the blastocyst does not age and success rates will be in line with your age at the time the blastocyst was stored, regardless of when the thaw and FET takes place.


A referral letter can be helpful but not essential. Your GP, or any specialist, can refer you privately to see any of our consultants who are all highly skilled fertility experts. We will write to your GP (with your consent) following the consultation.


Of course feel free to come on your own. You are also welcome to bring a partner, friend or relative. If you have a partner you are looking to pursue we would recommend you both being at the consultation.


We are a private clinic, as such you will receive an invoice for attendances unless agreed otherwise. If you reside in Bristol, we’ll be able to help advice you when you may be eligible for treatment. If you have had investigations at General Fertility and have funding approved for treatment, you can transfer your funding for treatment to BCRM.


Payment for appointments is requested at time of booking. For treatment, an invoice will be raised when you notify of day 1 of your cycle. Payment will need to be made before you can proceed with treatment.


If you have a general enquiry or if you wish to communicate with us please contact 0117 259 1159 or email


In most cases you will have a scan at your first full consultation. The scan will be to check reproductive organs including your ovaries, uterus and endometrium. We request this to be undertaken, if possible, even if you’ve had one elsewhere.


Following your initial appointment, your consultant may request further testing if deemed clinically appropriate. The reasons why this testing may need to take place will be discussed with you and you will be able to arrange these with our patient advisors either on the day or over the phone.


We recognise how difficult it is not being able to proceed with treatment, for this reason we are encouraging you to access our support during this challenging time.Our treatment support team are available for telephone, skype and zoom consultations, please do let us know if you would like to book an appointment and one of our patient advisors will get in contact to arrange this for you.


It depends on what is meant by natural treatment. We take a holistic approach to your care and will avoid unnecessary intervention if not required. In some cases simple advice may help significantly improve your chances. This is where knowing full details of your medical, family and lifestyle history comes in handy.