In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)


In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) involves placing an egg and sperm together to fertilise in a laboratory. Once fertilisation takes place, the embryo is then transferred to the uterus to hopefully implant and become a pregnancy. In standard IVF treatment, a couple’s own sperm and eggs are used. It is only in certain circumstances when this is not possible, that donated eggs or sperm will be used.

IVF is used to treat many different types of infertility problems including:

• low sperm count

• tubal damage, e.g. resulting from endometriosis

• female’s age

• ovulation problems, e.g. resulting from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).


Is everyone a candidate for IVF?


Your Westmead Fertility Centre doctor will determine the right course of treatment for you based on your specific issues, e.g. age, physical condition. Many couples require minimal intervention to achieve a pregnancy, while others need to undergo procedures, such as IVF, ICSI or IUI.


Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)


Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a laboratory technique used when successful fertilisation of the egg cannot be achieved with standard IVF. While IVF allows the sperm to penetrate the egg of its own accord, in ICSI a single sperm is directly inserted into the egg. To achieve this, our scientists work under a microscope using very fine tools.


When is ICSI needed?


ICSI may be used when:

• the number of sperm available is too few to expect fertilisation with IVF

• fertilisation has not occurred in previous IVF cycles despite a high number of sperm being present

• the only sperm available are those that have been collected direct from the testis.

Not all eggs are suitable for sperm injection, e.g. they may be immature and may not survive the injection process.


Will IVF or ICSI (or both) be used?


Sometimes, it is not possible to say in advance whether IVF or ICSI will be necessary to achieve fertilisation of your eggs. After taking into account the outcome of the sperm assessment, preparation and your relevant history (e.g. the outcome of previous fertility treatment), the embryology team will decide whether to proceed with IVF or ICSI. If we believe that the sperm has the ability to fertilise the egg without assistance then we will proceed with IVF. If the sperm needs help, then our scientists will proceed with ICSI. Our recommendation will be discussed with you following egg collection.


Related articles


Introduction to IVF stages

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

Attend a free information seminar
Westmead ButtonWestmead Doctor, IVF clinic
When: Wednesday 28 November 2018
Time: 6pm
Where: Westmead Hospital