IVF treatment: fertilisation outside the body
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment is one of several techniques available to help couples and individuals struggling to have a baby conceive. During IVF treatment, eggs are collected from the ovaries using ultrasound guidance. The sperm from the partner or a donor are specially prepared and mixed with the eggs in the laboratory to allow fertilisation to occur. After five days in the incubator (to provide a controlled environment), one or two of the resulting embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus through the cervix, where hopefully they will then develop as they would in a normal pregnancy.
In IVF, the eggs are fertilised in the IVF laboratory with previously prepared sperm material. The eggs and sperm are brought together in a special nutrient solution. The sperm penetrate the eggs on their own and fertilise them. The prerequisite is that the quality of the sperm is very good, thus guaranteeing independent fertilisation of the eggs.
Before eggs can be fertilised with sperm in IVF treatment, the woman undergoes hormonal stimulation of the ovaries and then a follicular puncture, in which the eggs are aspirated, or withdrawn using a needle, from the ovary. Fertilisation of the retrieved eggs takes place a few hours after the follicular puncture. The sperm cells for fertilisation are obtained either by masturbation or also from a previously cryopreserved sample.
After fertilisation, the fertilised eggs and embryos are cultured in the IVF laboratory and assessed daily. The fused cells divide very quickly. Depending on the day, one speaks of different stages of development:
Day 1 after oocyte puncture = pronucleus stage (pronuclei)
Day 2 after oocyte aspiration = two- to four-cell stage
Day 3 after oocyte aspiration = eight-cell stage
Day 4 after oocyte aspiration = berry stage (morula)
Day 5 after oocyte aspiration = blastocyst (expanding or hatching)
Lagging behind in this developmental dynamic indicates a possible defect in the embryos. Only about 50% of the pronuclear stages reach the desired blastocyst stage, where pregnancy is most likely.
With the time-lapse procedure, the TFP fertility clinics in Austria offer time-lapse recordings of embryo development, with which the best embryos can be selected for transfer.
If there are sufficient embryos, we perform an embryo transfer on the fifth day after puncture. Embryos that have reached the blastocyst stage by this time have a particularly high implantation potential.
In vitro fertilisation is recommended in particular when pregnancy has not occurred naturally after a long period of time and diagnostic clarification has revealed one of the following causes:
Dysfunction of the fallopian tubes (blocked fallopian tubes)
Impaired sperm function / poor sperm quality (or IVF with donor sperm if there are no sperm cells in the male ejaculate)
PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)
Infertility without an identifiable cause
IVF is also an option for lesbian couples with good chances of pregnancy or after several unsuccessful attempts at insemination (IUI).
Since the first successful pregnancy through IVF in 1978, the medical technique has been continuously refined. Today, IVF is a standard treatment that has helped countless couples in Austria to have their own child.
At TFP fertility clinics, the pregnancy rate is 52% per attempt for those under 38 and 35% for those over 38. In general, the chance of pregnancy depends strongly on the age of the woman.
With these results, the success rate of our three fertility clinics is above average (see also Success Rates).
Complications occur very rarely with in vitro fertilisation - but there is still a certain risk. For example, hormonal stimulation can cause a considerable enlargement of the ovaries and thus complaints such as abdominal cramps and nausea. However, this so-called overstimulation syndrome rarely occurs.
The risk of an ectopic pregnancy is also slightly increased. In addition, you should note that there is an increased likelihood of a multiple pregnancy when several fertilised eggs are transferred, which in turn is associated with further risks.
Please do not hesitate to contact our team with any questions you may have about the treatment. The experienced doctors at your TFP fertility clinic will be happy to discuss the chances and risks of IVF with you at your leisure.
In addition to the "classic" IVF procedure, under certain circumstances it is also possible to carry out IVF without hormone stimulation. This offers the advantage that the matured egg has already gone through the natural selection process of the ovary, i.e. it promises a good fertilisation and implantation rate.
The optimal period for follicle retrieval is calculated from the woman's cycle. Otherwise, the treatment proceeds in exactly the same way as with classical IVF.
'Natural IVF' is an option for so-called "low responders" who only produce a few mature eggs even under hormone stimulation, for lesbian couples, for "high responders" with the risk of over-stimulation as well as for other risk patients (e.g. women with a tendency to thrombosis).