The 10 stages of IVF – An introduction

For most people, the IVF journey follows an initial meeting with your local doctor who will refer you to a fertility specialist

Once you have been referred to the fertility clinic, or chosen a private clinic yourself, you will need to undergo some initial blood tests and a sperm sample will be required, to ensure IVF is the right course of action

These blood tests measure

Anti-Müllerian hormone levels (AMH is a protein that can give an approximate idea of the amount of viable eggs left in the ovaries of a patient).

FSH levels (this hormone stimulates the growth of ovarian follicles in the ovary before an egg is released from one follicle at ovulation).

Estradiol levels (This determine your ovaries’ ability to produce eggs)

Thyroid (Low levels of the thyroid hormone can interfere with the release of an egg from your ovary)

HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.

Sexually transmitted diseases that can affect fertility.

After you have had your initial tests, you will be told to call the clinic to make an appointment on the first day of your next period.

Don’t panic if your periods are irregular or non-existent! So many women, especially those with PCOS can find themselves waiting months for a period. However, you can kick off your the first stage of your IVF treatment by inducing your menstrual cycle with medication. Your clinic will discuss this with you.

This medication contains the female hormone Medroxyprogesterone, a type of synthetic progesterone. Progesterone is a key hormone that controls the menstrual cycle and ovulation. Typically, you’ll take this for about a week and it should kick-start your period 5-7 days after you stop taking it.

Every IVF journey is different and may take longer or shorter depending on how your body responds to medication, but this quick guide might help you get an idea of time

Baseline Test: Day 1 (this happens on day 3 of your period)

Ovarian Suppression/Down Regulation: 1– 4 Weeks (if you have been put on a long protocol)

Ovarian Stimulation: 8-12 Days

Cycle Monitoring: Starting Day 5

Trigger shot: Between Day 8 and 12

Egg Retrieval: 36 Hours After the HCG trigger shot (This is also the day of sperm collection)

Fertilisation: Day of Egg Retrieval.

Embryo transfer: This generally takes place on day 2, 3, 5 or 6 after eggs have been collected.

Two week wait: You must wait 14 days before you test.


If you get a moment, take a look at one reader’s experience of these initial tests.


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