At the London Women’s Clinic, we’re dedicated to helping you start – or grow – your family. And the way we do that is always changing, as we look to make IVF as effective, and easy to understand, as possible. Developments in the laboratory, particularly the fast-freezing ‘vitrification’ technique has allowed our programmes at the LWC to evolve.
With that in mind, we’ve changed how we offer our IVF packages for 2019 in our London and South East clinics.
Vitrification is a revolutionary technique which allows eggs, sperm and embryos to be cooled at a very fast rate to a glass-like state ‘vitrified’. All our embryos are frozen using the vitrification technique. Embryos are cooled in high concentrations of freeze-protecting solutions so that the embryo is very quickly frozen to a temperature of -196 degrees. This avoids the formation of ice crystals which created problems with the former ‘slow cooling’ freezing method. Embryo survival rates at the LWC after vitrification and warming are around 98% with excellent pregnancy rates. Indeed, success rates for frozen embryo transfer are now the same, or higher, than those of fresh embryo transfer.
Our IVF “Freeze All” treatment package
The LWC’s new, pioneering approach to treatment involves freezing all embryos in an IVF cycle without a fresh embryo transfer. We do this because success rates for frozen embryo transfer are now the same, or higher, than those of fresh embryo transfer.
One embryo will then be thawed and transferred in a later more ‘natural’ cycle when the medication required for the patient’s egg collection has had a chance to leave her system. This new approach avoids the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and improves the chance of pregnancy.
Success rates of up to 87%
Pregnancy rates from our successful trial at the LWC London Bridge show a 87% cumulative success rate (over two transfers) for patients under 35 years of age. Because our new IVF treatment package includes two frozen embryo transfers, our patients get two attempts to get pregnant therefore a higher chance of a successful outcome.
Stages of IVF treatment
Our new IVF treatment package is designed to give you the best chance of achieving a pregnancy. Here’s how it works:
Stage 1: Ovarian stimulation
The ovaries are stimulated with medication to allow eggs to grow within the ovarian follicles. Throughout this period, the patient will attend the clinic for a number of ultrasound scans where we can monitor the development of the follicles. Once the follicles have reached the right size, the patient will take a ‘trigger’ injection which will mature the eggs ready for egg collection.
Stage 2: Egg collection
The egg collection takes place while the patient is under a mild sedation and usually takes approximately 15 minutes. The eggs are collected with a fine needle attached to a scan probe which is passed through the vagina and in to the ovaries. On the same day the sperm sample is collected from a male partner, or in situations where a sperm donor is required, the sperm sample is prepared for fertilisation.
Stage 3: Fertilisation
All the mature eggs that are collected are placed in a dish with the sperm sample for fertilisation. If the cause of infertility is a male factor, ICSI (intracyctoplasmic sperm injection) may be used be help fertilisation. In this case, the sperm is injected directly in to the eggs by a skilled embryologist.
Stage 4: Embryo development and freezing
Over the next five or six days the fertilised eggs are left to develop in to embryos. By day five the embryos will hopefully reach the blastocyst stage of development. At this point the embryologist will freeze the embryos using vitrification.
Stage 5: Embryo transfer
Embryo transfer takes place in a later cycle. You will take medication to prepare your womb for the transfer of one of the frozen embryos. The embryo is thawed on the day of embryo transfer and allowed to re-expand. Embryo transfer is a simple procedure in which a catheter holding the embryo is gently inserted in to the uterus. The procedure is checked using an ultrasound scan and once the transfer has been completed the catheter is checked to ensure the embryo has been inserted.
Following embryo transfer the patient must wait for around 12-14 days to find out whether her treatment has been successful. During this time our patient support team and counsellors are available to provide support if needed, as it can be anxious wait. If treatment is successful an early pregnancy scan will be scheduled for around 6-7 weeks of pregnancy.
Second embryo transfer
If treatment is unfortunately unsuccessful, a follow-up consultation will be arranged so that the patient can meet with her fertility specialist to discuss the outcome and start to plan a second frozen embryo transfer. Patient support is always available after unsuccessful treatment.
For more information about the LWC’s new approach to IVF treatment, please contact us on 020 7563 4309 or attend one of our bi-monthly seminars.