Ovulation Induction – This involves using medication, either oral tablets for 5 days, starting around day 2 or 3 of the cycle or self-administering some injectable medication into the subcutaneous tissue of the abdomen every day for approx. 10-14 days. These medications are easy to use and help the body to produce an egg. We monitor the growth and development of this egg with blood tests and ultrasounds until we know it is mature enough to fertilise. Once the body is ready to release the egg your doctor or nurse will tell you when is the right time to have intercourse and thus optimise the chance of fertilisation.
As an added step to both ovulation monitoring and ovulation induction, patients may benefit from Intrauterine insemination (IUI). IUI is a method of inserting prepared sperm (a process which results in a higher concentration of motile sperm) directly into the uterus around the time of ovulation. IUI is also the first line treatment option available to women and couples requiring donor sperm. The procedure is very similar, to that of a pap smear and may be performed by either your doctor or clinic nurse. Most patients undergo a few cycles of IUI and if unsuccessful then they may choose to progress to IVF.
(IVF) In Vitro Fertilisation follows the initial pathway of ovulation induction using injectable medication, but with an aim to grow many (but not too many) eggs. We do this by giving you a higher dose of medication and add in a second drug to stop you releasing these eggs on your own. The eggs are removed during a day surgery procedure which is performed trans-vaginally while you are asleep under a general anaesthetic. The eggs are fertilised in a laboratory with prepared sperm from your partner or donor and the resulting embryos are monitored for a few days before selecting the best one to transfer back into the uterus. The embryo transfer is also done in hospital but is essentially the same technique as the IUI procedure, so you are awake and there should be minimal discomfort if any. Additional embryos that you may have created can be frozen for future transfers if they are suitable. These embryos avoid the need to undergo a full IVF cycle in the future and can be thawed and transferred easily the next time you would like to try and fall pregnant. (This may be straight away if unsuccessful) or years down the track should you decide you want to grow your family even more!
If you would like to discuss the potential options available to you, please call one of the Eve Health nurses on 3332 1999 today.
Blog Post by A/Prof Anusch Yazdani