In Vitro Fertilisation

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a process that involves retrieving eggs from a woman’s ovaries and placing them in a culture dish along with sperm. This allows the process of fertilisation to occur outside the body, in a controlled laboratory environment.

Once the eggs are fertilised, the resulting embryos are monitored and allowed to grow in the laboratory for two to five days. The goal is to allow the embryos to develop into a healthy state before they are transferred back into the woman’s uterus, with the hope of achieving a successful pregnancy.

Through this process, IVF provides couples with a chance to conceive a child despite certain fertility challenges. With careful monitoring and precise handling of the eggs and sperm, the success rates of IVF have continued to improve over the years, making it a popular and effective treatment option for couples seeking to start a family.

The IVF Process – Overview 

Here is a general overview of the steps involved in IVF treatment:

Ovarian Stimulation

The first step is to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs. This is typically achieved through the administration of fertility medications, such as hormone injections. The goal is to increase the number of eggs available for fertilization.


During the ovarian stimulation phase, regular monitoring is conducted through blood tests and ultrasound scans. These help the healthcare team assess the development and growth of the ovarian follicles (containing the eggs) and adjust the medication dosage if needed.

Egg Retrieval

Once the follicles reach the desired size, an egg retrieval procedure is performed. This is usually done under sedation or anesthesia. A thin needle is guided by ultrasound into the ovaries through the vaginal wall to collect the mature eggs from the follicles.

Sperm Collection

On the same day as the egg retrieval, a semen sample is collected from the male partner or a donor. The sample is then prepared in the laboratory to isolate the healthiest and most motile sperm for fertilization.
Fertilisation: The collected eggs and sperm are combined in a laboratory dish for fertilization. This can be done through traditional IVF, where the sperm is added to the eggs( switch off the light, close the door and let them play), or through intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), where a single sperm is directly injected into each mature egg.

Embryo Development

The fertilized eggs, now called embryos, are cultured in a controlled laboratory environment for several days. The healthcare team monitors their development and progression, assessing their quality and selecting the most viable embryos for transfer.

Embryo Transfer

Once the embryos have developed, one or more of them are selected for transfer into the uterus. This is usually a painless procedure and does not require anesthesia. The embryos are placed into the uterus using a thin catheter, guided through the cervix.Usually you can see the catheter placement inside the uterus on the ultrasound.

Embryo Freezing (Cryopreservation)

If there are additional good-quality embryos not used in the fresh transfer, they can be frozen and stored for future use. This allows for subsequent frozen embryo transfers (FET) without the need for repeated ovarian stimulation.

Pregnancy Testing

Approximately two weeks after the embryo transfer, a blood test is performed to determine if pregnancy has occurred. This test measures the levels of pregnancy hormones (such as HCG) in the blood.

Benefits of IVF

Here are some potential benefits of IVF:

Increased Chances of Pregnancy

IVF can help overcome certain fertility challenges, allowing individuals and couples to have a higher chance of conceiving a child.

Control over Timing

With IVF, couples have more control over the timing of conception, which can be especially helpful for those with busy schedules or medical conditions that require careful planning.

Screening for Genetic Disorders

IVF can include pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT) to screen for genetic disorders before embryo transfer, reducing the risk of passing on certain genetic conditions to the child.

Use of Donor Sperm or Eggs

IVF can utilize donor sperm or eggs, allowing couples to conceive a child even if one partner has fertility issues or if both partners have genetic disorders they wish to avoid passing on.

Higher Success Rates for Older Women

IVF can be a successful treatment option for older women who may have reduced fertility due to age-related decline.

Psychological Benefits

For couples who have been struggling with infertility, IVF can provide a sense of hope and control over the process of starting a family. It can also offer emotional benefits, such as a feeling of relief and reduced stress, once pregnancy is achieved.

Options for LGBTQ+ Individuals and Couples

IVF with donor sperm, donor eggs, or gestational carriers can help LGBTQ+ individuals and couples achieve their dreams of starting a family.

It’s important to note that information presented above is of general nature and each individual’s success rate may vary based on their unique circumstances. Factors such as the number and quality of embryos transferred, the use of pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT), and the type of IVF protocol used can also impact success rates. For more information on IVF success rates please consult with our IVF Doctor Marcin Stankiewicz who can provide a more accurate picture of your chances of success. 

Factors Affecting Fertility and the Role of IVF  

There are several factors that can affect fertility, but instances where IVF may help achieve a successful pregnancy include:

  • Damaged fallopian tubes
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovulation issues
  • Low sperm count and motility
  • Previous vasectomy or tubal ligation
  • Unexplained infertility.

If you are concerned about any of these factors, our team of experienced fertility specialists can provide a comprehensive assessment and offer expert advice on the best treatment options for your unique circumstances. We understand that each individual and couple faces their own set of challenges, and we are committed to supporting you to help you achieve your dream of starting or growing your family.

IVF Success Rates – Australian IVF Statistics (ANZARD Report)

The success rates of in vitro fertilisation treatments can vary depending on various factors, including the age of the woman, the cause of infertility, the clinic’s expertise, and the specific treatment protocols used. It’s important to note that success rates can vary between different clinics and regions.

The most recent data on IVF success rates in Australia can be obtained from the Australian and New Zealand Assisted Reproduction Database (ANZARD), which is managed by the Fertility Society of Australia. ANZARD collects and publishes data from fertility clinics across Australia, providing valuable insights into success rates.

“For example, in women aged 35-39, the live birth rate per cycle started has increased from 19% to 23%, representing a 20% relative increase in success rates,” says Professor Georgina Chambers, the lead author of UNSW’s Assisted Reproductive Technology in Australia and New Zealand 2019.

“And in those aged 40-44, the live birth rate has increased to 10%, representing a 27% increase in success rates over the last 10 years.”

The ANZARD report is funded by the Fertility Society of Australia and New Zealand (FSANZ) and contains data from all 95 IVF clinics operating in the two countries.

Success rates can vary based on factors such as the number and quality of embryos transferred, the woman’s overall health, specific treatment protocols, the experience and expertise of the fertility clinic and its staff, and individual patient characteristics.Therefore, it’s essential to have a thorough discussion with a fertility specialist to assess your specific situation and understand the potential success rates and treatment options tailored to your needs.


IVF Cost

The cost of IVF  can vary depending on several factors, including the specific treatments and procedures involved, and any additional services or medications required. It’s important to note that the cost of IVF is not covered by Medicare for all individuals, and private health insurance coverage for IVF also varies.

On average, the cost of a standard IVF cycle in Australia can range from around AUD $9,000 to $15,000. However, this is just an estimate, and the actual cost may be higher or lower depending on various factors.

In addition to the basic IVF procedure, there may be additional costs for services such as fertility assessments, specialist consultations, blood tests, ultrasounds, anesthesia, and embryology laboratory procedures. Medications for ovarian stimulation and hormone support during the IVF process can also add to the overall cost.

Our fertility specialists can provide you with detailed pricing information based on your individual circumstances and treatment plan. Please check with your private health insurance provider, if applicable, to determine any coverage or benefits that may apply to IVF treatments.

Medicare and IVF

Medicare provides coverage for a significant portion of fertility treatment costs, offering financial assistance to individuals seeking reproductive care. Additionally, having private health insurance can provide further reductions in expenses related to fertility treatments.

Medicare offers rebates for various fertility treatments, including consultations, diagnostic tests, and some aspects of assisted reproductive technologies which are used in IVF. These rebates help alleviate the financial burden associated with fertility treatments, making them more accessible to individuals and couples.

Extended Medicare Safety Net – IVF

The Extended Medicare Safety Net (EMSN) in Australia provides additional financial assistance to eligible individuals or families who have significant out-of-pocket medical expenses, including those related to IVF treatments. The EMSN is designed to help alleviate the financial burden of high medical costs.

Under the EMSN, once an individual or family reaches a specified threshold of out-of-pocket medical expenses in a calendar year, they become eligible for increased Medicare rebates. This means that a higher percentage of the medical costs may be covered by Medicare, reducing the out-of-pocket expenses.

For IVF treatments, the EMSN can provide additional financial support by increasing the Medicare rebate for eligible services. This can help reduce the overall cost of IVF and make it more affordable for individuals and couples undergoing fertility treatments.

It’s important to note that not all IVF-related expenses may count towards reaching the EMSN threshold. Only out-of-pocket costs for Medicare-eligible services, such as consultations, blood tests, and ultrasounds, may contribute towards reaching the threshold.

It’s also advisable to contact Medicare or visit their official website for the most up-to-date information on the EMSN thresholds, eligibility criteria, and how it applies to IVF and other medical expenses.

Quality Control in IVF

In in vitro fertilization (IVF), maintaining rigorous quality control is of paramount importance. Our clinic adheres to strict protocols to ensure that the process of fertilisation and embryo development occurs optimally and safely. From ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval to sperm preparation, fertilisation, embryo culture, and transfer, each step is meticulously monitored and evaluated.

Our strict quality control measures help us ensure proper handling of biological specimens, maintaining appropriate environmental condition. Following stringent  protocols for embryo culture and cryopreservation ensures our patient safety, allows us to provide the best possible care and maximises your chances of achieving success in your IVF journey.

Is IVF Painful?

The experience of pain can vary from person to person, and while some individuals may find certain aspects of IVF uncomfortable or mildly painful, others may not experience significant discomfort. It’s important to keep in mind that IVF is a medical procedure involving various steps and interventions, and there can be different sources of discomfort at different stages. Here are some aspects to consider regarding pain in IVF:

  • Hormonal injections: IVF treatment often involves the administration of hormonal injections to stimulate the ovaries and promote the development of multiple eggs. Some individuals may find these injections slightly uncomfortable, but they are typically administered using small needles and the discomfort is often minimal.
  • Egg retrieval: The egg retrieval procedure is performed under anesthesia, so the patient does not experience pain during the procedure itself. Afterward, some individuals may experience mild abdominal discomfort, bloating, or cramping, which usually resolves within a few days.
  • Embryo transfer: The embryo transfer procedure is typically less invasive and is usually not associated with significant pain. Some individuals may feel slight pressure or discomfort during the procedure, but it is generally well-tolerated.
  • Ongoing treatment effects: During the course of hormonal stimulation and ovarian monitoring, some individuals may experience mild side effects such as breast tenderness, bloating, or mood swings. These effects vary from person to person, and not everyone will experience them.

It’s important to discuss any concerns or potential pain management strategies with our fertility experts who will provide you with personalised guidance and address any specific concerns you may have regarding pain or discomfort during the IVF process.

How long does IVF take to get pregnant?

The timeline for getting pregnant through IVF can vary from person to person and depends on various factors.

The entire IVF process, from ovarian stimulation to pregnancy testing, usually takes around 4 to 6 weeks. However, it’s important to keep in mind that not every IVF cycle results in pregnancy, and multiple cycles may be needed to achieve a successful pregnancy. The specific timeline and chances of success can vary based on individual circumstances, such as age, reproductive health, and underlying fertility issues. 

What’s the difference between IVF and in vitro?

In vitro is a Latin term that means “in glass.” In the context of reproductive medicine, “in vitro” refers to any procedure or technique that is performed outside of the body in a laboratory setting. IVF –  In  Vitro Fertilization, on the other hand is a specific type of assisted reproductive technology that involves the fertilisation of eggs with sperm in a laboratory to create embryos.

Are IVF babies normal?

Yes, IVF babies are typically normal and healthy, just like babies conceived naturally. IVF is a widely used fertility treatment that helps couples or individuals overcome infertility and achieve pregnancy.  

Studies have shown that the majority of children born through IVF are as healthy as those naturally conceived. However, it’s important to note that the health and well-being of a baby can be influenced by various factors, including the underlying cause of infertility, the age of the parents, and any pre-existing medical conditions. 

Can I do IVF to have twins?

Yes, it is possible to increase the chances of having twins through IVF, but it’s important to note that the decision to pursue a multiple pregnancy should be carefully considered and discussed with our fertility specialist. The ability to have twins or multiple pregnancies can be influenced by various factors, including the number of embryos transferred during the IVF procedure.

If you have a strong desire to have twins and are considering IVF, it’s important to have an open and honest discussion with our fertility specialists. They can provide you with information about the risks, benefits, and success rates associated with multiple embryo transfers, and guide you in making an informed decision based on your individual circumstances and preferences. Remember twins are double trouble not two for the price of one!