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FAQs

It is crucial that you visit a specialist as soon as possible if you are experiencing fertility issues.

This is largely because female fertility is known to decrease with age. Therefore, any other issues that may be preventing you from conceiving, should be dealt with at the earliest opportunity.

It’s also important to plan your visit between the 10th and 25th day of the menstrual cycle, when bleeding does not occur, as your doctor will usually perform an intravaginal ultrasound examination during your first appointment.

If menstruation does occur during the visit, then the diagnosis will be limited to a transabdominal ultrasound.

Before the first visit it is a good idea to get all your documents ready and prepare what information you are going to share, as this will help you to stay calm and stress-free as your appointment approaches.

Your doctor will make more time for your first appointment as during the course of it, he will ask for quite a large amount of information.

This information will include the date of your last period, the regularity of your period and the length of your cycles. They will also ask about any previous treatment you may have had. Your doctor will usually be aware of the results of already performed tests, however it may still be a good idea to have these available.

It is very important to take identification with you to your appointment, as without it the visit may not be able to go ahead. This can include a driving licence or passport.

Along with this a medical questionnaire, that will be emailed to you, should be completed by you and your partner to prepare for your visit.

As the doctor will be forming an assessment of your medical background, you should bring all of your medical test results and be ready to provide information about any previous medical treatments. This includes the current history of your fertility treatment, which involves the results of any hormonal tests, semen analysis, imaging tests, descriptions of performed procedures and operations (including histopathological examinations) or information cards from hospital stays.

Your partner’s medical history should also be provided for a full assessment of your situation.

Yes, we would recommend that you bring the results of any tests undergone elsewhere with you to your initial consultation.

Yes, we would recommend that you bring the results of any tests undergone within the NHS with you to your initial consultation.

Private healthcare plans do not usually cover IVF treatment, although it is possible that some plans may cover some of the initial investigations for fertility, depending on the individual policy.

Not at the present time but we do have a range of IVF treatment packages to cater for different situations which can be found here.

Treatment is carefully tailored for each patient and their individual circumstances and our packages help to maximise your chances of success whilst limiting the cost of treatment.

We have no waiting lists for appointments so consultations are usually available within a week.

We would recommend that both partners of a couple attend consultations. It is also mandatory for both partners to sign the consent forms for treatment. For convenience some of our appointments can be carried out remotely via Zoom to minimise the number of visits to the clinic.

No a GP referral is not necessary, you can self refer to us either by calling us on 01925 202180 or emailing contact@reproductivehealthgroup.co.uk

The cost of all of our treatments is listed on our prices page. The amount you pay may differ on the different aspects of treatment you need.

Before the egg retrieval procedure you will undergo several different tests and screenings, so it is important that you have your medical records ready.

A few days before the procedure, your midwife will verify that your medical records contain all the necessary results. These will include morphology, virology, electrolytes, blood group and APTT – coagulation system.

If these records aren’t all available, then you may be asked to bring them on the day of the procedure.

You will also be asked to remove all nail decorations, including varnish before the day of the procedure. This is due to the fact that during the procedure, they may cause an incorrect saturation reading, which is generated by a sensor placed on your nail.

In the weeks before the procedure your ovaries will be stimulated to prepare them for egg retrieval. You can read more about how your body will be prepared for the procedure on our egg freezing page.

Due to the in-depth nature of the procedure, IVF is one of the most successful fertility treatments available.

For more information, feel free to visit our success rates page.

The age limit for treatment is 52, however as ovarian reserve is known to decrease with chronological age, some women may need to consider the use of donor eggs for any treatment undertaken.

There is no restriction for starting treatment however BMI must be below 35 in order to undergo embryo transfer.

The difference is in how the egg is fertilised by the sperm. In IVF, the egg is placed in culture media in a laboratory dish with multiple prepared sperm. In ICSI, a single sperm is selected by the embryologist and then injected directly into the egg.

Protocol refers to the specific treatment that you will undertake as part of the IVF process – your personal schedule for how the treatment will be carried out, which fertility drugs you will take and when procedures will take place. ‘Long protocol’ is the standard process and starts on day 21 of your menstrual cycle, when you will begin taking drugs by daily injection to suppress your hormones until you are ready to start the ovarian stimulation medication. Alternatively ‘short protocol’ starts on day 2 of the cycle and goes directly to the ovarian stimulation phase. This is sometimes suggested if a woman hasn’t produced sufficient eggs on the long protocol or is at risk of ovarian hyperstimulation. Both protocols involve careful monitoring to confirm the right time for egg collection.

Keeping fit and healthy, maintaining a balanced diet, taking regular anti-oxidants (including ubiquinol, vitamin D3, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, omega 3 and beta-carotene) at the recommended dosage, reducing the level of alcohol intake and stop smoking are all good ways to negatively affect eggs and sperm quality. To date there is, however, no robust evidence to show that a specific remedy may improve significantly the quality of gametes, and repair any existing damage related to chronological age, surgery, injuries, chemo- and/or radio-therapy.

Yes it still possible to achieve an IVF pregnancy if your AMH level is low, but the prognosis is dependent on chronological age.

Private healthcare plans do not usually cover IVF treatment, although it is possible that some plans may cover some of the initial investigations for fertility, depending on the individual policy.

Not at the present time but we do have a range of IVF treatment packages to cater for different situations which can be found here.

Treatment is carefully tailored for each patient and their individual circumstances and our packages help to maximise your chances of success whilst limiting the cost of treatment.

Yes, there are no eligibility restrictions at RHG relating to existing children.

We have no waiting lists for appointments so consultations are usually available within a week.

As an embryo develops it constantly changes and develops. In order to monitor these developments conventionally the embryologist must remove the dish containing the embryo from the incubator. Although these observations are done as quickly as possible to minimize the chance of any damage to the embryo, they can only provide a brief ‘snap shot’ of its development. A time lapse system allows the embryos to remain in a stable, controlled environment without the need to remove them as photographs of their development are taken every 5 minutes. The embryologists are then able to analyse the results of this monitoring to help them select the most suitable embryos for transfer and cryopreservation.

During a typical IVF treatment cycle, you will need to attend an initial consultation, any screening tests or investigations required, consents signing, medications teach, monitoring scans, egg collection and embryo transfer, as well as any counselling required. However it is possible to undergo several of these steps by remote consultation in order to reduce the number of actual visits to the clinic that are necessary and it may also be possible to arrange some face to face appointments for times or days which reduce the amount of time to be taken off work.

Your chances of success with IVF are likely to be increased if you maintain a healthy, balanced diet, cut down on smoking, alcohol, any recreational drugs or steroids and caffeine intake. You should also try to maintain a healthy BMI which is neither too high or too low.

We would recommend that both partners of a couple attend consultations. It is also mandatory for both partners to sign the consent forms for treatment. For convenience some of our appointments can be carried out remotely via Zoom to minimise the number of visits to the clinic.

At RHG we believe that taking an integrated approach to fertility treatment can benefit our patients before, during and after their treatment. We have a dedicated team of Patient Support Partners who offer a full range of specialised complementary treatments, including acupuncture, nutrition, reflexology, reiki, hypnotherapy, fertility coaching and counselling. For more information please see here:

https://www.reproductivehealthgroup.co.uk/partners/

Yes.

Yes, we are able to see patients from outside the UK.

£5950 using a known donor, £7750 if using an unknown donor – excluding consultations, screening bloods, medications, freezing and storage.

A child conceived through donor treatment performed at a licensed HFEA clinic is entitled to contact the HFEA to obtain the following information about the donor once they reach the age of 16:

  • a physical description (height, weight, eye and hair colour)
  • the year and country of birth
  • their ethnicity
  • whether they had any children at the time of donation, how many and their gender
  • their marital status
  • their medical history
  • a personal description and goodwill message to any potential children (if they chose to write one at the time of their donation).

Once they reach 18, they can approach the HFEA for details of the donor’s name, date of birth and last known address.

Yes, an egg donor can withdraw consent up to the point of embryo transfer.

Yes, you can choose your own egg donor, provided that certain criteria – age, satisfactory ovarian reserve, good general health and no viral diseases – are met. In the UK, egg donation can be through a ‘known‘ or ‘unknown’ donor. In either case the donor is not anonymous, which means that the individual donating has to be registered as a donor with the HFEA and the child has the right to trace the biological parent at the age of 18.

Recipients of egg donation are asked to attend counselling with our trained fertility counsellor to ensure they are fully aware of all the implications of using donated eggs. We have an ‘IVF Buddy’ available for support and advice on any aspect of treatment. The national charity Fertility Network UK also offers support to anyone experiencing fertility issues.

Before embarking on treatment with donated eggs it is important to prepare yourself both physically and emotionally. Physically make sure you are in the best health possible and look at any potential lifestyle changes you could make to improve your chances of success. Ensure that you are aware of the legal implications and have fully understood the consent forms that you will be asked to sign. Meet with our counsellor to talk through the emotional implications of the treatment you are about to undergo. Our experienced team are always on hand to help explain anything you are uncertain or unsure about.

First of all an initial consultation will be required to see if egg donation is a suitable treatment for you. Your medical and reproductive history will be thoroughly reviewed and any investigations or tests organised. Following this the IVF process takes place and your donor’s eggs will be fertilised with the sperm of either your partner or a sperm donor, then transferred back into your uterus.

Eggs are frozen using a fast freezing technique known as ‘vitrification’. This involves rapid cooling to avoid the formation of any ice crystals and helps to preserve the cells in the eggs, giving a better chance of a successful outcome once they are thawed for use in an IVF cycle.

Ideally women should freeze their eggs before the age of 36 to give themselves the best chance of a successful live birth in the future.

It is recommended that women should freeze their eggs before the age of 36 in order to have a greater chance of a future live birth. After this age both the quantity and quality of eggs produced is likely to be lower, however ovarian reserve testing would have to be undertaken first to determine whether egg freezing would be recommended.

The process begins with an initial consultation to discuss your medical history and any investigations or screening that may need to be undertaken. Following on from this your ovaries will be prepared by the use of medication which stimulate the ovaries to produce as many eggs as possible in the next cycle. Progress of the stimulation will be monitored by ultrasound scans and sometimes blood tests to establish the optimum time for egg collection. At egg collection the mature eggs that are retrieved will be frozen using a technique called vitrification and put into storage. Learn more about egg freezing.

£3450 excluding consultations, screening bloods, medications and storage.

Currently the standard storage period is for up to 10 years. It may be possible in certain circumstances to store eggs for longer, for example in cases where a woman may become prematurely infertile due to medical treatment such as chemotherapy.

The age of the patient at the time that her eggs are frozen is a vital factor when looking at success rates for egg freezing. The best chances of a successful outcome are for those patients who freeze their eggs before the age of 35 (as they are likely to produce both a higher number and a higher quality of eggs), who have a good ovarian reserve and are in good general health. Only eggs which are mature at the point of egg collection will be frozen.

About 80% of eggs survive the thawing process and are suitable for fertilisation by ICSI, and about 60-65% of the injected eggs fertilise successfully.

The procedure to harvest the eggs before freezing is performed via transvaginal ultrasound guidance and under sedation in theatre. Usually the recovery period post-procedure is about 2 hours and pain-killers can be taken if necessary. Regular activities are resumed within 16-24 hours in the majority of cases.

No, undergoing egg freezing does not affect your chances of conceiving naturally in the future.

It is vital that preparation starts with an initial consultation with your fertility specialist; your medical and reproductive history will be discussed and your consultant may recommend some investigations or tests first before proceeding any further. These will usually be a blood test (anti-Mullerian hormone – AMH) to look at your ovarian reserve and possibly an ultrasound scan too which will be to check the antral follicle count (AFC). You will also need some viral screening tests and will then be asked to sign the relevant consent forms.

Once you are ready to go ahead, your ovaries will need to be stimulated. This will be done by taking fertility drugs to help maximise the number of eggs produced during your next cycle. One of our nursing team will invite you for a medications teach session before you start the drugs so that you can be confident about administering these to yourself during your stimulation phase.

As with a conventional IVF cycle, you will need to attend an initial consultation, have any screening tests or investigations required, sign consent forms, have a medications teach and monitoring scans, and finally egg collection. However where appropriate it is possible to undergo several of these steps by remote consultation in order to minimise the number of actual visits to the clinic.

Yes, if you don’t use your eggs you can choose to donate them either to someone else to use or for research purposes.

Sperm count is affected by lifestyle factors such as lifestyle factor such as diet, smoking and drinking, stress and illness. Men should aim to have a healthy diet and cut down on smoking, drinking and stress to optimise their sperm count.

Problems with sperm, including low count and poor motility, are quite common. Approximately 1 in 3 couples who experience difficulty in achieving a pregnancy naturally have a problem related to issues with sperm.

Sperm motility is the movement of the sperm. Sperm need to be able to move efficiently in order to reach and fertilise an egg in the female partner’s reproductive tract. Poor sperm motility can be a cause of male factor infertility.

Improving low sperm quality, like most fertility problems, will depend largely on the individual.

Sperm abnormalities can occur for a variety of reasons, which can range from previous medical treatment, medications that you are taking or increased temperature of the testes.

Because of this, the best way to find out how to improve your personal situation is to book in for a consultation.

To prepare for the insemination procedure, it is important to have any relevant medical information ready to provide.

As well as this, you should aim to abstain from sexual activity for three to five days, to ensure the correct concentration of sperm.

A sperm analysis may be required if a couple are having trouble conceiving. This should be carried out at the beginning of infertility diagnosis, preferably before the first visit to the infertility treatment clinic.

However, there are other situations during which a sperm analysis may be required, these include before or after a surgical procedure involving the reproductive system or when considering preserving male fertility.

The latest sperm quality standards from the World Health Organization (WHO) are as follows:

WHO standards from 2010 

  • Ejaculate volume: ≥ 1.5 mL pH: 7.0 – 8.0
  • Sperm count: ≥ 15 million / mL
  • Sperm count in ejaculate ≥ 39 million / mL
  • Percentage of sperm with normal mobility: ≥ 32% with progressive mobility
  • Morphology (structure): ≥ 4% sperm in the correct shape
  • Viability:> 58% sperm
  • Leukocytes in semen: <1 million / mL
  • Agglutination test (MAR, IBT): <50% sperm

The test will be an accurate representation of the sperm on the day the test is done, however results can fluctuate according to factors such as illness or stress.

Yes it is possible to produce the sample at home but it then needs to reach the laboratory within 60 minutes of production.

Our ‘Male Fertility Assessment’ includes a semen analysis and a follow up consultation with one of our fertility specialists to discuss the findings.

After 2 days of abstinence and when you are in good health, not suffering from any illnesses. Semen analyses are not affected by the time of day they are undertaken.

You can contact us directly to make an appointment – online here, by telephone on 01925 202180 or by email at contact@reproductivehealthgroup.co.uk

No you can self refer for a semen analysis or for other male fertility tests, a referral is not necessary.

If you would like to find out more about RHG, our facilities or treatments, you can contact us online here.  Alternatively, you can call us on 01925 202180, and we will be more than happy to assist you with any other advice.