March 4, 2005
Detailed description of treatment

Valerie suffered from a hormone imbalance, which caused irregular periods and anovulation. This condition is more commonly known as Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS).

From the initial tests they also discovered that John’s sperm had low motility i.e. his sperm were not strong swimmers and this combined with Valerie’s hormone imbalance was the overall cause of their infertility. {{more}}

Their treatment started with Valerie taking the birth control pill on the first day of her period, this helps to regulate cycles. She also started to take Folic Acid tablets, which helps reduce the risk of spinal deformities in the baby. When Valerie took her last birth control pill she then had her period, and the IVF cycle began.

John and Valerie’s IVF cycle started with follicular stimulation. The follicles are the tiny sacs on the ovaries that produce eggs, by giving a hormone injection this increases the number of follicles that ripen so the clinic could collect and fertilise several eggs. This maximises the couple’s chance of a pregnancy. The hormones that are injected are ones that the body produces naturally but in a higher dosage.

Valerie was also prescribed low strength adult aspirin to thin the blood and get a better blood flow to the uterus and the ovaries; this also helps to prevent the body from attacking the embryo.

Blood tests and ultrasounds were performed regularly to monitor the growth of these follicles; an injection of hCG was given for final maturation of the eggs.

Then under a light anaesthetic, 36 hours after the hCG injection they inserted a fine needle into the follicles through the vaginal wall using ultrasound guidance.

At the same time John provided a semen sample. A sperm was then injected into the middle of each egg – the cytoplasm. All the eggs fertilized.

Two days after the eggs were retrieved Valerie returned to hospital to have the embryo’s transferred back to the womb. Two embryos of Grade 1 quality, were chosen for transfer.

It was important that Valerie had a full bladder at the time of the embryo transfer procedure, this ensures the correct placement of the embryos. She then started Cyclogest pessaries, the progesterone hormone, to support the pregnancy they hoped would occur.

There are so many factors that affect the successful outcome. One of the simplest being that no perfume or aftershave should be worn during the procedures, as it is toxic to embryos.