IVF and ICSI


You may have come across these acronyms and wondered what the difference is.

In simple words:
IVF is a process where eggs are removed from your ovaries and mixed with sperm in a laboratory culture dish (in vitro). Fertilisation happens naturally in this dish. ICSI is ‘intracytoplasmic sperm injection’ – where a single sperm is selected and then individually injected into the egg.

Getting Pregnancy Assistance


Read about other options to assist in your journey to parenthood.


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Not falling pregnant


Infertility is the inability to conceive after a year of unprotected intercourse.


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Your IVF Journey


IVF isn’t something that can be done quickly. Read more about the journey when you consider IVF treatment.


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IVF treatment in more detail

Not everyone’s journey to parenthood is straightforward. Below is what your journey with In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) typically might look like.

Your first step:
This can be the hardest step but it is important to know that you are not alone.

  • Before you call to book an appointment with me as your specialist, you will need a referral from your general practitioner.
  • When you call, our friendly staff will book an appointment for you and your partner
  • All information is taken under the strictest of confidence.
ivf treatment

IVF Treatment: Your Initial Consultation:
Typically, your first consultation will involve the following steps:

  1. Meeting the specialist, who will listen and hear your personal story for parenthood.
  2. The specialist will take a detailed medical history of both partners.
  3. Reviewing of any previous relevant test results.
  4. You and your partner may be examined depending on your history.
  5. Additional tests will be planned out over the following weeks.

Sometimes, further tests may be required of both the male and female partner. Among these are tests needed to establish your reproductive health. We may also suggest start taking folic acid.

Your feelings are Important:
Your pathway to parenthood can arouse complex feelings. Some may find discussing fertility issues with friends and family difficult. For this reason we are happy to recommend trusted help.

The 7 Steps:
Every IVF cycle can vary for different patients, but most follow these six stages.

  1. At the beginning of your menstrual cycle you undergo ovarian hyperstimulation with injected medications with the aim of producing a lot of eggs.
  2. You undergo a series of blood tests and ultrasounds over a week or 2.
  3. You are then ‘triggered’ with another injection to mature the eggs.
  4. You undergo a transvaginal egg collection under an anaesthetic.
  5. Sperm that your partner has supplied (or donated sperm) is then used to fertilise the eggs in the laboratory.
  6. Embryos are then incubated over several days in the laboratory.
  7. On day 5 post collection, an embryo is transferred back into your womb.

Is Your IVF Treatment a Success?

You will have a pregnancy test about 2 weeks after the embryo is transferred.

A Positive Test:
You will have weekly blood tests to assess your pregnancy hormones. At approximately 7 weeks you will then have a transvaginal ultrasound to look for a fetal heartbeat.

A Negative Test:
This indicates that the embryo transfer has not been successful. If you are lucky enough to have other embryos frozen you will be able to have another transferred a few months after your IVF cycle.

Frozen Embryos:
Embryos are rapidly frozen and transformed into crystalline form. Your surplus embryos can be thawed and used later.

The ICSI Journey

ICSI, or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection, is when 1 sperm is microinjected into an egg for fertilisation.

In IVF each egg is surrounded by about 100 000 sperm and fertilisation happens according to ‘survival of the fittest’. ICSI however is where a simple good-looking mobile sperm is selected and injected into the egg under microscopic guidance. Following this fertilisation and embryo development occurs as with IVF.

All other aspects of the ICSI journey are similar to the IVF journey.

ICSI can be the recommended avenue in specific situations:

  • When the man’s sperm count is very low
  • In case the sperm has low motility or high abnormalities
  • When a conventional IVF cycle resulted in a fertilisation failure
  • ICSI is also used with preimplantation genetic screening/diagnosis
  • ICSI

    Useful links

    IVF isn’t something that can be done quickly. Check out the IVF journey in more detail.

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    Dr Tamara Hunter |Perth Gynaecologist & Fertility Specialist

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