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Embryology

Semen Analysis

Q.What will a semen analysis test tell me about the quality of my sperm?
A. A semen analysis is carried out to estimate the number of sperm, their movement (motility) and shape (morphology).

Q. When will I get the results from my semen analysis?
A. Your results will be given to you by your doctor at your next clinic appointment. Unfortunately we cannot give you these results over the telephone.

Q.Where do I produce my semen sample?
A. We have dedicated rooms on-site for sample production. We recommend semen samples to be produced on-site, however if you are unable to use our rooms you may produce at home as long as you can get the sample to the ACS within 60 minutes. You must use a sample pot provided by the ACS.


Sperm Freeze

Q. I will be away on the day of my partner’s IUI /egg collection. How can I provide a sperm sample for treatment?
A. If you are aware that you are unable to attend the unit on the day of treatment, you may be able to make an appointment for back-up sperm storage. You would need to attend an appointment for bloods and consents to be taken and then make a second appointment before the treatment day to ensure we can freeze a sperm sample to use on the day of treatment.


Sperm Preparation

Q.What does “sperm washing” mean?
A.Before the sperm is used for treatment, the sample is washed to separate the sperm from the ejaculate. The washing procedure can also help to isolate the sperm with more movement.


IUI

Q.What can I expect from an IUI procedure?
A.The procedure is very similar to a smear test. A speculum is inserted into the vagina in order to pass a catheter through the cervix. Attached to the catheter is a syringe containing prepared (‘washed’) sperm. When the catheter is in the correct position the operator will depress the syringe and the sperm will be deposited into the uterus. The catheter is very fine and is normally not felt by the patient.


Oocyte Retrieval

Q.Will I find out how many eggs were collected on the day of treatment?
A. Yes, the doctor performing your egg collection will meet with you after the procedure to discuss the number of eggs that were collected. 


IVF

Q. What is IVF?
A. IVF involves the collection of eggs directly from the ovaries using a needle. Washed sperm are added to a dish containing the eggs and the sperm are left to swim to the eggs on their own. The ‘best’ sperm that reaches the egg first should hopefully enter the egg and fertilise it.

The sperm and eggs are left in the dish together overnight and the eggs checked for fertilisation the following morning.


ICSI

Q. What is ICSI?
A. ICSI involves the collection of eggs directly from the ovaries using a needle, then the injection of a single sperm into each mature egg to create embryos. ICSI is often recommended to patients if the sperm quality is not high enough to fertilise your eggs using IVF. ICSI can also be recommended to patients with previously low or complete failure of fertilisation in previous treatment.

Q. I have a normal sperm count, why is ICSI still recommended for our treatment?
A. We currently find a higher success rate with ICSI rather than IVF so we recommend this method of treatment for all of our patients. The risks of both IVF and ICSI will be explained to you at your first clinic appointment. We are happy to perform IVF if this is your preferred treatment. If you wish to talk about treatment using IVF you can discuss this with your clinician and our scientific team.  

Q. Why aren’t all of my eggs suitable for ICSI?
A. Only mature eggs have the capacity to fertilise, so before an ICSI procedure your eggs will be assessed for maturity. Only the mature eggs will be used for ICSI.


Fertilisation Check

Q. How many of my eggs should I expect to fertilise?
A. Our average fertilisation rate with ICSI is around 70%. Some people may have a higher fertilisation rate and some people may have a lower rate.

Q. When will I find out how many of my eggs have fertilised?
A. The embryologist will carry out a fertilisation check on your eggs the morning after your egg collection. You will receive a call on the same morning of the fertilisation check and the embryologist will inform you of your fertilisation results. You should expect the call to be before 12 noon from and this may be from an 0800 number.


Embryo Grading

Q. What is a blastocyst?
A. A blastocyst is an embryo that has reached the stage with two distinct cell types, the inner cell mass and trophectoderm, with a fluid filled space in the middle. Embryos are expected to reach blastocyst stage on day 5 of development.

Q. How will you assess my embryos?
A. Embryo grading is carried out on day 3 and day 5 after your egg collection. On day 3 the embryologist will count the cell numbers and will take into account any fragmentation and unevenness of the cells. On day 5 blastocysts are graded by how expanded they are and the appearance of two cell types, the inner cell mass and the trophectoderm.

We are currently developing information leaflets to help us describe your embryo development in more detail. These should be available in the ACS waiting room and the consultation rooms in the very near future.  


Embryo transfer

Q. What should I expect during an embryo transfer procedure?
A. The embryo transfer is very similar to a smear test. A speculum is inserted into the vagina in order to pass a catheter through the cervix. The embryo/s are deposited from the catheter into the uterus. The catheter is very fine and is normally not felt by the patient. An abdominal scan is used for guidance during the embryo transfer procedure.

Q. What is the difference between a day 3 or day 5 transfer?
A. Transfer days are based upon assessment of your embryo/s in the laboratory, which occur on day 3 and day 5. If there are a group of embryos on day 3 that have a similar appearance and embryo selection for transfer cannot be made, then a day 5 transfer will be arranged with you. If the embryologists can identify an embryo on day 3 that will be suitable for transfer, then they will arrange a day 3 transfer with you.

Q. Can I take a picture of my embryo?
A. We do not allow any photography in any areas of the ACS, therefore you will be unable to take a picture of your embryo.


Embryo freezing (Vitrification)

Q. I didn’t have any embryos frozen, what does this mean?
A. For an embryo to survive the freezing and thawing process it must be at the correct stage of development and be a suitable quality. Your embryologist will meet with you before your transfer and they will discuss your embryo quality with you. If any surplus embryo/s meet our criteria we will freeze (vitrify) and store the embryo/s for you.  Some embryos may not make it to the correct stage of development or they may not meet the criteria for quality, which is why we are unable to freeze/vitrify them.

Q. When will I find out how many embryos I have frozen?
A. You will find out if any of your embryos have been frozen (vitrified) the day after your embryo transfer. We ask you to call the scientific team and an embryologist will tell you this information.

Q. How many embryos will I have frozen?
A. Embryo freezing is dependant on embryo quality. The embryologist will assess your embryos on the morning of your embryo transfer and will assess whether any surplus embryos are suitable for freezing. 


Warm/ Thaw/ Frozen Embryo Transfer

Q. How many embryos are likely to survive the freezing and thawing procedures?
A. Currently, our average our survival rate for blastocysts (day 5 embryos) is around 99% and our thawing survival rate for early (day 1 embryos) is around 90%.


PGD

Q. When will I get my results from the biopsy?
A. Biopsies that are carried out on Day 3 will have results returned the following morning if FISH has been used, or up to two days later if PCR has been used.