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In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) in South Africa

IVF is a widely used acronym for in vitro fertilisation, which is the process of fertilising an egg with sperm outside of the human body. This is made possible by facilitating embryo development in a laboratory, instead of in the fallopian tube.

Hundreds of thousands of couples and individuals are affected by infertility. IVF offers an effective, tried and tested method to aid conception, providing the ideal solution to the frustration and heartbreak that afflicts many.

How It Works

IVF in South Africa involves the administration of hormones in either oral or injectable form, which stimulates the ovaries to produce more than one egg. Normally, the ovary would only produce one egg on a monthly basis.

After stimulation, the eggs are harvested from the body using a transvaginal procedure, which is performed under sedation. The eggs and sperm are then placed together in a dish, which is kept under close observation inside an incubator in our lab.

The controlled environment of the incubator is kept at body temperature for between 2 to 5 days so that the eggs and sperm have the opportunity to fuse and create embryos.

During the IVF process, we carefully assess the growth of the embryos and then select the better embryo(s) to be placed back inside the uterus for further development and, hopefully, the start of a successful pregnancy.

Once the pregnancy has been achieved, it is exactly the same as any other ‘naturally’ conceived pregnancy.

What Is ICSI Treatment?

As a highly trusted fertility clinic, Vitalab provides hope with ICSI in South Africa. ICSI is an acronym for intracytoplasmic sperm injection, which literally refers to the injection of a single selected sperm into a mature, harvested egg.

There are three main reasons to make use of ICSI treatment. One of these reasons could be as a result of severe male factor infertility, which refers to a sperm count of less than 10 million sperm per ml. You could also consider ICSI if conventional in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques were unsuccessful in egg fertilisation. Thirdly, this procedure could be considered if abnormal fertilisation continues to occur with conventional IVF techniques.

Up to the point that eggs are fertilised, the procedure for ICSI treatment is exactly the same as that of conventional IVF. Ovaries are stimulated to produce more than one egg and, following this, the eggs are retrieved transvaginally under conscious sedation. Each mature egg that has been retrieved is injected with a single selected sperm – allowing for fertilisation to occur outside the body.

After 3 to 5 days of culture in an incubator, the best embryo(s) are selected. These are then transferred back into the uterus for attachment to the uterine wall and will hopefully lead to a successful conception.

The difference between conventional IVF and ICSI treatment is, therefore, the process of fertilising the eggs – where IVF is the putting together of eggs and sperm to let fertilisation happen spontaneously and ICSI is achieved by injecting a single selected sperm into a single mature egg.

*Please feel free to contact us or fill in the enquiry form if you would like to find out more about our fertility treatment procedures at Vitalab.