IVF – The Very Latest Treatments

IVF has moved on in leaps and bounds, and cutting-edge technology means higher success rates, fewer side effects and less stress. Dear Doctor went in search of some of the latest treatments available.

Natural Cycle IVF

Natural Cycle IVF treatment is carried out without using fertility drugs at all. The success rates can be a bit lower compared to stimulated cycles, but the treatment is safer, less expensive and can be repeated in subsequent cycles. Create Health is the first clinic to offer Natural and Modified Natural IVF as a first option.

Mild Stimulation IVF

Mild Stimulation IVF treatment uses minimal doses of fertility drugs compared to conventional Stimulated IVF, so women are given a lower dose of fertility drugs over a shorter period. Visit Create Health (http://www.createhealth.org) to find out more.

Natural Cycle IVF with IVM

In Vitro Maturation (IVM) involves more embryos being created from a Natural Cycle without using stimulating drugs. This means treatment is safer, less expensive and could have the same advantages of stimulated cycles (i.e. more eggs and embryos from one natural cycle). Create Health (http://www.createhealth.org) is the only clinic in the UK to offer this. 

CAREmaps with Time Lapse Embryo Imaging

CAREmaps is a specialist treatment offered at CARE clinics (http://www.carefertility.com), which enables embryologists to predict which embryos have the highest potential for a successful pregnancy. The most common reason why IVF fails is chromosomal abnormality (known as aneuploidy). The three variables used – Specific Morphokinetic Algorithms, Closed Incubation and Time Lapse Imaging – allow CARE embryologists to detect this aneuploidy and then select the embryo that will give the best chance of a baby.

Array CGH

Chromosome abnormality, or aneuploidy, (see above, where there is either a loss or gain of a chromosome) is a major cause of failure in IVF. Using the technique of Polar Body Array CGH, it’s now possible to screen all the chromosomes in a woman’s egg before the creation of an embryo. Find out more about this technique at CARE clinics (http://www.carefertility.com)

Reproductive Immunology

For a successful pregnancy, the woman’s immune system must allow it to actually happen. Thankfully, new technology means special tests can help couples who are at risk from immune problems to be identified. Treatment that stimulates the proper immune response (immuno-modulation) in the mother can then improve the chances of a successfull pregnancy.

Pre-implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)

This new technology allows genetic testing of an embryo before implantation takes place and ensures that only the embryos that are diagnosed as being free of a specific genetic disorder  are eventually implanted.

Egg Freezing with the Eves Technique

Freezing eggs when a woman is at an early reproductive age can help to preserve fertility and maximise the chances of a future pregnancy. ‘Vitrification’ is a super cooling technique for egg freezing that really improves egg freezing and thawing rates.

IMSI (Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection)

This cutting-edge technique involves using a powerful microscope to see the inside of a sperm and discard the ones that have any abnormalities. Being able to select the healthiest sperm increases the chances of IVF success.

What do you know about fertility foods?


  • Invest in an instant stress buster  to give you a bit of help chilling out – try Bach’s Rescue Remedy (from Holland&Barratt) 
  • Carry a water bottle with you at all times – keeping hydrated is vital as water is crucial for cell development.
  • Stock up on a good range of caffeine free hot drinks – like herbal teas and fruit tisanes – as it’s wise to cut down on caffee when you’re having IVF. 
  • Make up healthy meals in advance so you can take it easy during your treatment, then stock up the freezer and fridge with healthy snacks to quell any junk food cravings. 
  • Buy a warming pad for post-injection swelling and bruising – Boots have a good range. 

Tips for IVF:

  • Don’t worry if you put on a little weight during your treatment, it’s natural.
  • Try and schedule free time when you’re having IVF – book leave from work if possible, or work from home if you can organise it. Keep your diary empty, too – you might not feel like socialising.
  • Write a checklist of things to ask your doctor in advance of your appointment – you might forget once you’re actually there. 
  • Don’t stop exercising – it’s good for mind and body to stay active.
  • Be prepared for hormonal mood swings – they’re part of the process and communicating with your partner about your worries will help.
  • Remember – you are not alone; there are plenty of people out there who can offer support as you go through this process. Signing up to an online forum, such as www.fertilityfighters.co.uk, can be helpful.
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