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The assisted conception process

A range of treatment options to help you achieve success

The process

To help you understand the process involved in receiving fertility treatment at the ACU, we’ve created a stage by stage process of what’s involved. It may differ slightly depending on your particular treatment. 

  • Stage 1: getting started

    Complete all the relevant paperwork.

    Attending a consultation with one of our doctors or one of our specialist fertility nurses (if you have not yet had a pre-assessment appointment and inital tests).

  • Stage 2: information evenings

    Information evenings are held once a month and last about an hour.

    During the evening the process of treatment is explained by our clinical team of doctors, nurses and embryrologists.

    This is an opportunity to learn about the entire treatment process and to ask questions to members of the team that will look after you when you start your treatment.

    You can attend the meetings in person, or watch online.

  • Stage 3: medication and monitoring

    You will be advised on when you will be starting your medication. On day one of your period you will be asked to contact the unit to arrange a time to discuss your treatment and arrange your scans and appointments.

    Whilst you are taking your medication you will be asked to come in for some scans and/or blood tests so that we can check and monitor your progress.

  • Stage 4: egg collection

    The doctor and nurses will confirm the day for egg collection. You will be advised on your medication and what to expect on the day.

    The procedure will take up to 20 minutes and mild sedation will be required. You will be expected to be in the unit for about three hours in total.

  • Stage 5: fertilisation and transfer

    The next morning the embryologist carefully examines each egg to see if fertilisation has happened. We will then call you to tell you how many eggs have fertilised.

    Extreme care and rigorous checking protocols are in place at all times in our laboratories. The semen sample is prepared by separating the normal and moving sperm and the sperm and eggs are placed in a dish overnight to allow fertilisation to take place.

    Two to five days after collection the embryos are transferred into the women’s uterus. This is much simpler than egg collection and there is no need for sedation. During the procedure, we use an ultrasound scan to help transfer the embryos.

  • Stage 6: freezing

    It is possible to freeze any spare embryos. We will freeze good quality blastocysts on day five or six of development. A frozen embryo, which has been thawed, is less likely to implant into the lining of the uterus than a fresh one, so we are very selective about the embryos we choose to freeze.

  • Stage 7: pregnancy test

    All women are advised to perform a pregnancy test 11 to 14 days after the embryo replacement, we feel it is important that you do the test and phone the unit to inform us of the result.

    A positive test – this means that one or more embryo have been implanted. You will be invited in to the unit for a scan four weeks after embryo transfer, we will arrange for you to have two scans to see how many embryos have implanted. Sadly, we sometimes diagnose miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies at this stage. If your scans are normal, we will refer you to your GP for antenatal care.

  • Birth

    We have one of the best maternity units in London at St Thomas' Hospital where we offer private and NHS care.

    We are one of the very few assisted conception units that offers a comprehensive service covering conception through to delivery.

    Find out more about our private maternity care at the Westminster Maternity Suite or our NHS maternity care.