After many months or even years of coping with infertility issues and failed cycles, couples who do not want to give up on their dream to start a family may decide to undertake IVF abroad. When considering In-Vitro Fertilisation, you may feel a bit intimidated by not knowing what to expect and what are the procedures involved. That uncertainty, could lead to feeling unnecessarily stressed. For that reason, we have decided to give you an overview of the stages involved so you can have peace of mind and know why you are in expert hands with Team Miracle at Cyprus IVF Centre.
IVF Treatment Phases
1. Initial Contact
Once you complete our contact form, our Senior Patient Coordinator will give you all the necessary information regarding the treatment, process, medication, etc. If you have any questions about any aspect of the cycle, you can have them answered before you arrive at the Cyprus IVF Centre for the IVF treatment in Cyprus. Your emotional well-being is just as important to us as the medical aspects and we want you to be as calm as possible. So, feel free to ask any question that comes to mind! There are no “silly” questions. We totally understand your concerns, especially if you have never had fertility treatment abroad.
If you decide that you want to use your own eggs as opposed to the use of egg donors, you will need to have some hormone blood tests (FSH, LH, AMH, TSH, E2, and Prolactin) carried out between days 2-4 of your period and an ultrasound scan before the treatment can begin. Please note that we require fertility test results no older than 6 months (based on the date you are planning to fly to North Cyprus). In addition, we will need a trans-vaginal Antral Follicle Count that can be done by either your family doctor or any private fertility clinic around where you live. If you are struggling to find somewhere to carry out the pre-treatment tests, your Team Miracle coordinator can help by getting you in contact with our partner clinic in the UK and across the world. Of course, you may also come at the Cyprus IVF Centre and have all the necessary tests and your full treatment here. In this case, please plan your trip to arrive in Cyprus on day 1 of your menstrual cycle and make arrangements so that you can stay here for about 20 days.
Email the results of your test to your assigned patient coordinator and they will consult Our doctors regarding whether you can indeed use your own eggs and proceed with IVF treatment in Cyprus. Then, you can plan your exact treatment dates
Our doctors will assess your hormonal profile and prepare a uniquely tailored treatment protocol that will best meet your particular needs. Each treatment protocol comes with detailed instructions on what medication to take and at what dose. The protocol uses a combination of drugs to boost your reproductive potential, help your ovaries to produce more eggs and minimise the miscarriage rate.
We will send you a prescription for the required medication that you can purchase before your IVF treatment from your local pharmacy or our UK distributor that delivers worldwide at Cyprus prices. We can even help you get them for free or low cost if your country has a medication scheme that you could benefit from.
Needless to say, our patient care coordinators are always by your side from your initial enquiry till after birth and are there to answer your questions and help you cope with any concerns you may have. So don’t hesitate to email or call them.
From day 2-11 of your menstrual cycle, you will be administered a gonadotropin injection every day to help grow any follicles in your ovaries. From day 6-11 of your IVF cycle, you will be administered another gonadotropin called Cetrotide (also injected) that will prevent ovulation. This is critical as we need you to ovulate when you are here at Cyprus IVF Centre and not before.
If you need any additional stimulation before the egg collection, Our doctors will let you know after you have a trans-vaginal ultrasound scan.
4. Your arrival with Team Miracle at Cyprus IVF Centre
We are expecting you at our clinic on day 10 of your IVF treatment unless you have decided to have the entire treatment here, in which case you will need to come on your first day of your period. The evening of your arrival our patient coordinator will contact you regarding your appointment for the following day. A chauffeur will wait for you in the morning to bring you to the Cyprus IVF Centre, where you will meet Team Miracle and have the trans-vaginal ultrasound scan to assess follicle growth.
If you are ready for the HCG injection, the maturing process can be completed. You will need to inject the HCG trigger at around midnight that same day. The following evening, you will start fasting at midnight as you are not allowed to drink or eat prior to the egg collection because you will be sedated during the process.
It is important to stick to the time-related instructions provided to you because the egg collection process will need to take place exactly 36 hours after the HCG injection.
5. Egg Collection
You will be shown to your luxurious private room at the Cyprus IVF Centre hospital, where you will wear a sterile disposable garment, plastic shoe covers and hair net. When it is time for your egg collection, you are taken to the operating theatre and be administered a sedative, so you are asleep the entire time of the procedure.
Once our doctors collects the eggs, they will be transferred to our state-of-the-art laboratory to initiate the fertilisation phase. At the same time, your partner will need to provide a semen sample, unless you are using donor sperm. The sperm sample is analysed and washed using the highly-advanced ICSI procedure, which dramatically increases the number of fertilised eggs and is entirely free at Cyprus IVF Centre with each IVF treatment, to isolate the sperm with best motility.
6. Embryo Development
Team Miracle will give you the option to use the EmbryoScope time lapsed imaging incubator for an additional 700 EUR or to use the normal benchtop incubator which is included in the treatment price.
If you choose to use the benchtop incubator, the oocytes are incubated for 24 hours after which our embryologist will confirm fertilisation and a patient coordinator will contact you to give you information about the number of embryos in pronuclear stage and subsequently the fertilisation rate.
With the benchtop incubator, we will not remove the embryos to check them everyday. Instead we will leave them to develop over the course of the next few days as undisturbed as possible. Every time the embryos are removed from the incubator, the change in temperature, humidity, CO2 concentration and other gases could affect their development.
If you choose the EmbryoScope incubator, it will start photographing the embryos as soon as they are placed in the incubator after ICSI. Photos will be taken every 10 minutes throughout the five day development and will then be combined into a video. You will receive daily photo updates of your embryo development and will be given a DVD to take home with you. The EmbryoScope allows constant monitoring of the embryos without ever removing them from the stable environment of the incubator.
7. Embryo Transfer
On the third day of embryo development, day 3 after egg collection, our doctors will determine whether she will wait until day 5 to transfer the embryos into your uterus or do it on day 3. At this point, if you have opted for PGD chromosome analysis to make sure the embryos do not have a chromosomal abnormality or genetic disorder, the embryologist will take the embryo biopsy. You must have a day 5 blastocyst transfer if you are having PGD.
You will be informed of the surviving embryos and their quality so you can decide how many embryos you would like transferred. We usually recommend the transfer of 4 embryos to increase your pregnancy rate, but we can transfer one or two or three if that’s what you prefer. The decision is always made by the patient. Team Miracle will simply advise.
The preparation is similar to that of the egg collection process (wear sterilised gown, etc.). You will not need sedation though, which means that you can eat and drink as you please before the procedure. Since we need you to have a full bladder, please drink plenty of fluids about an hour before the embryo transfer.
With the use of ultrasound, our doctors will guide a catheter through the vagina and cervix (that have been cleaned with a sterile solution beforehand) and place the embryo into the uterus in the best position for implantation. EmbryoGlue is the chosen culture medium included for free with all treatments however you can also opt for EmbryoGen or BlastGen if you prefer. After the procedure, you will need to remain flat for a couple of hours and stay as relaxed as possible. After a few days you can go back to your normal routine, always keeping in mind the instructions we will give you.
You can freeze any remaining good quality embryos you have left after the transfer and use them at a later time.
8. The Pregnancy Test
To find out if your cycle is a success you will need to have an HCG blood test 12 days after the embryo transfer.
If the test is negative, you will need to stop all medication and will have a bleed a couple of weeks after that. However, this is rarely the case with our patients. In their overwhelming majority (almost 90% of patients in 2016), most cases end up with a successful pregnancy.
If the pregnancy test is positive, it is critical you continue taking the medication prescribed by our doctors for 3 months to maintain the artificially increased hormone levels in your system. This will give the placenta the time required to grow strong and be able to support a baby on its own.
You can then contact your family doctor and plan an early ultrasound scan at 7 weeks’ gestation to hear his or her heartbeat and find out how many babies you are carrying.
As mentioned previously, Team Miracle coordinators are very aware of how daunting the IVF process can be. We will do everything in our power to reassure you, comfort you and help you through each stage of your IVF journey. We pride ourselves on providing the highest level of service in Europe and, although the pregnancy outcome is the number one aim, we also believe that a happy and enjoyable experience of reaching that goal is just as important. Please get in contact for any further information regarding the treatment options by Team Miracle at Cyprus IVF Centre.