Frequently Asked Questions about In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)


At Medfem Fertility Clinic, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of the most advanced fertility treatments, including IVF or in vitro fertilization, which has helped create millions of families worldwide.

In this article, we briefly provide answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions about IVF and invite you to contact us at our clinic, conveniently located in Bryanston, Sandton in Johannesburg, South Africa to find out more about this life-changing assisted reproduction therapy.

FAQ 1: What is IVF?

In vitro fertilisation or IVF treatment is a process of assisted reproduction therapy (ART). During this process – in very simplified terms – the egg and sperm are fertilised outside of the body to form an embryo, which is then transferred to the uterus to hopefully implant and become a pregnancy.

However, IVF treatment is not a single event, but rather a series of procedures that are completed over five stages in a treatment cycle. The five basic stages in the IVF treatment process are Ovarian Stimulation and Monitoring (Stage 1); Egg Retrieval (Stage 2); Fertilisation and Embryo Development (Stage 3); Embryo Transfer (Stage 4); and Luteal Phase (Stage 5).

IVF treatments usually commence with a course of hormone therapy in Stage 1. This therapy aims to stimulate the development of several follicles in which the eggs grow in the ovary. During Stage 2, using ultrasound guidance, these follicles are punctured with a specialised needle to retrieve the eggs in the follicles. In Stage 3, the eggs are fertilised in a petri dish (‘in vitro’ which literally means ‘in glass’) to create several embryos (fertilised eggs). These embryos are developed in an incubator for three to five days. Stage 4 follows with one or two of these embryos being transferred through the vagina to the uterus, where implantation hopefully occurs, and pregnancy begins. The whole process from commencement of ovarian stimulation up to the embryo transfer stage usually takes around three weeks. Stage 5 – the Luteal phase – is the two-week period between the embryo transfer (Stage 4) and the pregnancy test which is performed 14 days after embryo transfer.

It is also important to remember that there are also different types of IVF treatments. These include:

* hyper stimulated IVF treatment
* mild IVF treatment
* low dose IVF treatment
* low cost IVF treatment
* natural cycle IVF treatment
* modified natural cycle IVF treatment.

FAQ 2: Who is IVF for?

While IVF treatment was originally developed for women with damaged or missing fallopian tubes, it is also used for a variety of other infertility problems, particularly for male factor problems, endometriosis and advanced maternal age. It is also used when infertility cannot be explained and to treat ovulatory or structural causes of infertility such as cervical problems; fibroids; ovulation problems; polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS); and IUI failure.

FAQ 3: Is IVF treatment successful?

Over the last 30 years, IVF has proven to be a safe and effective fertility treatment and has helped millions of couples around the world to become parents.

In fact, since 1983, IVF has been the standard treatment for infertility and more than 5 million babies have been born worldwide as a result of IVF treatment. The success rates of IVF treatment are now comparable – and even superior – to those of nature.

At Medfem Fertility Clinic, our IVF pregnancy rates are among the highest in the nation and our success rates are consistent with the highest reported amongst clinics worldwide. The primary success rate – represented by the percentage of clinical pregnancies per embryo transfer procedure (CPR/ET) – is well above the national rates in South Africa and compares to the best internationally.

However, it is important to know that not every follicle will contain an egg, not every egg will be fertilised, and not every egg that is fertilised will go on to form a good-quality embryo. For the majority of couples, more than one IVF treatment cycle may be necessary.

FAQ 4: What does IVF cost?

At the time of writing, a guideline of the cost for one cycle of IVF treatment for some of the types of IVF treatment available at Medfem Fertility Clinic in Sandton, Johannesburg was:

* IVF Treatment: ± R78,655.00

* IVF/ICSI Treatment: ± R95,805.00

* Low Dose IVF Treatment: ± R65,481.00

* Low Dose ICSI Treatment: ± R76,915.00

You can visit this page for updated estimates of the current costs.

While these estimates of the cost of a cycle of certain types IVF treatment may provide an idea, it is not possible to provide a one-size-fits-all answer regarding the cost of your IVF treatment, because each couple faces a unique set of fertility challenges.

This means there are many variables that affect the costs – for example, what tests or investigations are needed; the type of IVF procedures required during the stages of IVF; and the kind of medicine necessary. There is also the possibility of multiple treatment cycles.

FAQ 5: Where should your get IVF treatment?

Choosing a top IVF fertility clinic with a leading success rate will provide you with the best chance of a successful IVF treatment cycle.

At Medfem Fertility Clinic, you will find a world-class team of fertility experts working in purpose-built, state-of-the-art facilities to provide couples with cutting-edge fertility treatments that continues to deliver superior fertility results.

We believe our IVF success rates at Medfem Fertility Clinic can be attributed to our status as a leader in the field of clinical infertility, embryology research and laboratory methodology, as well as highly trained staff and a solid investment in state-of-the-art equipment.

A leader in fertility care, our team at Medfem performs an average of 1,100 IVF treatment cycles a year. The combined clinical experience of our specialist team is over 100 years. We are also immensely proud of the fact that our own Dr Johan Van Schouwenburg performed the first IVF treatment in South Africa with Professor Kruger at Tygerberg Hospital in 1983.

Since then, Medfem Fertility Clinic’s team has assisted couples struggling with infertility to experience the joy of parenthood, helping to bring more than 18,000 babies into the world.

We pride ourselves on not only keeping up with the latest science in our field, but also being innovators and early adopters of the best that technology has to offer. Our outstanding embryology team is devoted to the most progressive methods of embryo culture, the process in which eggs and sperm are combined and fertilised to form an embryo.

Medfem Fertility Clinic is also registered as an Accredited IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization) Unit with the Southern African Society for Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy (SASREG), belongs to the African Network and Registry for Assisted Reproductive Technology, and is recognised internationally the International Committee Monitoring Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ICMART).

If you would like to know more about IVF treatment or if you would like to meet one of our specialists to find out if IVF is the right treatment for you, simply click here to book an initial consultation or contact us telephonically on +27 (11) 463 2244.
At Medfem we believe in helping you reach your family dream through:

* World-Class Fertility for Everyone – we believe in making world-class fertility treatments available for everyone
* A Positive Fertility Journey – It is our joy and commitment to give you a positive outcome to your fertility journey
* Delivered With Empathy & Caring – So you may have a fond memory, of a feeling of empathy, caring and being part of the Medfem family

We look forward to meeting you at Medfem Fertility Clinic!



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