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Women's healthcare

A complete approach to conception


John Kennedy

Medical Director of Sims and Rotunda IVF

Infertility treatment can be a daunting prospect with many different services and technologies available. Many patients come into clinics every year with the same queries around the variety of treatment options and the latest available technology. Mostly, they want to know how it will all help improve their chances of having a baby.

An important part of the patient journey is selecting the best available technologies and clinical techniques for the individual. Clinicians should clearly explain the relevance and advantages of each stage of the process and which technologies or treatments would be beneficial. This should be addressed at the first consultation stage to ensure that all patients clearly understand the options available to them from the outset. The patient pathway is then further refined following a series of tests to ascertain any issues that are causing infertility.  

IVF treatment involves a number of carefully tailored tests

An AMH test is one of the first things a patient may be asked to engage with. This provides an indication of the number of eggs left in the ovarian reserve. Other investigations involve ultrasounds to make sure that there are no blockages in the fallopian tubes. 

The number and extent of the tests are entirely dependent on the patients’ individual requirements. Once these have all been completed, there is a further consultation during which the consultant explains the best treatment pathway for the patient. 

Different IVF patients may follow different pathways

The treatment pathways vary according to whether the patient requires an egg or sperm donor or simply requires IVF assistance to conceive. Options include, Intrauterine Implantation (IUI) where sperm is given a helping hand and injected directly into the uterine wall. This is used frequently for same sex couples and single women. 

Other treatments may be considered such as IVF or ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). These are carried out in a laboratory environment and involve a more complex procedure. Egg donation, sperm donation and double donation are also options to consider where there is a significant issue with either the female or male fertility. The clinician will be able to talk the patient through which of these options is most suitable. 

Time lapse images of an embryo make it easier to study

Many patients are now taking advantage of new technology such as Embryoscope, which is allowing clinicians to select the embryo that is most likely to lead to a successful pregnancy. Embryoscope provides time lapse image capture allowing clinicians to study the developing embryo in much greater detail over the incubation period. The use of embryoscope in a patient’s treatment will be offered by the clinician during the consultation stage. 

John Kennedy, Medical Director of Sims and Rotunda IVF, commented, “The new advancements in fertility treatments are making a difference to the work that we do. Patients are always keen to learn about how these new advancements will benefit them but what can be forgotten is the mind and body conditioning of the patient. 

“New technology is not a replacement for being in the optimum condition for conceiving. This involves sensible lifestyle choices, having a healthy diet and being as physically fit as possible. New technology is important at enhancing the chances of a successful pregnancy but preparing your own body is essential to maximising your chances of a success.”

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