5 questions about IVF answered

pregnant couple

Most people considering IVF for the first time undoubtedly have a number of questions about what the procedure entails. Read on to learn the answers to a few of the most common questions.

What sort of process is involved in preparing for the egg retrieval?

The first step in the IVF procedure is stimulating the ovaries using hormones to obtain the greatest possible number of eggs for potential fertilisation. This step, called stimulation or super ovulation, involves the injection of fertility hormones for up to 12 days while the follicles that produce the eggs are monitored by ultrasound scan and blood tests.

Does IVF work in cases of male infertility?

While regular IVF depends on the male having a normal sperm count, intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can help in cases where sperm count and/or motility is extremely low. This extra step in IVF involves the embryologist using a very fine glass needle to insert an individual sperm into each mature egg.  The sperm are retrieved from the ejaculate of the male in the same way as IVF, but in some cases where there is no sperm observed, the sperm can be retrieved from a testicular biopsy called TESA.

How many embryos are transferred and frozen in each cycle?

Historically, women having IVF treatment in New Zealand had a high chance of having twins or triplets because up to three embryos were transferred in each treatment cycle. However, these multiple pregnancies carried with them a significant risks of premature birth and health problems to the babies such as cerebral palsy

For this reason, it is now standard practice in New Zealand to only transfer a single embryo in each IVF cycle. Any excess embryos remaining after the transfer, are kept in the laboratory until they can be assessed for freezing. Approximately 50% of females can expect to end up with embryos frozen which provides them with an additional chance of pregnancy in one or more subsequent embryo thaw cycles.

What influences the success rate of IVF treatment?

Sperm Microinjection ICSI
Sperm Microinjection (ICSI) is used for men with low quality sperm.

Whether or not a cycle of IVF results in a live birth depends on a number of individual factors, including the type of infertility involved and health conditions. However, one of the major factors influencing the success rate of IVF is the woman’s age – the younger the woman, the higher the likelihood of a successful pregnancy.

“Approximately 50% of couples can expect to end up with embryos frozen which provides them with an additional chance of pregnancy in one or more subsequent embryo thaw cycles.”

How expensive is IVF?

While the price of IVF will to a certain extent depend on the patient and situations that arise during the procedure, on average the cost of a cycle of treatment at Repromed is $10 – $12,000. However, free public funding for up to two cycles of IVF within the Northern region, including IVF, is available under certain conditions.

To find out more, call the specialists at Repromed for a 15 minute phone consultation or make an appointment to discuss your options.

Megan Black

Nurse Manager


Megan leads the nursing team through the continually changing face of IVF. She works in a multidisciplinary team, providing the essential organization between the doctors and laboratory and ensuring communication between all departments.

Megan started her IVF nursing career in the United Kingdom, working in two large London clinic’s before returning to New Zealand. She is also the Secretary of Fertility Nurses of Australasia.

I love working with people and see nursing as a vocation, not a job. I usually spend my downtime absorbed in a good book and planning my next travel adventure.