We have a wide range of fertility treatments available. You can read more about them here.
In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
IVF was developed more than 30 years ago to treat fertility problems in women with damaged Fallopian tubes. IVF involves an egg being removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. This is the original test tube baby method. The fertilised egg or embryo is then returned to the woman’s womb to develop. Success rates are very good but do decline somewhat after the age of 35.
Download IVF Factsheet PDF
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) involves a single sperm being injected into the centre of an egg. Nowadays it’s the preferred method of fertilisation for all types of IVF due to its high success rates.
Download ICSI Factsheet PDF
IUI Intrauterine insemination
This involves injecting a semen sample into the woman’s uterus just before ovulation. The sperm sample may come from your partner of from donor sperm.
The London Women’s Clinic in partnership with the London Sperm Bank has the largest donor insemination programme in the UK. They are very experienced in treating single and lesbian couples in relaxed, friendly and informal surroundings.
Download IUI Factsheet PDF
Download sperm information sheet
This type of fertility treatment is common in cases where the patient is unable to produce her own eggs, sometimes due to older maternal age or in younger women in their 20s or 30s who have gone through ‘premature’ menopause.
The London Egg Bank provides high quality donor eggs without a wait for patients.
Surgical sperm retrieval
In rare cases of male infertility, normal sperm production or sperm ejaculation is prevented by an obstruction in the testes.
Provided that healthy sperm are being produced, it is possible to use a very fine needle to extract sperm directly from testes.
Alternatively, if no live sperms are found, a sample of tissue (testicular biopsy) can be taken from the testes and examined under a microscope for sperm cells.
Provided that one or two sperm cells can be surgically retrieved by any of these methods, fertilisation is possible using ICSI.
Download ICSI & Surgical Sperm Retrieval information sheet
Surrogacy in the UK
Surrogacy is a very complicated treatment, with so many potential challenges that most arrangements are co-ordinated through a surrogate agency. However, it is important to note that ‘commercial’ surrogacy in the UK – in which the gestational carrier receives payment – is not allowed.
Treatment is mainly sought by couples in whom the female partner is unable or unwilling to deliver a baby safely. This may be because of illness or a problem with the uterus. There are two types of surrogacy available: the first in which the patient-couple (the intended parents) provides an embryo by IVF or ICSI which is then transferred to the surrogate mother for pregnancy and delivery (known as ‘host surrogacy’); and the less common second method in which the surrogate herself provides the egg which is fertilised by a semen sample from the male patient partner (with intrauterine insemination). In the latter case, the female partner would have no genetic link to the baby, which would effectively be produced by egg donation and surrogacy.
The treatment is complex, with many potential difficulties over parenthood and citizenship (particularly when the surrogacy arrangement is performed overseas). Most successful arrangements require the involvement of a lawyer and very strictcounselling. All cases undertaken at the London Women’s Clinic must have the approval of the clinic’s Ethics Committee.
Surrogacy in the UK is becoming more popular among same sex male couples in which a surrogate and possibly another woman provides donor eggs. These situations can be very complicated and we would urge any couples interested in this treatment to get in touch with the clinic for further details.
Download Surrogacy information sheet
Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
Spare embryos from your IVF treatment can be frozen for future use, depending on their quality. Embryos can be stored for up to ten years for future treatment if your first cycle was unsuccessful or for siblings. Freezing is complex and you should bear in mind that success rates can be reduced with frrozen embryo transfer.
Download IVF & Frozen Embryo Transfer information sheet
The introduction of a new freezing technique known as vitrification has now made egg storage a much more realistic option. In the past eggs have been freeze-stored mainly for ‘fertility preservation’ ahead of cancer treatment – so the reasons have been ‘medical’. However, egg freezing is becoming of increasing interest to a number of women who may not be in a secure relationship and choose to put a few eggs in storage for when, and if, the right man comes along.
Putting fertility on hold in this way is egg freezing for social reasons.
Vitrification, which is now employed for the storage of eggs and embryos at the London Women’s Clinic, is a technique which cools at a very fast rate, such that the tissue is preserved in a glass-like state (hence ‘vitrified’) without the formation of damaging ice crystals. Vitrification is associated with better survival rates for eggs than previous slow-cooling techniques.
Download Egg freezing information sheet
*Please note that you will need a GP referral letter to be able to use most of our services.
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