In-vitro fertilization

In-vitro fertilization means fertilization outside of the body

In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is the traditional method used in fertility treatments. In the laboratory, all rapidly progressing sperm cells from the sperm sample are isolated and optimally prepared for fertilization. Finally, they are brought together with the egg cells in a test tube.
The sperm cells find their way independently to the egg cells with the goal of fertilizing them. This method is possible when a sufficient number of highly motile sperm cells with a normal exterior shape are available from the sperm sample.

The Intracytoplasmatic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is a technique, which is used when not enough fast and motile or morphologically normal sperm cells are available.
In the laboratory, a single sperm cell is sucked into a micropipette and injected directly into an egg cell. With this method, the possibility of achieving fertilization still exists even with very poor sperm quality.

Success rates depend on many factors. Significantly decisive, however, is how many egg cells can be obtained from the follicles, how many of them mature and can actually be fertilized and how many embryos in turn develop. In an ideal case, embryos still remain and can be cryopreserved for a further attempt if necessary.

  • Side-effects of hormonal stimulation
  • Fertilization does not happen
  • Using the ICSI technique sperm cells that show possible genetic changes could attain fertilization.

In-vitro fertilization step by step


Hormonal stimulation of the ovaries is used to maximise the success of the treatment. Through stimulation, the hormone levels are set to a correct initial level for a prospective pregnancy and also the maturing of several follicles is accomplished. During the treatment ultrasound examinations will be carried out in order to control the reaction of the ovaries.

Ovulation induction

To reach the last maturation processes of the egg cell and therefore induce the ovulation a special injection must be administered 34 to 37 hours before the egg cell retrieval (ovum pick-up). 

Sperm sample collection

On the day of the ovum pick-up the sperm cells of the male partner or the donor sperm cells are needed.

The date of this appointment can only be determined approximately two days before - depending on the reaction of the ovaries to the hormonal stimulation.

Ovum pick-up

Usually, one egg cell develops within every follicle. Through the growth of the follicle, the egg cells mature and are prepared for the moment of fertilisation.

If the stimulation led to a sufficient number of follicles with a certain size (will be measured during ultrasound check-ups), we will determine the day for the ovum pick-up.


In the last hours before the egg cell retrieval, the egg cell accomplished the last essential steps of the maturing process ("meiosis"). Now the egg cell(s) will be combined with the sperm cells in the laboratory.

Embryonic culture in the laboratory

If everything goes as planned, the fertilised egg cell will develop into an embryo.
On day 2 (= 48 hours after fertilisation) the embryos are in a multicellular stadium and our embryologists can already see differences in size and number of cells. 
The embryos are now being carefully monitored in order to determine the best embryo(s) as well as the best time for the embryo transfer.

Embryo transfer

The embryo transfer of one or more embryos into the uterus is one essential step of in-vitro fertilisation. Depending on the development of the embryos as well as the age and medical history of the patient, one or two embryos will be transferred.

The decision of how many embryos will be implanted is an especially important one during your Fertility Journey.

Cryopreservation ("Freezing")

In some IVF attempts a higher number of embryos has developed. Therefore it may happen that after the embyro transfer we still have embryos in the laboratory that could lead to a pregnancy. In this case we offer the possibility to freeze these embryos in order to use them for later IVF attempts.

Pregnancy test

12 to 14 days after the embryo transfer, a blood test for the pregnancy hormone beta-hCG will show if a pregnancy has been achieved.
We will inform the patient of the test result on the same day of the blood test. If the test was taken on a Saturday, Sunday of public holiday, we will inform you on the following working day.