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What is In Vitro Maturation (IVM)?  

In Vitro Maturation, or IVM, involves collecting eggs from a patient’s ovary when the follicles are still small and the eggs within them are still immature.  The eggs are then grown in the laboratory using a solution of growth factors to help them mature, before they undergo insemination and fertilisation using ICSI. 

What is the IVM process?

1. Baseline Testing 

For Fertility North patients, on day 2 of your cycle, you will have an ultrasound and a blood test 

2. Hormone Stimulation

If you require hormonal stimulation, your Doctor will prescribe the ideal regimen for your circumstances.  Compared to conventional IVF, significantly less medication is required.  Occasional blood tests and/or ultrasound may be carried out to monitor follicle growth in your ovaries. 

3. Trans Vaginal Oocyte Aspiration (TVOA) 

Using a general anaesthetic, your eggs will be collected from your ovaries using a very fine needle, under ultrasound guidance. 

4. Egg Culture 

Once collected, your eggs will be cultured in our laboratory for 1 to 2 days.  This specially designed culture medium is supplemented with growth factors and hormones to help to eggs to mature.

5. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Once maturity has been assessed, each mature egg is very carefully injected by one of our highly trained Embryologists with a single, healthy sperm using a microscopic glass needle.   

6. Embryo Culture 

The morning following IVF, the Embryologists will assess your eggs for fertilisation.  Keeping you advised along the way, your embryos will then be grown in the laboratory for up to six days.  All suitable embryos will then be frozen, to be used in a Frozen Embryo Transfer Cycle, in which the uterine environment will be optimised to increase your chance of success. 

Who is IVM suitable for? 

Your Fertility North Doctor may recommend In Vitro Maturation for you if: 

You are known to have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) 

There are problems in treating women with fertility enhancing drugs for IVF, as the PCOS ovary can be highly sensitive. As a result, the drugs may have little effect on follicle/egg development, or conversely the ovary may over-respond producing too may follicles. The second of these two scenarios often results in a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). 

You have had previous treatment cycle/s cancelled due to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome is a condition in which the ovaries over-respond to the hormonal stimulation used in conventional fertility treatments.  This condition is very serious and can result in long periods of hospitalisation and, in severe cases, deaths have been reported. 

You have been diagnosed with cancer 

IVM treatment can also provide a safe alternate treatment option where fertility-enhancing drugs are not advised such as for fertility preservation prior to some cancer treatments. IVM can provide a fast and safe method to freeze eggs or embryos quickly, so as not to delay chemo/radiotherapy. 

You have Ovary Resistant Syndrome, also known as Savage Syndrome 

The ovaries of patients with this condition are resistant to the hormonal stimulation protocols used in conventional fertility treatments.  IVM can be used to successfully treat these patients.

What are the risks of IVM?

The risks of In Vitro Maturation are very similar to those experienced during conventional IVF, however, the fact that Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation (COH) is not used during IVM, the risk of developing OHSS is all but removed. 

Likewise, evidence indicates that the success rates of IVM are very similar to that of conventional IVF.  In Vitro Maturation has also been demonstrated to be particularly successful in patients with PCOS.   

It is important to note that IVM is not suitable for all people – your Doctor will discuss whether it is suitable for you, in accordance with your individual circumstances. 

How can we help you? 

Our Scientific Director, Dr Stephen Junk, was instrumental in the development of In Vitro Maturation as a viable treatment option, having worked in this ground-breaking area of fertility treatment since the late 1990s.   

Once your Doctor has recommended IVM, you will liaise closely with our Laboratory Team who will guide you through each stage of this process. 

IVM treatment does incur additional costs due to the additional laboratory procedures involved in this process. These can be found on the Fertility North Fee schedule. 

To find out more about In Vitro Maturation at Fertility North, please get in touch.