The stages of fertility treatment

To help you understand the process involved in receiving fertility treatment at the ACU, we’ve created a stage by stage process of what’s involved. It may differ slightly depending on your particular treatment and type of funding.

Stage 1: Getting started

Complete all the relevant paperwork and decide which funding option you would like to take.

Attending a consultation with one of our doctors where the initial tests and an examination will be completed.

Make payment for your treatment or start the application for NHS funding

Stage 2: Attendance to an information evening

You will be invited to an information evening once all your results from test have been received and payment has been made. During the evening the process of treatment is explained by our clinical team of doctors, nurses and embryrologists.

Stage 3: Medication and monitoring

You will be advised on when you will be starting your medication. On day 1 of your period you will be asked to contact the unit to arrange a time to discuss your treatment and arrange your scans and appointments. Whilst you are taking your medication you will be asked to come in for some scans so that we can check monitor your progress.

Stage 4: Egg collection

The doctor and nurses will confirm the day for egg collection. You will be advised on your medication and what to expect on the day. The procedure will take up to 20 minutes and mild sedation will be required,  you will be expected to be in the unit for about 3 hours in total.

Stage 5: Fertilisation and transfer

The next morning the embryologist carefully examines each egg to see if fertilization has happened. We will then call you to tell you how many eggs have fertilized.

Extreme care and rigorous checking protocols are in place at all times in our laboratories. The semen sample is prepared by separating the normal and moving sperm and the sperm and eggs are placed in a dish overnight to allow fertilization to take place.

Two to five days after collection the embryos are transferred into the women’s uterus. This is much simpler than egg collection and there is no need for sedation. During the procedure, we use an ultrasound scan to help transfer the embryos.

Stage 6: Freezing

It is possible to freeze any spare embryos. We will freeze good quality blastocysts on day five or six of development. A frozen embryo, which has been thawed, is less likely to implant into the lining of the uterus than a fresh one, so we are very selective about the embryos we choose to freeze.

Stage 7: Pregnancy test

All women are advised to perform a pregnancy test 11 to 14 days after the embryo replacement, we feel it is important that you do the test and phone the unit to inform us of the result.

A positive test – this means that one or more embryo have been implanted. You will be invited in to the unit for a scan four weeks after embryo transfer, we will arrange for you to have two scans to see how many embryos have implanted.  Sadly, we sometimes diagnose miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies at this stage. If your scans are normal, we will refer you to your GP for antenatal care or your can self refer to our antenatal team at St Thomas’ hospital by clicking here.


We have one of the best maternity units in London at St Thomas’ Hospital site where we offer private and NHS care, we are one of the very few assisted conception units that offers a comprehensive conception through to delivery. Please click here to look at The Westminster Maternity Suite for private maternity care or click here for our NHS care.

Funding and costs

Understand all of the funding options available to you.

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Meet the team

Meet our team of dedicated and expert professionals.

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Our history

Find out why we are the trusted choice for a wealth of patients.

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NHS Backing

Guy's and St Thomas' is a world renowned NHS Foundation Trust Hospital.

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