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Pre IVF Investigations

Female patients start taking folic acid, as part of pre-pregnancy care, as this helps to  reduce the risk of certain birth defects.

In order to perform IVF, only 3 things are required - eggs, sperm and a uterus, and before starting the IVF cycle, the doctor will check these.

First, a sperm survival test is carried out This is a "trial" sperm wash, using exactly the same method as will be actually used in IVF, to assess whether an adequate number of sperm can be recovered in order to do IVF. This test will also help the laboratory to decide which method of sperm processing should be used during IVF.

A blood FSH level will provide an idea of the "ovarian reserve", and provide information on whether or not the woman will produce enough eggs after superovulation.  If the FSH level is very high, this suggests early ovarian failure, and it may be a better idea to consider donor eggs.

Many clinics may do a hysteroscopy, in order to assess that the uterine cavity is totally normal. They may also do a "dummy" embryo transfer to make sure there are no technical problems with this procedure. Some clinics also do a cervical swab test, to rule out the presence of infection in the cervix.

If a woman has blocked fallopian tubes with large hydrosalphinx, some clinics will remove these prior to the IVF cycle, because they feel that the presence of a hydrosalphinx decreases pregnancy rates after IVF.

For men who have difficulty in producing a semen sample "on demand", the clinic may also freeze and store the sample prior to treatment, as a backup. This can help to prevent the tragedy of having to abort an entire treatment cycle because the man could not produce a semen sample on the day of IVF/ICSI.

Blood tests which may be done include tests for immunity to rubella; and tests for Hepatitis B, and AIDS.

It is also not advisable to go in for IVF treatment without trying simpler treatment options first. IVF is a complex procedure involving considerable personal and financial commitment, so other treatments are usually recommended first.

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