Eggs are removed from the ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory dish before being placed in the woman’s womb. IVF literally means ‘fertilisation in glass’, giving us the familiar term ‘test tube baby’.
Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
ICSI involves injecting a single sperm directly into an egg in order to fertilise it. The fertilised egg (embryo) is then transferred to the woman’s womb.
Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
Before fertility treatment, the best quality sperm are selected. They are then inserted into the womb at the woman’s most fertile time, when an ovary releases an egg (ovulation).
If you aren’t ovulating properly (producing and releasing an egg each month), fertility drugs – which trigger egg production in much the same way as your body’s own hormones – can help.
Sterilisation can sometimes be reversed, fallopian tubes can be unblocked using keyhole surgery and, for men, sperm can be retrieved surgically for use in fertility treatment.