Treatments

We offer a comprehensive range of fertility treatments. Your Olive doctor will create an individualized treatment plan with you based on your individual goals and diagnosis. Depending on your situation, treatment can range from simple interventions to more advanced assisted reproductive technologies like IVF. See an overview of treatments below.

Choose a Treatment

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

IVF is a fertility treatment that involves using medication to stimulate egg production and a process where eggs are removed from a patient's ovaries and then fertilized by sperm in a laboratory.

 

The fertilized egg—called an embryo — is grown in the lab for several days (usually 2-5), then placed into a uterus or frozen. When embryos are placed into the uterus, they will hopefully implant in the uterine lining and continue to develop so a successful pregnancy will ensue.

When to Consider IVF

IVF might be an option for you if you have any of the following situations:

 

  • Blocked or nonfunctional fallopian tubes
  • Advanced reproductive age
  • Decreased ovarian reserve
  • Genetic testing of embryos is indicated (PGT)
  • Your partner has a very low sperm count
  • More conservative treatments have failed

 

What to Expect During IVF

At Olive Fertility Centre, you will have a knowledgeable and experienced team of fertility experts with you every step of the way to help you achieve your pregnancy.

 

The duration of your treatment, from when you start preparation until you learn you are pregnant, is 6-8 weeks.

 

A typical IVF cycle is divided into three parts: preparation, stimulation, and retrieval and transfer. These parts are broken into 7 steps or phases.

The 7 Steps of IVF

Priming Phase

During the preparation phase, you take oral medications to prepare the ovaries and uterus for IVF.

 

Stimulation Phase

During the ovarian stimulation phase, you take daily injections of medications that cause multiple eggs to develop in your ovaries.

Egg Retrieval and Sperm Retrieval Phase

During egg retrieval phase, your eggs are removed through the vagina, and sperm is collected.

Fertilization or ICSI

The eggs are fertilized in our laboratory and prepared for fresh embryo transfer or frozen for storage.

Blastocyst/Day 5

When the egg develops to a Blastocyst or Day 5 embryo it is ready to be frozen or transferred.

Transfer / Pregnancy

Fresh or Frozen Embryo Transfer

The best embryos are either transferred into your uterus or your surrogate’s uterus.

 

Implantation/Pregnancy

Two weeks after the embryo transfer, you will learn if you are pregnant.Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, we monitor the pregnancy with blood tests for your beta HCG levels. We then perform an ultrasound to be sure the pregnancy is in the correct location in the uterus and is developing normally.

Shared IVF

If you are a gay couple, you may want to each have biological offspring.

 

Once you have chosen an egg donor, you can elect to have half the eggs fertilized with one partner’s sperm and the other half of the eggs fertilized by the other partner. The fertilized eggs would then be grown into embryos in the lab. An embryo created from each of the partner’s sperm can then be transferred into the uterus of a gestational carrier.

How to get Started

After discussing IVF with your Olive physician, you call the clinic to request an IVF orientation. During the orientation, you will learn all about IVF, how to take the medications, and the steps you must take to get started.

Next: Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)

Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is the process where sperm is injected directly into an egg to fertilize it in an IVF procedure.

 

In natural conception and traditional IVF, sperm swim to the egg, attach to the egg's shell, and push through the shell to get inside the egg. Once inside, the sperm's DNA mixes with the female's DNA to create an embryo. This is the process of fertilization. In some cases, the sperm cannot penetrate the egg's shell, so ICSI is required to help the sperm get into the egg.

When to Consider ICSI

ICSI is recommended if the male partner has:

 

  • Low sperm count.
  • Many abnormally shaped sperm. If the sperm have an abnormal shape (morphology), they cannot fertilize an egg.
  • Sperm that is taken directly from the testicles.
  • Previous traditional IVF that yielded a low fertilization rate.

 

ICSI can also be used to treat unexplained infertility. In couples with unexplained infertility, the explanation may lie in the sperm's inability to fertilize an egg. ICSI is also used when testing for single gene diseases is planned (PGD).

What to Expect During Treatment

The procedures that you will experience with ICSI are exactly the same as IVF. The only difference is that on the day of the egg retrieval, our highly trained embryologist will inject a single sperm into each mature egg.

 

In cases where a man has significantly abnormal sperm parameters, prior to beginning treatment we suggest freezing a sperm sample for possible future use. In some cases, the sperm quality can deteriorate significantly over a short time, so having a backup frozen sample stored in the lab will ensure that an adequate specimen is available on the day of egg retrieval.

How Successful Is It?

ICSI is successful in fertilizing 60%-80% of eggs.

What Are My Next Steps?

If you have not already done so, have a discussion with your Olive Fertility Centre physician. Your patient care coordinator will arrange for a teaching session with nursing team for a detailed overview. Genetic counselors are also available for additional discussions if necessary.

Next: Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)

Intrauterine insemination is a fertility treatment that involves inserting washed sperm into the uterus. It is done at the time of ovulation to improve the chances of pregnancy.

When to Consider IUI

For IUI to work, you need at least one fallopian tube that is open and healthy.

 

IUI may help you if:

  • Your infertility problems are diagnosed as unexplained.
  • You are using donor sperm.
  • You have had previous surgery on your cervix that makes it hard for the sperm to pass through the cervix to the uterus and tubes (for example, a trachelectomy or cone biopsy).
  • Your male partner has low sperm count, motility (swimming), and/or morphology (shape). IUI is often recommended when the total number of swimming sperm in a semen sample is between 5 and 20 million/mL. A normal sperm count is above 20 million/mL.
  • Sperm counts below 5 million/mL usually require IVF and ICSI.  Donor sperm samples are an exception to this requirement.
  • The male partner is unable to ejaculate into the vagina. This can be due to pain in the woman, disability in either partner, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, or other such problems.
What to Expect During Treatment

IUI can be used on its own or, more commonly, along with medication to increase the number of eggs being ovulated. There are three medication regimens typically used with IUI. These are:

  • Clomiphene
  • Letrozole
  • Gonadotropin injections (also called superovulation or ovulation induction)

 

You take these medications during the first part of your menstrual cycle. When ovulation occurs, an IUI is performed.

 

On the day of the IUI procedure, the male partner ejaculates a semen sample into a cup at home or in our private room at the clinic. The sample is given to one of our andrologists, ideally within 30 minutes of it being produced. After getting the sample, the andrologist washes the semen and prepares it for IUI (this takes approximately two hours). Then, the washed sperm is put into a thin plastic cathether which is then put into the woman’s uterus through her cervix. The sperm are then released.

 

You will lie down for about five minutes after insemination. You do not need to lie down longer as the cervix is then closed and the sperm will not fall out. You can resume regular activities after the IUI.

 

IUI takes about 5 minutes to perform.

The 5 Phases of IUI

Stimulation Phase

Fertility drugs are administered to stimulate the growth of two to three eggs to maturity. Typically, clomiphene pills or gonadotropin injections are used to stimulate the growth of follicles, and cause ovulation to take place.

Monitoring Phase

Monitoring is conducted to measure the growth of follicles and to control the drug doses based on the patient. Because fertility drugs can produce multiple eggs, monitoring is also needed to reduce the risk of multiple births. Blood tests measure estrogen concentrations, and ultrasound is used to measure follicular development.

Ovulation Phase

Either a surge of LH will be detected in the blood or ovulation will be triggered. Injection of the hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is used to induce ovulation when at least two or three follicles are mature.

Insemination Phase

On the morning of ovulation, a sperm sample is provided by the male partner, prepared for the IUI, and injected later the same day. With a very fine catheter, the washed and concentrated sperm sample is inserted through the cervix, high into the uterus of the woman. The IUI procedure is fairly painless and uncomplicated.

Pregnancy

Two weeks after the procedure, you will learn if you are pregnant.Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, the pregnancy is monitored by early ultrasounds to be sure the pregnancy is in the correct location in the uterus and is developing normally.

How Successful Is IUI?

The success rate is 5%-25%, depending on the particular situation.

How to Get Started

Ask your doctor if IUI is appropriate for you. Then, on the first day of the menstrual cycle, you call the Olive nursing line and get started.

Next: Superovulation

Superovulation

Superovulation is the process of using injections to stimulate a woman’s ovary to produce multiple eggs. This is appropriate for some women who ovulate naturally to increase their chances of conceiving.

When to consider Superovulation

Superovulation might help you conceive if you do not ovulate naturally and have failed to respond to oral medications such as Clomid.  The most common condition that prevents a woman from ovulating is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) link.

The 5 Phases of Superovulation

Stimulation Phase

The first step in superovulation therapy is to administer medications to enhance the development of a mature egg(s) by the ovaries.

Monitoring Phase

The development of the eggs in their follicles (fluid-filled sacs) in the ovary is then monitored by transvaginal ultrasound.

Ovulation Phase

Once the follicles have reached the appropriate size to contain a mature egg, an injection hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin)is given to trigger ovulation.

Fertilization Phase

Patients then have scheduled sexual relations over the next two days to coincide with ovulation. If, instead, the treatment plan requires intrauterine insemination, it is performed during the same two days.

Pregnancy

A simple blood test done five to seven days later confirms whether your hormone levels are appropriate. Two weeks after the procedure, you will learn if you are pregnant.Once your pregnancy has been confirmed, the pregnancy is monitored by early ultrasounds to be sure the pregnancy is in the correct location in the uterus and is developing normally.

LGBTQ2SIA+ Family Building

The physicians and staff at Olive Fertility Centre have been helping LGBTQ2SIA+ family groups and individuals grow their families for over 20 years

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Inclusion of all gender & sexually diverse people is an important value of Olive Fertility Centre. We are continuously striving to create an environment of compassionate belonging where all of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are supported, valued and respected.

Olive Fertility Centre resides on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Tsleil-waututh Nations (Vancouver and Surrey clinics), of the Lekwungen people (Victoria clinic), of the syilx/Okanagan people (Kelowna clinic) and of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation (Blossom Fertility clinic in Prince George).

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