What’s the Difference Between IVF & Ovulation Induction?

August 3 2023 9:26am

Happy couple having a discussion

Ovulation is a key factor in trying to get pregnant as conception is not possible without the presence of an egg. For many women, such as those with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and with certain other conditions, hormonal imbalances can interfere with ovulation. When a woman doesn’t ovulate at all it is called anovulation. There are a few different fertility treatments available that can help women with ovulation concerns, such as OI (ovulation induction), IUI (intrauterine insemination) and IVF (In vitro fertilisation). 

The type of treatment a doctor recommends will depend on the cause of infertility, overall health and chance of success. The first consideration is usually ovulation induction, but depending on whether other issues such as general health, age and fertility history are at play, IUI or IVF may be needed. 

What Is Ovulation Induction?

The purpose of ovulation induction is to bring on ovulation with the right number & size of egg-containing follicles. Fertility drugs can be taken to achieve this when necessary. As a first port of call ultrasounds are carried out to investigate whether follicles are maturing. Based on what is found, there are three possible routes to help the body produce a mature egg: natural ovulation, tablets, or a course of injections. This can be with a woman’s natural timing or triggered at a specific time. Then the woman will have natural intercourse with her partner.

Women with PCOS can have a sensitivity to fertility drugs which can lead to too many eggs maturing, which in turn raises the risk of multiple births. At Concept Fertility we carry out regular monitoring with ultrasounds and take hormone measurements to ensure a safe number of follicles are developing.

How IVF Differs

The first part of an IVF cycle is also called Ovulation Induction but instead of natural intercourse, the eggs are collected in theatre, fertilised and grown in our laboratory, and a resulting embryo transferred back into the woman’s body in our theatre again. This tends to have a higher success rate than basic ovulation induction on its own, as multiple eggs are fertilised in our lab and other barriers are removed. Surplus embryos can be frozen for future use. This is something you may consider if ovulation induction hasn’t previously worked, if your partner also struggles with infertility, if you don’t have a male partner, if your fertility reserve is declining through age or other causes, if your fallopian tubes aren’t patent, as well as for other medical reasons. 

To discuss your fertility concerns and the fertility treatments we provide, get in touch with our expert team.


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A FREE Full Consultation (normally £180) with a Fertility Doctor when you book a diagnostic scan.

The consultation will take place immediately after your scan. It will explain your scan results, review your medical history, discuss your fertility plans, and agree a personalised plan of action if you want one.

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