Treatments and tests

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

  • IVF and ICSI are assisted reproductive technology procedures.
  • In Western Australia (WA) there are rules around who can access IVF and ICSI.
  • WA laws are being reviewed to increase access to assisted reproductive technology procedures.

In vitro fertilisation and intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection are two types of assisted reproductive technology procedures.

In vitro fertilisation (IVF)

In vitro fertilisation refers to a cycle of assisted reproductive technology procedures to collect eggs from a woman that are then fertilised with sperm outside the body by combining sperm and eggs in a laboratory dish. An embryo is then inserted into a woman’s uterus to try and achieve pregnancy.

Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)

Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection is similar to IVF but embryos are created by injecting a single sperm into the egg. ICSI may be used when there is male factor infertility.

An IVF or ICSI cycle may include these steps:

  1. Counselling and providing consent for treatment
  2. Stimulating egg production using hormone injections
  3. Tracking ovarian growth and hormone levels using blood tests and ultra-sounds
  4. Collecting and washing sperm
  5. Egg collection
  6. Fertilisation and embryo development
  7. Embryo transfer
  8. Embryo storage if there are extra embryos created.

Access to IVF and ICSI

In Western Australia access to IVF and ICSI is limited a woman or a couple:

  • who are unable to conceive due to medical reasons
  • whose child would be likely to be affected by a genetic abnormality or disease
  • a woman who is unable to give birth to a child due to medical reasons and is part of a surrogacy arrangement.

IVF/ICSI is not available to:

  • a woman or a couple who are unable to conceive because of age
  • a woman who wants to use her frozen eggs but has no medical reasons
  • a woman or a couple who want to access surrogacy but do not have medical reasons.

Egg sharing

Egg sharing refers to an in vitro fertilisation (IVF) practice in same sex female couples where both parents can be involved in the conception of the baby. One parent provides the egg, which is fertilised with donor sperm, and the other has the embryo implanted and carries the pregnancy. The implantation of an embryo formed with a partner’s egg, in female same-sex relationships is not usually permitted in Western Australia unless the receiving partner (in the case of de facto relationships) or the couple (in the case of married couples) meets the IVF access criteria in the Human Reproductive Technology Act 1991. It is best to seek advice from your clinician about your medical eligibility for IVF. Western Australia laws in relation to assisted reproductive technology are being reviewed. 

Where to get help

Last reviewed: 31-05-2022

Reproductive Technology Unit

Link to HealthyWA Facebook page