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
    or
  • 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
    or
  • same sex female couples for the purpose of egg sharing.

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 carries the pregnancy. Egg sharing is not currently permitted in Western Australia unless the parent carrying the pregnancy is eligible for IVF or ICSI. In this case one partner could act as a known donor to the partner carrying the pregnancy.

Western Australian laws in relation to assisted reproductive technology are being reviewed and the Government has committed to increase access to IVF/ICSI and surrogacy. Further consultation will be undertaken on issues related to egg sharing.

Where to get help


Last reviewed: 31-05-2022
Acknowledgements

Reproductive Technology Unit

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