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Frequently Asked Questions

Clinical FAQs

Before Treatment
Will I be tested for smoking at anytime?

Yes you will be tested for carbon monoxide at certain intervals during your each treatment cycle. Both partners must be smoke free before and during treatment.

Will my BMI be checked at anytime?

Yes we will check your BMI at regular intervals throughout each treatment cycle.

What times can I phone to ask advice?

You can call at anytime during the department’s opening times, however there may not always be someone available to speak to you at this time, please leave a message on the voicemail and someone will return your call.

Do I need to attend the department every day for injections?

The daily injection is easy to administer and a nurse will teach you how to do them. We will also provide details of how to access further instructions on injection techniques electronically such as you tube.

Are the injections painful? 

Patients do not complain that the injections are at all painful.

Is the egg retrieval procedure painful?

Patients are given sedation by anaesthetists prior to the egg retrieval procedure and should therefore be very comfortable throughout the procedure.

Do I need to take time off work? 

 You will require the day of your egg retrieval off work and some time to have your embryo transfer. However, if you feel well you can go to work normally at any other time.

I have started my period and want to book treatment.

Phone 0141 201 3478 during normal working hours to speak to the admin team

Do I need proof of my MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccinations before starting treatment?

We require all patients starting a cycle of treatment to have 2 MMR (Measles, Mumps & Rubella) vaccinations. If you have already provided us with paperwork to confirm this, you do not need to do so in subsequent cycles. If you need to check if you have had 2 MMR vaccines please check with your GP in the first instance. 

During Treatment
Should I contact you if I have a period after my Prostap injection?

No, this is normal and should be expected.

Should I contact you if I do not have a period after my Prostap injection? 

No, attend your next appointment as arranged and you will have an ultrasound scan and blood test to check your hormone levels. You may need some further medication prescribed.

Can I take medication for pain?

You should not experience pain prior to egg retrieval and if you do you should contact the department for advice.

I have dropped/smashed/wasted some of my medication, what should I do?

If you have enough of the medication to last until the next ACS working day keep taking it as instructed and phone the ACS (0141 211 8545) and leave your name, number and brief message.

If you do not have enough please phone 0141 211 8545 before 6pm. 
If it is after 6pm and you need to take the medication that night please phone Ward 56 (0141 211 4433) and ask if they have a supply of the medication. Please have the name & dose of the drug prescribed.

If I miss a dose of my nasal spray what do I do?

Take a dose of your spray as soon as you remember then continue as instructed. Read leaflet given.
Nasal spray instructions are: one spray at 7am, 12pm, 6pm and 11pm daily.

Can I continue to have intercourse? 

Yes, however it is advised to avoid intercourse for around 48hours prior to egg collection in order for your partner to provide a good quality sperm sample if required.

Can I fly?

Yes, there is not any evidence that flying affects any aspect of your treatment.

Can I have a dental X-ray? 

You should inform your dentist you are having fertility treatment and he will advise you accordingly?

Can I colour my hair? 

Yes, there is not any evidence that colouring your hair affects any aspect of your treatment.

After Treatment
Is bed rest recommended following embryo transfer?

No, there is not any evidence to suggest that bed rest following embryo transfer improves pregnancy rates.

Can I fly? 

Yes, there is not any evidence that flying affects pregnancy rates following embryo transfer.

Can I have a dental X-ray? 

You should inform your dentist you are having fertility treatment and he will advise you accordingly.

Can I colour my hair?

Yes, there is not any evidence that colouring your hair affects pregnancy rates following embryo transfer.

If I bleed before my pregnancy test should I contact the department? 

No, continue with the medication you have been prescribed and perform your pregnancy test on the recommended date. If you have a positive test, then contact the department as we may wish to assess you further.

If I experience any symptoms of Ovarian Hyperstimulation syndrome should I seek medical assistance? 

Yes, if you have any symptoms of OHSS you should contact the department and we will provide you with advice or arrange for you to attend the department for assessment by one of our doctors.

If I have had a positive pregnancy test do I continue on my medication? 

If you had a fresh embryo transfer you do not need to continue on any medication, unless prescribed by a consultant.

If you have had a frozen embryo transfer you should continue on Progynova tablets & vaginal progesterone until the 12th week of pregnancy.

If you were having IUI and were on nasal spray you should stop your nasal spray.

I have had a positive pregnancy test but have had some bleeding/spotting/discharge, what should I do?

If the bleeding is not heavy, please phone 0141 211 8545 and leave your name, phone number and brief message and a nurse will phone you on or before the next working day. However if the bleeding gets heavier or you start to become unwell attend your nearest A&E.

Laboratory FAQs

Semen Analysis

What will a semen analysis test tell me about the quality of my sperm?

A semen analysis is carried out to estimate the number of sperm, their movement (motility) and shape (morphology).

When will I get the results from my semen analysis?

Your results will be given to you by your doctor at your next clinic appointment. Unfortunately we cannot give you these results over the telephone.

Where do I produce my semen sample?

We have dedicated rooms on-site for sample production. We recommend semen samples to be produced on-site, however if you are unable to use our rooms you may produce at home as long as you can get the sample to the ACS within 60 minutes. You must use a sample pot provided by the ACS.

Sperm Freeze

I will be away on the day of my partner’s IUI /egg collection. How can I provide a sperm sample for treatment?

If you are aware that you are unable to attend the unit on the day of treatment, you may be able to make an appointment for back-up sperm storage. You would need to attend an appointment for bloods and consents to be taken and then make a second appointment before the treatment day to ensure we can freeze a sperm sample to use on the day of treatment.

Sperm Preparation
What does “sperm washing” mean?

Before the sperm is used for treatment, the sample is washed to separate the sperm from the ejaculate. The washing procedure can also help to isolate the sperm with more movement.

IUI (Intrauterine Insemination)

What can I expect from an IUI procedure?

The procedure is very similar to a smear test. A speculum is inserted into the vagina in order to pass a catheter through the cervix. Attached to the catheter is a syringe containing prepared (‘washed’) sperm. When the catheter is in the correct position the operator will depress the syringe and the sperm will be deposited into the uterus. The catheter is very fine and is normally not felt by the patient.

Embryology Laboratory Timeline

Below is a general overview of the laboratory work and what can be expected at each stage of the journey
Oocyte retrieval

Will I find out how many eggs were collected on the day of treatment?

Yes, the doctor performing your egg collection will meet with you after the procedure to discuss the number of eggs that were collected. 

IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation)

What is IVF?

IVF involves the collection of eggs directly from the ovaries using a needle. Washed sperm are added to a dish containing the eggs and the sperm are left to swim to the eggs on their own. The ‘best’ sperm that reaches the egg first should hopefully enter the egg and fertilise it.

The sperm and eggs are left in the dish together overnight and the eggs checked for fertilisation the following morning.

ICSI (Intracytoplasmic sperm injection)

What is ICSI?

ICSI involves the collection of eggs directly from the ovaries using a needle, then the injection of a single sperm into each mature egg to create embryos. ICSI is often recommended to patients if the sperm quality is not high enough to fertilise your eggs using IVF. ICSI can also be recommended to patients with previously low or complete failure of fertilisation in previous treatment.

I have a normal sperm count, why is ICSI still recommended for our treatment?

We currently find a higher success rate with ICSI rather than IVF so we recommend this method of treatment for all of our patients. The risks of both IVF and ICSI will be explained to you at your first clinic appointment. We are happy to perform IVF if this is your preferred treatment. If you wish to talk about treatment using IVF you can discuss this with your clinician and our scientific team.  

Why aren’t all of my eggs suitable for ICSI?

Only mature eggs have the capacity to fertilise, so before an ICSI procedure your eggs will be assessed for maturity. Only the mature eggs will be used for ICSI.

Fertilisation Check

How many of my eggs should I expect to fertilise?

Our average fertilisation rate with ICSI is around 70%. Some people may have a higher fertilisation rate and some people may have a lower rate.

When will I find out how many of my eggs have fertilised?

The embryologist will carry out a fertilisation check on your eggs the morning after your egg collection. You will receive a call on the same morning of the fertilisation check and the embryologist will inform you of your fertilisation results. You should expect the call to be before 12 noon from and this may be from an 0800 number.

Embryo Grading

What is a blastocyst?

A blastocyst is an embryo that has reached the stage with two distinct cell types, the inner cell mass and trophectoderm, with a fluid filled space in the middle. Embryos are expected to reach blastocyst stage on day 5 of development.

How will you assess my embryos?

Embryo grading is carried out on day 3 and day 5 after your egg collection. On day 3 the embryologist will count the cell numbers and will take into account any fragmentation and unevenness of the cells. On day 5 blastocysts are graded by how expanded they are and the appearance of two cell types, the inner cell mass and the trophectoderm.

We are currently developing information leaflets to help us describe your embryo development in more detail. These should be available in the ACS waiting room and the consultation rooms in the very near future.

Embryo Transfer

What should I expect during an embryo transfer procedure?

The embryo transfer is very similar to a smear test. A speculum is inserted into the vagina in order to pass a catheter through the cervix. The embryo/s are deposited from the catheter into the uterus. The catheter is very fine and is normally not felt by the patient. An abdominal scan is used for guidance during the embryo transfer procedure.

What is the difference between a day 3 or day 5 transfer?

Transfer days are based upon assessment of your embryo/s in the laboratory, which occur on day 3 and day 5. If there are a group of embryos on day 3 that have a similar appearance and embryo selection for transfer cannot be made, then a day 5 transfer will be arranged with you. If the embryologists can identify an embryo on day 3 that will be suitable for transfer, then they will arrange a day 3 transfer with you.

Can I take a picture of my embryo?

We do not allow any photography in any areas of the ACS, therefore you will be unable to take a picture of your embryo.

Embryo Freezing (vitrification)
I didn’t have any embryos frozen, what does this mean?

For an embryo to survive the freezing and thawing process it must be at the correct stage of development and be a suitable quality. Your embryologist will meet with you before your transfer and they will discuss your embryo quality with you. If any surplus embryo/s meet our criteria we will freeze (vitrify) and store the embryo/s for you.  Some embryos may not make it to the correct stage of development or they may not meet the criteria for quality, which is why we are unable to freeze/vitrify them.

When will I find out how many embryos I have frozen?

You will find out if any of your embryos have been frozen (vitrified) the day after your embryo transfer. We ask you to call the scientific team and an embryologist will tell you this information.

How many embryos will I have frozen?

Embryo freezing is dependant on embryo quality. The embryologist will assess your embryos on the morning of your embryo transfer and will assess whether any surplus embryos are suitable for freezing. 

Frozen Embryo Transfer (warm/thaw)

How many embryos are likely to survive the freezing and thawing procedures?

Currently, our average our survival rate for blastocysts (day 5 embryos) is around 99% and our thawing survival rate for early (day 1 embryos) is around 90%.

Embryo Biopsy

When will I get my results from the biopsy?

Biopsies that are carried out on Day 3 will have results returned the following morning if FISH has been used, or up to two days later if PCR has been used.


Is there a set timeframe for the clinic to return your call when you leave a message?

The clinic staff are often carryout procedures or seeing patients in appointments throughout the day, however, we endeavor to return all phone calls on the same day up until 6pm. Calls after 6pm will be responded to the following day. If you are leaving a message on our answering machine please can you leave your full name, date of birth and contact number.

To help us with this, please can we ask that when patients have called the clinic, they keep their mobile phones with them and answer when called. Call from the hospital will show up on your phone as 0800.

What number should I be calling to enquire about treatment/appointments?

For NHS patients:

For treatment bookings please call 0141 201 3478
For appointment enquiries please call reception on 0141 211 8535

For self funded patients, please contact 0141 201 0509/08 for all enquiries

After a failed cycle how long will I wait till I start a new fresh cycle or FET transfer?

For frozen transfers, after a failed cycle we encourage patients to have one normal period and if they feel ready, book another cycle. Whilst we try to accommodate all bookings, there are times that numbers wishing to book exceed our capacity. In such cases we advise patient to call with their next period when every endeavour with be made to accommodate your treatment.

Due to Covid-19 do you recommend that patients should shield before and after transfer?

We do not recommend patients should shield before and after treatment. We advise that patients follow Scottish Government guidance to reduce the risk of infection and transmission.

Do you test for Covid 19 before embryo transfer?

No. We only test for Covid-19 if administration of anaesthetic is required.

Are there restrictions on a partner attending appointments?

Unfortunately due to the covid pandemic we need to restrict the footfall of patients through the department. By doing this, we are able to provide more treatments than we otherwise would. Partners are invited to attend for early pregnancy scanning.

What is the current wait times from referral to starting first cycle?

Current waiting times are approximately 10-11 months.

Are all services now fully up and running?

All services within the ACS have resumed.

What is the best home pregnancy test to use?

We are unable to recommend specific tests but individual product information will be able to advise on sensitivities.

Are the clinic accepting new private patients yet?

We are accepting new private patients but due to covid we are operating at reduced capacity.

How do you arrange a FET appointment if I have been previously been successful and now want to use my frozen embryos?

See question 3.