Going through IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) can be an emotional and physical journey, and every experience is unique. However, there are some general things that you can expect when going through the IVF process:
- Find a Clinic: If you don’t know where to start, you can ask friends or your OBGYN for recommendations. You can also search for fertility clinics and compare success rates, patient reviews, and prices.
- Initial Consultation: The first step is usually an initial consultation with a fertility specialist to discuss your medical history, conduct some tests, and determine if IVF is the right option for you.
- Hormone Therapy: Once you have decided to proceed with IVF, you will typically begin hormone therapy to stimulate your ovaries to produce multiple eggs. This may involve self-administered injections and regular monitoring via ultrasounds and blood tests.
- Egg Retrieval: Once the eggs have matured, they will be retrieved during a minor surgical procedure, which is usually performed under sedation. The eggs are then fertilized in a laboratory with sperm from your partner or a donor.
- Embryo Culture: The fertilized eggs are then cultured in a laboratory for several days, during which time the embryos will develop.
- Embryo Transfer: One or more embryos will then be transferred to your uterus through a thin catheter. This is a relatively simple procedure that usually does not require anesthesia.
- Waiting for Results: You will then have to wait a few weeks to find out if the IVF cycle was successful and if you are pregnant.
- Follow-up Care: If the cycle was successful, you will receive follow-up care throughout your pregnancy to monitor your progress and ensure the health of you and your baby.
What you wish you knew before going through IVF
Time commitment: IVF requires multiple appointments, tests, and procedures. Women should be prepared for the time commitment involved, which can include frequent visits to the fertility clinic, hormonal medication schedules, and potential time off work for medical procedures and recovery. Strong support system: It’s important to note that IVF can be emotionally and physically challenging, and it’s essential to have a strong support system in place throughout the process. While one cycle is only two to three weeks, it is common to do multiple cycles. Depending on a multitude of factors, it may take months and even years. Your fertility clinic may provide counseling or support groups to help you navigate the IVF journey.
Flexibility: Despite careful planning, IVF cycles may need to be adjusted or postponed due to various factors like hormone levels, egg retrieval results, or the need for additional testing. Being flexible and adaptable throughout the process can help manage expectations and reduce stress.
Side effects: IVF treatment often involves hormonal medications, which can lead to physical side effects such as bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings, and fatigue. It’s important to discuss potential side effects with the medical team and have appropriate support systems in place.
LIfestyle changes: Certain lifestyle changes may be recommended during IVF treatment, such as avoiding alcohol, tobacco, excessive caffeine, and adopting a healthy diet and exercise routine. Understanding and following these guidelines can contribute to overall success. Success rates: IVF success rates can differ depending on factors such as age, overall health, and the specific fertility clinic. It’s essential to have realistic expectations and understand that multiple IVF cycles may be necessary for a successful pregnancy.