Millions of babies have been born from IVF treatment over the past forty years and it isn’t something you should be ashamed of. Lots of couples struggle to conceive naturally and require the help of a clinic such as Concept Fertility to help them on their fertility journey.
You may have heard of the term “test tube baby”, but virtually no test tubes are actually involved in the IVF process. However, it does involve skilled embryologists and closely controlled laboratory conditions. If you are going to be receiving IVF treatment, you will need to ensure you are fully prepared, which is why we have put together this comprehensive checklist.
Make sure you have a diary or calendar detailing your IVF treatment cycles and have any relevant medical records to hand. Organisation is important and it may help you feel more in control of the situation, which can limit your stress.
Understand the IVF Process
There are various procedures involved in IVF treatment, known as the treatment cycle. The first procedure is hormone therapy, which stimulates the ovaries so that more follicles are developed than usual. You will have to administer these hormone injections yourself and you will be monitored by your doctor throughout the process to ensure everything is proceeding according to plan and that ovulation is triggered at the right time.
Once ovulation has been triggered, your eggs are collected and fertilised. You may be wondering if egg collection will be painful, but don’t worry as it’s usually a relatively quick and painless process. General anaesthetic isn’t usually required.
After the resulting embryos (fertilised eggs) have grown and developed in the lab, the best one or two will be transferred into the uterus through the vagina. The best outcome of this procedure is that the embryo will implant and become a pregnancy, but this doesn’t always happen. That’s why surplus embryos are frozen, and another transfer can be attempted without having to repeat all the hormone therapy and egg retrieval.
Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you need to throughout your treatment so that there are no unexpected surprises. There is no guarantee of a successful pregnancy, so ask your clinic to be transparent about their success rates from the beginning. Here are a few examples of some other questions you might want to ask your doctor:
- Are there any supplements I can take?
- What foods should I eat?
- Is there anything I can do to increase my chances of successful pregnancy?
- Can I expect any side effects throughout my treatment?
- How many healthy embryos do you expect from the number of follicles I have?
Understand the Risks of IVF
One of the biggest risks of IVF treatment is multiple pregnancy. That’s the main reason why clinics only transfer one or two embryos at a time and freeze the remainder, because there’s a chance that multiple embryos will implant.
There is also a very minor risk of adverse reactions to the hormone drugs, but ultrasound scans and hormone monitoring are carried out throughout the process to ensure this doesn’t happen.
Try to Limit Stress When Undergoing IVF
We all know that reducing stress is easier said than done, but a calm and positive approach will help you on your fertility journey. You may want to consider meditation, yoga, counselling, or other stress relieving activities. Simply put, you need to prioritise self-care by eating a nutritious diet, getting enough sleep, and carrying out moderate exercise each day.
When it comes to support, there are lots of options for both men and women. Fertility counselling is great because it gives you the opportunity to discuss your personal needs, ask any questions, and understand the legal processes. You may also want to consider joining a support group where you will be able to lean on people who are going through the same thing.