If you are starting, or considering, having IVF, there is often so much information out there and it can feel confusing, especially when you don’t know what to expect. The prospect of having to have any form of fertility treatment is overwhelming in itself, so taking a step-by-step approach may help to alleviate some stress. This is why we have put together this guide, which covers a few key points on what is involved in the IVF treatment process.
It is important to remember that no one IVF cycle is the same and yours may end up looking a little different or taking a little longer, but we hope this gives you an idea of what happens in a ‘typical’ cycle of treatment.
The IVF cycle
- IVF starts at the beginning of the menstrual cycle. This can cause planning difficulties as the start date is dependent on when your period begins. When your period does start, you also begin having daily injections for 12 days to stimulate egg growth. There is also a second medication is to stop your body from releasing the eggs. This will either be a nasal spray a week before or an injection halfway through the process.
- During this time, you will have regular visits to the fertility clinic for blood tests and internal scans to check how your body is responding to the medication. This may be daily or every other day.
- A trigger shot is administered 35 – 36 hours before egg retrieval. Egg retrieval takes place after the 12 days of injections, so again, it is difficult to plan this until after the process has started.
- The day of your egg retrieval involves being admitted for day surgery. It is recommended to take time off work following the procedure as it involves sedation or general anaesthetic.
- Following egg retrieval, a male partner provides sperm, or a sperm donor is used.
- Embryos are observed closely in the lab, and you will receive regular updates over the next few days.
- After 3 – 5 days, you will be admitted to the clinic for the day of embryo transfer. There again may be planning difficulties with this date as it depends on how the embryos develop and whether there are any side effects from the egg collection.
- A pregnancy test is done 10 – 14 days later.
Going through an IVF cycle comes with emotional stress at every stage, and it is really important that you have access to emotional support if needed.
If the pregnancy test comes back negative and the IVF has failed, you may wish to try further rounds of IVF which would mean repeating the process again. Having a support system around you in times like this is highly recommended, so you know you have someone to go to if you are looking for advice or just someone to talk to and who will listen.
If you are looking for support relating to the IVF process, you may want to consider fertility coaching with Your Fertility Journey. We combine our years of clinical fertility experience and knowledge, with our coaching skills to offer you a holistic support package of both emotional support and practical guidance.