5 Important Things To Know Before Your IVF Cycle
Your first in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle can be both exciting and worrisome — maybe even a little scary! For many people trying to build a family, IVF provides a ray of hope. Still, you might be unsure of what to expect going into IVF. A clear understanding of IVF procedures can make your journey to conception as stress-free as possible.
5 Important Things to Know Before IVF
IVF is a multi-step process that involves stimulating your ovaries to produce eggs, removing and fertilizing the eggs so they become embryos, and transferring the embryos into the uterus, where they can implant. IVF is safe and typically has a high success rate depending on the situation.
At California Fertility Partners, we answer your questions and make sure you're comfortable with the process before starting any fertility treatments. If you're considering IVF or about to start your first cycle, here are some important things to know so you can feel more prepared and at ease going into it.
1. IVF is Time-Consuming
One big thing to remember is that IVF will likely take priority in your life for a while. This is because the multiple steps involved in IVF can be time-consuming, from taking fertility medications to attending frequent clinic appointments.
You'll need bloodwork and ultrasounds throughout the process, sometimes every few days. We strive to make our patients' appointments as fast and efficient as possible. You may even need to discuss your fertility treatment plans with your employer since there may be days you'll miss work or have to go in late.
Furthermore, IVF can be physically and emotionally taxing. It's common to have some mild side effects and hormone-related symptoms from the medication you'll take. This is one more reason that it can be hard to keep up with your busy schedule. So, before beginning IVF, it's a good idea to try and simplify your calendar to reduce excessive commitments and stress as much as possible.
2. A Good Support System is Important
A great support system is vital when you're undergoing IVF. In vitro fertilization can come with a roller coaster of emotions. The busy schedule of appointments, medication regimens, and lack of control over the outcome can be mentally and physically taxing.
Not only that, but many people might not fully understand IVF or even be aware of what you're going through. Therefore, the experience can be isolating. Caring for your mental health is essential.
Lining up your support system in advance will help you get through the ups and downs of IVF. Your partner, friends, and family members can lend a listening ear and keep you from feeling like you're in this alone.
3. Your Body Will Change, and You'll Have Some Side Effects
An IVF cycle may have physical side effects, which some people don't expect. One of the earliest steps in an IVF cycle involves taking medication to stimulate your ovaries to produce follicles and eggs. The medication can cause prominent side effects because of hormonal changes in your body and an increase in the size of your ovaries.
Your symptoms may be similar to those of PMS. They can make you feel bloated, moody, and even nauseous. You may have breast tenderness, cramping, and food cravings. These side effects are expected with the medications, and they're generally mild. But don't hesitate to reach out to us if you feel your symptoms are significant.
4. The Truth About Self Injections and Egg Retrieval
So far, we've talked a little about the fertility medications you'll take for your IVF cycle. What's good to know is that you'll have to self-inject the medication — but it's not as intimidating as it may sound.
The injections are subcutaneous, meaning the medication is placed just under the skin. This means the injection only requires a very small needle. You'll be thoroughly trained on the injections before starting. After all, we want you to be successful and comfortable with the process.
The injections are straightforward, and most people get used to them quickly. You can administer the injections yourself or have a friend or partner give them to you.
While ovarian stimulation is one of the early steps in an IVF cycle, the egg retrieval process is one of the last. Many people also feel nervous about this step.
However, it's not as scary as it may sound. You'll receive anesthesia so that you're comfortable throughout the procedure. Your egg or eggs will be removed using a thin needle, and you shouldn't feel any pain. The procedure only takes about twenty minutes and has very little risk.
5. You May Need to Repeat Your IVF Cycle
One more thing to be ready for is that you may need to undergo more than one IVF cycle to become pregnant. For many, IVF is successful the first time around. However, others don't get pregnant the first time and must repeat the entire process once, twice, or multiple times.
After the transfer of embryos to the uterus, there will be a waiting period of 9-11 days before you can take a pregnancy test. The test will require blood work, and if possible, we want to repeat it to make sure the hCG levels are rising normally.
It's good to prepare yourself for the possibility that the test is not positive. But even if this is the case, there's still hope. Remember that it's not uncommon to need more than one IVF cycle to conceive. Many factors affect your chances of conception with the first cycle, such as your age.
Supporting You On Your Fertility Journey
We're here to support you on your path to parenthood, whatever your unique fertility situation. Our highly specialized and compassionate team is dedicated to helping you build the family you desire.
We've been at the forefront of comprehensive fertility care for many years. Our clinic is designed to be a comfortable, welcoming, and inclusive environment for anyone seeking fertility care.
Besides IVF, we offer several types of advanced reproductive care, including intracytoplasmic sperm injection, surrogacy, embryo genetic testing, intrauterine insemination, and egg and sperm donation, to meet a broad spectrum of fertility needs.
We're always here to answer any questions you may have. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a consultation.