IVF · IVF what they don't tell you

IVF – What they don’t tell you

So you have done your research and made your decisions and you are ready to start your IVF process.. or maybe you are still looking for a few answers that you just can’t find on the internet?

If you’re still worried, here are some things that aren’t on the websites, the little details they don’t tell you, the worst of the worst… which is actually not that bad. If you’re getting a mini you out of it, then it’s all worth it. Here are those first “joys of motherhood” from your IVF treatment:

  1. IVF IUI ICSI ET. What? You don’t know what all of those abbreviations stand for? That’s ok, I still don’t. All the terminology is daunting and can be confusing, especially when the doctor starts throwing it all at you and not noticing your look of sheer perplexity. We sought treatment in a foreign country and had a translator in each appointment too, so that was extra fun. Don’t worry too much about it, as long as you understand what your treatment is, and what you and your partner (if you have one), need to do – then that’s all that matters. Ask your doctor again and again if you don’t understand, that is what they are paid for and no question is a dumb one.
  2. The medications. My partner and I went through a treatment called ROPA – this is basically plumping her up so she creates lots of lovely eggs (follicles) for the Doctor to harvest. We then get some donated love in a cup and fertilise. From here, we wait until day 5, when a nice strong Embryo has formed and plant it in my nicely medically prepared endometrium for the harvest. I will go into more detail about the amount of medications in another blog – but it is a lot, and if you don’t like needles, you soon will.
  3. The Needles. I know I briefly mentioned this above, but seriously. If you have a fear of medications, it’s time to face that fear! You don’t really have a choice. It starts with the blood tests, and moves on to the medication needles.
  4. The follicle growing. This wasn’t me, it was my partner, but I saw her pain. These little things grow with this medication, and grow they do!! By the end of the treatment, she was looking at about 13 follicles in each ovary, all around 1.7 – 2cm’s. If you go and buy a bag of grapes, put 13 in each hand (if you can), and then imagine squishing them into your ovaries and carrying them around. I don’t imagine there is a lot of space there, and the bloating, possible cramping and discomfort couldn’t be a pleasant thing. Then again, I will be carrying a whole human inside me so…
  5. The extraction. This is a small procedure, but my partner did have to go under anesthetic. It can be scary if you wake up alone, so hopefully your partner or someone is there – but you’re literally out for about 15 minutes. It takes much longer to wake up and you may have some cramps for the next few days. 5 days later, if you’re not having the eggs replanted in you, you will be right as rain.
  6. The implanting. My turn. This happens either 3 or 5 days after the fertilisation. A quick valium for relaxing and into the theatre. With legs wide open and that wonderful contraption that opens you up (clearly not invented by a woman), your embryo is squished into the wall of your endometrium. This can be a little painful, but not overbearingly so. And it’s over in about 5 minutes.
  7. Leg Pain. I am at day 4 after the transfer and my goodness. The leg pain. I have googled a million times over, but apparently this horrendously painful muscle / nerve / hell fire pain is normal for a lot of women at this stage. I put it down to the body suddenly realising there is an embryo and it hasn’t gone through it’s own normal procedure, so it’s trying to catch up throwing hormones and estrogen everywhere. Let’s not forget that you will still be on medication a this point, so there is estrogen coming at you from all angles.

If none of this has put you off, then you are ready to grow those babies!


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