5 Things To Know Before Starting IVF
Prepare yourself for a roller coaster of emotions.
18 July 2017
As of 2017, in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) is the most effective treatment in the world for infertility and more than 5 million babies have been born as a result of IVF procedures since 1978.
But IVF is not a piece of cake. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Here are 5 things you must know before starting IVF.
1. It's going to take time.
A full IVF cycle will last 4 weeks - 8 weeks, depending on how your body reacts to medication.
The first step is to suppress the natural menstrual cycle by taking hormone injections - this typically lasts two weeks. The next step is ovarian stimulation, wherein 1-3 shots are self-administered for 8-12 days. Once that is done, your doctor will administer a shot to release an egg and see you 36 hours later to retrieve the released egg.
Once the egg is retrieved it is immediately fertilised and left to grow for a period of 6 days. Finally, a viable embryo is chosen for implantation in the uterus and a week later your doctor will be able to tell if the embryo was implanted successfully or not.
2. It will typically take more than one cycle of IVF to get pregnant.
According to the National Infertility Association, only 20-30% of women who try IVF will be successful in the first round. Typically, a woman will have to go through 3 cycles of IVF to get pregnant.
It is advised to wait at least a month/ let one menstrual cycle pass before trying again. A woman who tries IVF 3 times is looking at investing eight months of her life in the process.
3. It might take a toll on your relationship.
Even though the IVF process has been streamlined over the years, it can strain even the strongest relationships. The disappointment of infertility, coupled with the stress of the high costs, treatments, and subsequent failure can be destructive.
The key here is communication. Remember, you are in this together.
4. With an extra screening process, you can choose your baby's gender.
What a world we live in! Thanks to an elective test called pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), the sex chromosomes of each embryo can be analysed and the couple can choose if they want to have a boy or a girl.
Be prepared to spend a whole lot more than you already are should you choose to opt for PGD.
5. It's going to be a roller-coaster ride.
With the stress of infertility, failure of IVF working the first time around, fear of miscarrying and hormone shots, you can expect nothing short of a roller coaster of emotions. It's going to be tough. It's going to be stressful. But if you stick it out, it's going to be worth it.