I have been very secrete about our IVF journey. Many family members and friends do not know that we did IVF. I was worried about others feeling sorry for us or asking about it constantly. It is an emotional journey and the last thing I needed was sympathy and questions. My husband and I completed IVF treatment in the fall of 2020. First, I am going to break down what was all required. Keep in mind every fertility specialist has a different protocol depending on the reason for you being unable to get pregnant. This is just my experience from our journey.
IVF and Medications
One tip we learned from our doctors office is the prices of medications for IVF. I had to take in shot form, Menopur, Ganirelix, HCG trigger, and Progestorone in oil. The oral medication I had to take was Birth Control (in the beginning before the IVF treatement) and Estrace. Luckily my husbands insurance has a $25,000 lifetime maximum of fertility. We still had to put out money of our own but not $25,000 worth! TIP: The doctors office told us about a medication company in another country called IVFmeds.com. The cost of some medications was way more then half the cost of the United States. (Yes I was skeptical at first but they work! My eggs grew and we ended up pregnant)
Transvaginal Ultrasounds and Bloodwork
You will have MANY transvaginal ultrasounds through this process. I really don’t know how many ultrasounds I have had. Before doing IVF, we tried other methods that did not work so I have had many ultrasounds. The reason for all of the ultrasounds is to keep and eye on whether the medication is working to grow you eggs. The bloodwork is necessary to check your progestogen levels, LH, and Estradiol. The last two bloodwork sessions that I had was to check you HCG levels to see if I was pregnant. My levels were 108 MIU for the first time then 241 MIU on day two. They want the numbers to double at the 48 hour mark. This confirmed that I was pregnant.
Now The Process Begins
I first stated out taking an injection called Menoupur for 10 days. In the midst of taking this, I had to begin another injection called Ganirelix with it for 6 days. For these first 10 days I had to inject myself in the stomach. I hate needles so trust me when I say this was not for me. If you hate needles I promise you can get through this. You will be poked a lot but it is all worth it and actually helps with the fear. Now it hardly bothers me to get an injection or even blood taken.
During this time I had 4-5 transvaginal ultrasounds and bloodwork everyday. Tip: Use numbing cream at the site you will be getting bloodwork. You cannot even feel the needle. I used Ebanel 5% Lidocaine topical solution from Amazon. You can find it here!
Step 2: Egg Retrieval
They have to do this on a certain day. They will give you a time frame of when they think they can retrieve the eggs but it all depends on the growth of your eggs. You will have to take a subcutaneous injection of a type of trigger shot 2 days before and then the day of. Your husband will have to be there to provide a semen collection so that they eggs can be fertilized immediately after they are retrieved. You will have someone there no matter what because you will be put out. I had 18 eggs that needed to come out. I was in a lot of pain that morning before the retrieval. I was put under for them to retrieve my eggs. I felt better but don’t expect your ovaries to shrink right away. Mine did not fully shrink until I was 8 weeks pregnant. I believe it depends on how many eggs you had shoved in there.
Step 3: Waiting
Now you wait on the phone call. How many eggs are growing and how healthy are they? Many of our eggs were doing great. We went back in 5 days later for the embryo transfer. We only transferred one because our doctor did not recommend two due to how young I was and the problem I had was that my eggs wouldn’t grow properly so there was a good chance it would implant just fine.
Step 4: Embryo Transfer
You will have to take it easy a few days after this. They take you back while you are away and stick some kind of thing with they egg in there and place the egg. I was on valium so I was kind of in and out of it. They want a full bladder when they do it so it was uncomfortable. I do remember that. (Also during the next few weeks I became very bloated and sick. I had horrible morning sickness and that was my first pregnancy symptom). This is when I began Progesterone in Oil and Estrace daily. The progesterone injection is very scary looking. Photo below.
Trust me it isn’t as bad as it seems. Read my blog about How To Survive the Progesterone Injection. Below is the typical injection site for the needle. We had to draw marks to remember where it was every time
Estrace is just a pill that I took 3 times daily (that was the easy part). I took both medications for the first 10 weeks of pregnancy. It is important to take it everyday at the same time. After my 10 week scan I was done. Everything was looking great and we heard the heartbeat at 8 weeks. I cried so hard ❤.
There is a lot of steps during an IVF process but you doctor and nurses will lead you along the way. I received a schedule of when and what medications i would be starting. It also stated when the blood tests, ultrasounds, retrieval, and transfer dates were. As I said in the beginning, I a was terrified of needles but this fear outweighed how bad I wanted a baby. In the end it is all worth it. I cannot wait to hold my baby boy.