Causes & Treatment

Starting IVF for the First Time – Tips from TTC Warriors

Eloise Edington  |  26 Feb 2021


 

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Words by Deanna Texeira

When it comes to trying to conceive, the decision or being forced to turn to IVF can be daunting for many reasons. This is why we decided to ask our Fertility Help Hub followers on Instagram what they think others can expect or might find helpful to know when embarking on IVF or fertility treatment for the very first time. These are personal views from many different people around the world about what they wished they’d known when starting fertility treatment, which we hope you will find helpful.

Related Article – My Journey With Infertility: 9 Years of Fertility Treatments and Baby Loss

The Emotional Side of IVF

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and, when it comes to IVF, this fact is even more important to be aware of. There are so many parts of the process that can cause stress, anxiety, depression and communication breakdowns between partners etc, but there are also so many ways in which you can overcome this. Through “Seeking support from others, particularly others in a similar position, it can remind you that you are not alone…” .

Following the many responses we got from our readers, we were able to provide a list of key advice from other TTC (trying to conceive) Warriors, on what to remember when going though IVF:

  • It will be an emotional roller-coaster, so remember to take it one day at a time, especially during the two week wait (2WW)

  • It is a process, so try not to get too high on the highs or too low on the lows

  • Be kind and patient with yourself, you have to do what feels right

  • Find what feels good and follow your intuition

  • You have to be your own biggest advocate; don’t rely fully on the fertility specialists

  • Lower your expectations and don’t compare your fertility journey to anyone else’s

  • Make IVF PART of your life, not ALL of your life

  • Don’t Google!

  • Be optimistic but don’t count your chickens.. .just yet

  • Focus on this step; don’t worry about the next one or project too far into the future

  • Don’t expect it to work the first time – keep an open mind

  • Stay calm and focused

Related Video – Embryo Transfer Tips & Managing the Two Week Wait with Dr Samantha Pfeifer

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The Physical Side

The physical effects of IVF vary from person to person but The Mayo Clinic breaks it down into various steps: the ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, sperm retrieval, fertilization and often embryo transfer. You may have more than one cycle if required, but usually the one cycle of IVF takes around two to three weeks. It does require various injections, however, as unnerving as that may sound, our TTC Warriors have wise words to help:

  • The injections are not as scary as you think, and you will be able to inject yourself like a badass by the end of Cycle 1

  • Sometimes they can get painful af
    ter a while, however you can use some lidocaine to numb the area

  • As your body adjusts to the change in hormones, you will feel exhausted, so remember to get lots of rest

  • Try to set alarms on your phone to remind you to take your fertility medication

  • Be firm with the injections, so that you get through the skin the first time, and then be really gentle. There is then pretty much no bruising after (sometimes for blood thinners and progesterone shots)

  • You will get used to the injections, it’s just the waiting that is the hardest part

  • Don’t stress too much about what your body is doing, try instead to celebrate along the way at how far you’ve come

Related Article – How Do BMI and Age Affect IVF and Fertility?

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Things To Remember/Things To Do

Don’t forget what we said earlier on about how there are many things you can actively do to get through the IVF process. Here is a list from our community of things to remember / do, to help yourself get through in the best way possible.

Things to Do:

  • Watch YouTube videos to hear stories from others; it’s a good way to learn

  • Eat healthily and try to remain calm

  • Have a good support system – understand you are not alone

  • Invest in a good book

  • Arrange something nice for the end of the 2WW (two-week wait), so you’ve got something to look forward to

  • Try Headspace for meditation and breathing

  • Try the MindfullVF app

Things to Remember:

  • Remember to research your fertility clinic and fertility specialist before jumping into treatment

  • Ask questions – if you don’t understand, ask again. No question is a stupid question!

  • Don’t over Google

  • Remember that the IVF process is not always successful; it works differently for different people – everyone has their own journey and it could take many attempts

Related Article – 2WW: 7 Must Do’s to Survive Your Two Week Wait During IVF

If you’re looking for community, in a safe space, join our free Fertility Squad, to meet and connect with others travelling the same path.

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