Know the Process: What to Expect from Your IVF Treatments

Today, one in every 100 babies born came into their parent’s lives with help from assistive treatments like in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Once a successful pregnancy brings a child into the world, the travails and challenges associated with getting IVF treatments can seem almost insignificant by comparison. Still, it’s a distinct experience that keeps many prospective mothers awake at night. Here are a few key points concerning what you can expect.

Hormonal Changes

Many women about to begin full stimulation IVF are most apprehensive about taking fertility drugs that stimulate the egg production. This is usually because they’re known to produce some uncomfortable side effects, although not all women experience the majority of them.

In reality, these side effects aren’t that much different than what you experience during your menstrual cycle. Bloating and weight gain are typically the result of water retention, and will subside once this phase of treatment is through. The same goes for any mood swings, hot flashes, or increased anxiety you notice.

In rarer cases, women can develop ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, or OHS. The majority of instances are considered mild and non-life threatening. Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and abrupt weight gain characterize these cases.

As a general rule, women who undergo IVF are also more likely, although sometimes only slightly more likely, to have miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, multiple births, and postpartum depression. It’s best to bring up any fears you have with the physician at your clinic, as they should be able to discuss these factors with you at length before proceeding.

Taking the Next Steps

The prospect of egg-retrieval can be just as anxiety-inducing, but it’s an outpatient procedure that takes less than an hour. You should be sedated or completely under during the retrieval. For the procedure, your doctor will first do an ultrasound to determine where the ovaries are and assess the egg-containing follicles.

From there, extraction will occur with a needle. A specialist might immediately assess the fluid that was extracted to identify the eggs as you begin recovery. You’ll be released the same day.

Now it’s time for the magic to happen. The retrieved eggs will be fertilized, and soon it will be time for your embryo transfer procedure – another short procedure, only this time you’ll be fully conscious. After inserting a speculum, a catheter will be inserted through the opening of the cervix. With the assistance of an ultrasound, your embryos will be deposited in the optimal place for implantation.

Just like the egg extraction, you’ll be able to go home the same day, although you shouldn’t engage in any activity that jolts the uterus while you’re waiting to see if you’ve become pregnant. You’ll take your first test within 9-11 days. If you’re pregnant at that time, your journey may not be over, as your clinic may want to continue monitoring you for the first two to three months.

In the end, most anxieties are of the anticipatory sort. Fertility clinics are very well-versed in this process, even as it has made incredible strides in recent decades. Remaining informed and encouraged as you move through the steps will help you stay comfortable and keep reasonable expectations.

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