The IVF Process: Day By Day

The IVF process: Day-By-Day

Here is what to expect when you’re doing IVF for the first time. The IVF process can seem overwhelming, but you will soon be an expert!

 

Going to the fertility clinic doesn’t mean that you’re starting IVF… There are actually a lot of steps in between getting referred to a fertiltiy clinic and doing IVF, like testing, possible surgical procedures, and other less invasive treatment.

 

Keep reading for a day-by-day account of what will happen when you start IVF so that you feel more prepared.

Day 1

Regular cycles: Call or email the clinic on day 1 of your period (bright red blood, not spotting)

 

Irregular cycles: Your doctor might prescribe you birth control or another hormone replacement for a month or two. Then you call or email on your day 1.

Day 3

(which they may re-name Day 1)

You have your first cycle monitoring appointment. Bloodwork, internal ultrasound. Wait. Meet with your doctor, who looks at your bloodwork and ultrasound results and decides on a drug protocol. Meet with a nurse who gives you a giant stack of paperwork to take home and sign, the bill (I was asked to pay $4000 that day), and then explains how to do your injections (take a video so you don’t forget).

Day 4+5

You do your injections at home. You’ll still feel reasonably good at this point.

Day 6

Go back to the fertility clinic.

Again: Bloodwork, ultrasound, doctor, nurse.

In the ultrasound they’re looking to see how your ovaries are responding to the drugs. In a normal cycle, only one follicle will mature, but they want a lot of follicles to mature. Based on the results, your doctor may slightly alter your drug protocol.

Day 7+8

Do your injections at home. You may start to feel side effects of the drugs now.

Day 9

Go back to the fertility clinic.

Again: Bloodwork, ultrasound, doctor, nurse.

They may give you a tentative egg retreival date.

Day 10+11

Do your injections at home. Your ovaries might feel so big now that you can’t do normal exercise. Other side effects can be extreme fatigue, irritability, or increased libido.

Day 12

Fertility Clinic. They’ll give you your trigger shot(s) for later, and schedule your egg retrieval.

Trigger Day

You will give yourself a new kind of injection 36 hours before your egg retreival is scheduled (this was usually around 1:30am for me!).

Then you get a Day Off! A whole 24 hours with no injections!

Egg Retrieval Day

The day your partner or male donor gives their sperm.

You will be put into “concious sedation”. Some people remember it, but I didn’t. Your doctor performs a minor surgical procedure where they suck your matured eggs into a tube and collect them.

An embryologist will bring the egg and sperm together.

 

The Week After Your Egg Retrieval

This is an incredibly emotional week.

You will be called every couple days with updates on how your embryos are doing.

WARNING: The numbers always go down, and it’s heartbreaking.

If you’re doing a fresh transfer, you’ll be giving yourself progesterone (either injections, a patch, or suppositories), and then go in for your transfer either when the embryo is 3 or 5 days old.

Transfer Day

You and your partner go into the procedure room. You’re totally awake. They show you the embryo on a screen. An embryologist sucks it up into a long tube, which your doctor takes, and puts into your uterus. And then you get up and go eat French fries.

The Two Week Wait

You wait for about 12 days and see if you can not test at home. High anxiety.

The Beta

The blood test that checks for pregnancy is called Beta-HCG, but most people call it a Beta.

If it’s negative, the next few weeks suck. You are grieving.

If it’s positive, the next few weeks might be the scariest of your life. Pregnancy after infertility (and possible loss) is incredibly emotional with mixed feelings of happiness, disbelief, and fear that it might end.

 

Differences in The IVF Process

I’ve tried to give a general account of what will happen day-by-day during the IVF process. Of course, not every cycle or fertility clinic is the same, and yours might look quite different.

 

For example, my first egg retreival was on day 13 of my cycle, and my second one was on day 18. This happens because the doctor wants a certain number of follicles to mature, and may give you drugs for longer to see if they can get more. 

 

Your particular IVF process might look different whether you are doing a fresh or frozen embryo transfer. With fresh, your transfer day is in the week after your egg retrieval. With a frozen transfer, you may be on a different drug protocol for a few weeks before your transfer day.

 

I hope this day-by-day account will help you feel more prepared as you start the IVF process!

 

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