Top 10 IVF Questions AnsweredLisanne Wellness Center
Are you considering IVF but are unsure of where to get started? Are you currently undergoing IVF but have some questions left unanswered? If so, you’re not alone. About 1.5% of all babies born in the U.S. are born via IVF. And the couples who turn to IVF therapy are almost always scared and concerned for their chances of getting pregnant. But just because you’re afraid doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to know everything you want to know leading up to this huge life decision.
Here are 10 questions about IVF you may be too afraid to ask your doctor:
1. When should I start considering IVF?
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while, you may start to think about a possibility that something is wrong, but asking your doctor about infertility can feel daunting. And you don’t want to jump the gun and ask what’s wrong if you’ve only tried for a few weeks. So, how do you know when to bring up the topic with your doctor? In general, if you’re younger than 35, you should try to get pregnant for a year before you start worrying about infertility. For women over age 35, you should try for 6 months.
To increase your chances of conception, you may like to track your cycle (either with apps that track your menstrual cycle or by recording your basal temperature) to tell you when you’re ovulating and have a higher chance of conceiving.
2. What will the doctor do?
First your doctor will perform various fertility tests on both you and your partner to identify the reason for infertility. Some common reasons for not conceiving include low sperm count, endometriosis, irregular ovulation, or sperm not surviving in the cervical mucus. Depending on what your doctor finds, you will be given a choice of treatment options that may include IVF.
3. Will it work for me?
IVF does not guarantee conception because there are so many reasons why you may opt for IVF therapy. However, IVF is the most successful way to get pregnant when you’re unable to conceive naturally. If you definitely want to have your own child and have exhausted other options, IVF is your best hope to start a family.
4. How long does IVF take?
It takes between 4-6 weeks to complete one cycle of IVF depending on the individual requirements, and there are certain stages that you will need to complete.
5.What are the stages of IVF?
Here’s what you can expect during one round of IVF.
Stage One – Ovary stimulation. You will take a daily injection of hormones to stimulate egg production in your ovaries. This is so that they can be removed and fertilized later. This stage usually lasts for 8-14 days.
Stage Two – Monitoring your ovaries. White taking the hormone injections, you will need to regularly visit your clinic so that your doctor can monitor your blood hormone levels and check your ovaries using an ultrasound.
Stage Three – Your eggs are ready. Once your eggs are ready, you will be given a “trigger shot” to mature the eggs and make them ready for fertilization. About 36 hours after this trigger shot, your eggs are ready to be retrieved.
Stage Four – Retrieving your eggs. Your eggs are now ready! Your doctor will give you general anesthetic, and using a thin needle, will retrieve between 8-15 eggs, which will now be fertilized.
Stage Five – Fertilization. Your eggs will now be fertilized with your partner’s sperm and left overnight to incubate. In some cases, it may be necessary to use a technique Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, where a sperm is injected directly into the egg.
Stage Six – Developing and selecting the embryos. The embryos are given time, usually three days, to develop and then your doctor will select the most viable embryos. By this point fertilized embryos will have started to develop a placenta. Any extra embryos will be frozen for future IVF attempts.
Stage Seven – Implanting the embryo(s). Depending on your situation, between one and five embryos will be implanted into your uterus.
Stage Eight – Successful implantation or starting a new cycle. If the treatment has been successful the embryo(s) will have connected to the uterine wall, and start growing and developing in the womb. If none have “taken,” then you’re not pregnant this time around, and will need to start a new cycle.
6. How long should I wait between cycles?
Your doctor will assess your situation and make recommendations as to what could be done next time to ensure success, and advise you how long you need to wait before you can try again. Generally it will be one or two menstrual cycles, but this can vary on a case-by-case basis.
7. Is it safe?
IVF isn’t perfect and can have some side-effects, particularly for the mother. These include Ovarian Hyperstimulation due to the hormones and mild bloating and cramping. Your doctor will be able to help and advise you of these side-effects.
8. Will I have twins or triplets?
While there is no way to know if you will have twins or triplets, IVF does often lead to multiple-births. This is due to implanting multiple embryos into the uterus. While it’s possible that only one will “take,” its also possible that more than one embryo will be successfully implanted, leading to multiple-births.
9. What can I do to improve my chances of conception?
There are some things you can do to help your chances of IVF success. The first is to enroll in some kind of stress management program alongside IVF. Women who engage in stress management programs are more likely to get pregnant during IVF than those who don’t. Our Fertile Mind Body Experience is one such program. You should also limit alcohol intake, quit smoking (if you smoke), and eat healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins. Avoid strenuous exercise and consider taking supplements like vitamin-D, omega-3 fatty acids, and Methyl Folate Plus, which may increase the outcome of IVF therapy.
10. Will my baby be healthy?
There is a slightly higher chance of birth defects with IVF therapy than with natural birth, but this likely has to do with factors outside of IVF treatment. For instance, IVF is more common in older mothers who already have a higher chance of birth abnormalities, and in men with abnormal sperm which can also lead to birth defects. Your doctor will monitor your pregnancy and screen for any birth defects or abnormalities.
If you’ve considering IVF and want to have the best chance possible of getting pregnant, contact Lisanne Wellness Center today at 713-461-WELL.