After 9 years of infertility, countless months of trying on our own to conceive, we have made the HUGE decision to move forward with IVF (or in vitro fertilization). We have paid for the cycle and will be buying the medications next week. I thought today I would share a little bit about what we are going to be going through over the next month to month-and-a-half. So, here is a brief overview of what our process is going to look like:
The doctor will check the uterus to make sure everything looks like it should and will do a test to make sure they will be able to do the transfer without any problems.
The doctor will check the ovaries to make sure there aren’t any cysts so they know I am ready to start with the medications.
In our case, this means we will start using two different injections:
- Gonal-F (which causes your ovaries to develop multiple follicles at once)
- LoDose HCG (which causes your eggs to mature inside the follicles)
Monitoring Ultrasound #1
The doctor will check the ovaries to see how the follicles are progressing. They will be able to see how many follicles are developing as well as measure the size of them. Once the follicles start getting to a certain size, I will start taking a third injection – Cetrotide (which prevents ovulation).
Monitoring Ultrasound #2
The doctor will continue to monitor my ovaries to see how the follicles are progressing. Depending on how this appointment goes, we may or may not need one more monitoring ultrasound.
Based on the monitoring ultrasound, the doctor will tell me when I need to use what is known as a trigger shot. This is an injection called Ovidrel which will cause me to ovulate. Once I use the Ovidrel I will not have to do any more injections! Yay!
About 36 hours after I do the Ovidrel shot, I will go in for my egg retrieval. I will be lightly sedated and the doctor will use an ultrasound to guide him through retrieving the eggs from the follicles. Once all of the eggs have been removed, the embryologist will perform a procedure known as ICSI (or intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection). This is where a single sperm is injected into an egg to promote fertilization.
Now, it’s time for the waiting game! I will wait for a phone call from the doctor to let me know how many of the eggs survived and developed enough to be used or frozen for later use.
Around 5 days after the retrieval, we will go back in to have an embryo transferred into my uterus. Our current plan, no matter how many develop, is to transfer one embryo and freeze all of the other embryos.
Wait and wait and wait…
Now we wait. Just like when you are trying on your own, there is a period of waiting before you are able to test to see if you are pregnant. Once we do the transfer, we will have to wait 10-12 days before we will get a blood test done to determine if the cycle was successful, meaning we are pregnant. We will have a second blood test done 2 days after the first one to make sure my hormone levels are increasing the way they should.
So, that’s a not-so-brief overview. Currently we have completed the Trial Transfer step. Even though this whole process (from Trial Transfer to Transfer) only takes about 4 weeks, we are only at the beginning of the journey.
On any given day I will go from happy and hopeful to tired to being unable to focus on anything except the possibilities (both good and bad). Needless to say, this journey is a long one, but the hardest part is that majority of your time is spent just waiting. I don’t think it would be as difficult if the time were filled with doing something. But, unfortunately, that is not the case.
So, we fill our time with reading and Netflix and going on date nights. We fill our time with support groups and hobbies and quiet times at home.
I’m determined to take this journey one step at a time…one moment at a time…one day at a time…