Last updated: May 1st, 2021 at 09:10 am
There are several different steps to IVF
IVF Step 1: IVF Cycle Birth Control Pills Phase
This is the first possible phase of IVF, it lasts for approximately 14-21 days. At the beginning of your IVF cycle, you may be put on birth control pills for a 2 to 3 week period of time. If not, then you will go to start at step 2 below.
IVF Side effects: Some women experience side effects such as headaches, night sweats, irritability, feelings of depression.
This phase of the IVF cycle lasts for approximately 10-12 days. This involves injections in to your abdomen. Giving the injections is not something that the IVF clinics do for you, this is something you must do yourself. The clinics usually offer instructions on how to administer the injections or they refer you to instructional videos on YouTube. Usually you or your partner give the injections. The injections that you will begin at this time are commonly called “Stimulation injections”, specifically they are Gonadotropin injections. The purpose of administering gonadotropin is to stimulate the ovaries to produce more than one egg. Bravelle, Repronex, Pergonal (hMG), Follistim and Gonal-F (FSH) are some of the medications given as an injection once or twice a day to recruit multiple eggs which develop inside follicles. You will also need to take another injection ( such as Antagon and Cetrotide) to prevent a premature release of the stimulated eggs before the egg retrieval procedure. After reviewing blood test results, your physician will determine (on or about the 6th through 8th day of gonadotropin injections) when to begin the injections that will prevent premature release of eggs. During this stimulation phase you will probably be asked back to the IVF clinic several times for vaginal ultrasound scans. These scans track how many follicles are developing as well as the thickness of your uterine lining. These scans are valuable because it gives the IVF clinic information on how things are progressing for you and they may change your medication levels accordingly, tweaking and fine tuning the medications to get the desired results.
IVF Side effects: the medication itself can cause some women to experience uncomfortable breast tenderness and abdominal distention. Also some women have bruising and skin irritation at the site of the injection from the act of inserting the needle.
IVF Risk: Occasionally the ovaries are over stimulated and there is a risk of developing OHSS-Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome. This when there are a large number of follicles present and the ovaries might possibly enlarge and release chemicals into the bloodstream that make blood vessels leak fluid into the body. OHSS can be classified as Mild, Moderate or Severe. Most instances are mild or moderate with the enlarged ovaries developing cysts and fluid filling up the abdominal cavity. Your IVF cycle may be cancelled. The most severe occurs in only 1%-1.5% and requires in hospitalisation and treatment to recover, (symptoms are nausea, vomiting, abdominal distention and pain, breathlessness, feeling weak, reduced urine output, heartburn or indigestion).
IVF Side effects: Following this egg retrieval procedure you may experience some pelvic area tenderness and feel tired or sleepy from the medications you have received during the procedure. You may also experience some light vaginal spotting. This bleeding may be red to brown in color and should be scanty. The medications given during your egg retrieval to calm you may not be eliminated by your body for up to 24 hours, so you may feel “hung over” or just not your normal self for a little while afterwards.
IVF Risk: Pelvic infection
It is important to know that the lack of control and lack of information at this time can be very stressful for couples as they will not know how things are progressing because their embryos are in the care of someone else, in another location.
This can be a very exciting day for couples to have reached this point of Embryo Transfer.
It is important to know that the 2 week wait after IVF embryo transfer can be a very stressful time for couples as they do not know if their embryo/s are implanting as there are usually no further appointments with the IVF clinic during the 2 week wait. So the lack of information about how things are progressing can lead to feelings of stress and doubt.
About 1 in 3 IVF cycles are successful and result in pregnancy. Factors such as age, pre-existing conditions like PCOS or low AMH or high FSH or sperm issues can have an impact on your chances of success.
You can visit the mayo clinic website to read more about what happens during an IVF cycle
Click here to read our article about how combining IVF with Acupuncture doubles the success rate of IVF
1st scan at approximately 6 ½-7 weeks pregnant. 2nd scan at approximately 7 ½ – 8 ½ weeks pregnant
You are usually referred to an Obstetrician from about 8-10 weeks pregnant.
*Note that having IVF does not always result in a positive pregnancy test. Success rates of IVF vary, consult with your clinic for their success rates.
IVF Medication Side effects are short term. Hot flashes may be felt when your estrogen level lowers and will disappear when you begin gonadotropin injections. Occasionally, patients experience headaches as well.
Antagon and Cetrotide (ganirelix acetate) are antagonists. Antagonists block the action of something. In this case it blocks the ovulation stimulating action of gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH). The effect is similar to Lupron in that Antagon and Cetrotide prevent premature ovulation. Side effects are infrequent, minor and usually limited to redness or soreness at the site of injection.
Menopur is a brand name for hMG. Bravelle, Repronex, Pergonal. hMG is a combination of the hormones FSH (Follicular Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinizing Hormone).
Bravelle, Follistim & Gonal-F contain only pure FSH. They directly affect the ovaries to recruit multiple follicles before normal selection of a single dominant follicle occurs. Eggs develop inside follicles.
IVF medication Side effects here may include abdominal distention/discomfort, bloating sensation, mood swings, fatigue or restlessness. In most cases, the side effects are relieved by follicular aspiration. Multiple births may occur with this medication.
IVF Medication Side effects here are similar to those encountered with the above mentioned IVF medications may be briefly noticed.