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The Road to Fertility: What to Expect During Your IVF Cycle

Exploring the IVF cycle

An IVF cycle is like starting a new job. There’s the stress and excitement of tackling a new experience. Plus, there’s the challenge of learning the “jargon” and committing to daily tasks that will involve your time and energy.  This is an important time to take care of yourself. Reducing stress through physical activity (i.e. yoga) or acupuncture can be helpful for some. Surrounding yourself with supportive friends and family can also help you to deal with the stresses of fertility treatment.

Understanding the IVF cycle

IVF patients work with our clinical and IVF nurses to sync calendars and prepare for treatment. Our business office can help prepare you financially. To equip you for your “job” as an IVF patient, we’ve summarized the five  steps to what will hopefully result in a successful IVF cycle.

1. Growing your eggs to maturity. In IVF, we’ll supplement the body’s natural reproductive process by stimulating the ovaries with potent hormonal medications. You may take birth control to prevent cysts and increase the flexibility of scheduling. You will also take Lupron to prevent you from prematurely releasing (i.e. ovulating) the mature eggs. While you take these medications, you’ll receive regular monitoring. When the two largest follicles reach around 20 millimeters, you take a shot of Ovidrel.  Your egg retrieval is typically 35.5 to 36 hours after this shot.

2. Choosing the best eggs for the job. We perform an egg retrieval in the IVF cycle.  We use an internal ultrasound to guide a long, thin instrument to drain the follicles of fluid. Within the fluid are the microscopic eggs. The procedure generally takes 20 minutes.

The next steps in the cycle

3. Fertilizing the eggs and growing the embryo. Now it’s your partner’s turn. The day of the IVF egg retrieval, he provides a sample. Within hours, we’ll introduce sperm to eggs in a meticulously controlled environment. Some couples may benefit from intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), where a sperm can be placed directly inside each egg

4. Transferring the embryo to the uterus. This involves placing a catheter into uterus and placing the embryo approximately 1.5-2 cm from the very top. Following the transfer, you will spend about a hour in the recovery area before going home. Your partner can be present for this procedure.

5. Surviving the waiting game.  We’ll nurture your growing embryo with progesterone and estrogen. However, you need to take care of yourself. Do yoga. Watch funny movies. Meditate.  The final step is, of course, a pregnancy test two weeks after the egg retrieval. Our hope for you is that this is the start of a new journey marked with great joy.

Contact us to learn more about the IVF cycle at TFC.

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