Guest Blog by Michelle Ramone, a write-from-home blogger and mother of three from New England.
Relax! You can do this. Millions of women before you have received in-vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive their children. Sure, there are going to be some things that are new to you and a bit scary. You’ll be getting pregnant through science rather than the natural way, so there’s bound to be some things you don’t understand. Don’t worry. Whatever medicine you’re taking, procedure you’re having, or symptom you’re experiencing, some woman somewhere has shared the same experience. If you’re going through IVF for the first time and are nervous about it, here are three tips to keep you cool as a cucumber (and being relaxed is good for the baby, too!).
1. Plan Ahead for the Costs
IVF is expensive. No one is disputing that at all. If you’re just starting out on the road to doing IVF, you probably know about the main costs already. Most fertility clinics offer package deals that include all or parts of the IVF procedure. However, these packages almost never include medications, and there may be some other extra costs along the way, too. Anesthesia for the egg retrieval procedure, assisted hatching of eggs, intro-cytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), and other things like that can greatly add to the overall cost.
When you say yes to doing IVF, make sure you get a breakdown of the cost of everything from your fertility clinic, and ask if financial help is available for any of it. Some medicines have discount programs based on income, like Compassionate Care. You’ll be able to plan your budget for the whole procedure better this way, without any financial surprises coming up mid-way through that could throw your whole pregnancy plan off schedule.
2. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Never have something done to you that you don’t understand. Ask questions as they come to you (and they will come). If you’re concerned about the risks of a certain procedure or medicine, if you want to know your real chance of getting pregnant the first try with IVF based on the clinic’s percentages, or even if you just want to know what a certain term means, ask. Ask your nurse or doctor while you’re at the clinic and call to speak with your IVF coordinator on the phone if a question comes to you when you’re not there. You’ll feel more empowered and in control of the procedure and much more at ease about the whole thing if you’re completely informed about everything you’re doing. Fertility clinic personnel are used to answering questions of all sorts, so don’t be shy about asking about things as often as you desire.
3. Learn the Symptoms of Your Medications and of Pregnancy
You’re going to be on a lot of medications for a couple of months. These medications are to get your body ready for pregnancy. A lot of them are hormone-based or manipulate your own hormones. Side effects are not uncommon. In fact, they are to be expected. For example, the medication you take to suppress ovulation until your scheduled egg retrieval can cause hot flashes like those experienced in menopause. Once your embryos are made and transferred to your womb, there’s a two week wait until you can take a pregnancy test. However, you may experience pregnancy symptoms before then. Learn these symptoms and other common conditions associated with your medications and pregnancy, and do your research. Staying informed will make you more prepared for each new experience.