Guest blog by TJ Farnsworth, founder & CEO of Aspire Fertility.
If you’re reading this, you may be considering IVF, to have a baby, or may even be preparing to start your cycle. You might be a little nervous or uncertain. We felt that way too!
Learning about IVF makes it easier to anticipate what will happen and allow you to feel more in control of your cycle. Knowing what’s normal, what isn’t, and the important questions to ask is super important!
IVF Medications and Frequency:
The most common question we get asked – will I need to take shots? The answer is yes; there is no way around it. To be effective, the medications must be given by injection. Don’t stress about this – the needles are small, and there are tricks your nurses can share with you to ease your fears.
The doctor will do testing before your cycle starts to determine the best protocol to use and specific medication doses. Depending on your dosing schedule, you will take shots every day for a couple of weeks. During that time, you’ll need to see the doctor for several appointments, sometimes every day, for bloodwork and an ultrasound to track your follicle growth. Though it seems redundant to go in so frequently, these visits are incredibly important because the doctor will make custom adjustments to your medication. This is done to optimize the cycle to get the best response possible.
Stay in communication with your treatment team – you’ll need to know how much medication to take and when to take it. If you are unsure about your instructions, call your doctor, I promise they will appreciate the extra check-in!
Egg Retrieval and Embryo Transfer
Once the ovarian follicles are the right size, you’ll be scheduled for the egg retrieval. This minor procedure takes about 30 minutes. If you have a male partner, they will be scheduled to provide a sperm sample to create embryos. If you are using donor sperm, the sperm will be prepared by the lab to be used that day.
The sperm and eggs are then combined to form embryos. You should get periodic updates on their health and development. If you have elected to do genetic testing, this is typically done before freezing, on day five or six of embryo development. If you don’t elect to do genetic testing, your doctor will determine if a day-3 fresh transfer or frozen embryo transfer would be best for you. Today’s highest standards call for the embryos to be frozen to allow your hormones to reestablish for a month or more. Once you are medically ready to receive the embryo, it is thawed under exacting conditions and then transferred to your uterus.
You’ll have the pregnancy test results about two weeks after the embryo transfer. For us, this waiting and not knowing was the hardest part!
Even though IVF can be an emotional and challenging journey, we are grateful everyday for our little guy, and wish for you the same success!
TJ Farnsworth is the founder & CEO of Aspire Fertility. Because he and his wife have experienced the struggle of infertility first-hand, he writes with a unique and understanding perspective that sets him apart from many. It was their second round of IVF that resulted in the birth of their first child. Although Farnsworth was able to fulfill his dream of growing his family, he knew that fertility treatments could be improved. He looked at each step of the process and designed a clinic that changed the way fertility services were provided: Aspire Fertility. He is now committed to providing five-star patient care, ending the stigma of infertility, and spreading awareness about the subject so that all those struggling with infertility know they are not alone. Farnsworth currently lives in Houston, Texas with his wife Margaret and their two children.