so what’s the deal with the super expensive treatment? Don’t hold me to these answers as i am by no means an expert, but here’s my take on a few ‘not so frequent’ FAQ’s.
What exactly is IVF?
IVF stands for in vitro fertilisation. To put it simply, during IVF an egg is removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilised with the male’s sperm in a lab. Ever heard of test tube babies? Yeah. That.
The fertilised egg and sperm is what is known as an embryo, this is then put back into the women for it to grow
What are the key procedures in IVF?
IVF involves 6 main stages:
- Suppressing your natural cycle
The menstrual cycle is suppressed with medication, this is usually injections that you give to yourself subcutaneously (through your fatty skin in your upper thigh or stomach)
- Follicle stimulation: boosting your egg supply
Medication (usually injections) is used to encourage the ovaries to produce more follicles which contain eggs.
- Monitoring your progress and maturing your eggs
Internal ultrasounds and blood tests are carried out to check the development of your eggs, and medication is used to help them mature
- Egg collection
A needle is inserted into the ovaries, to remove the eggs. This procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic.
- Fertilising the eggs
The eggs are mixed with the sperm for a few days to allow them to be fertilised
- Embryo Transfer
1 or 2 fertilised eggs (embryos) are placed into the womb
How long does it take?
IVF can take anywhere between 1 and 2 months. It really does depend on what type of cycle you are on. There are various types of cycles which include long and short protocols.
What can’t I do during IVF?
During IVF it is inadvisable to smoke and drink. It also would probably help to eat healthily.
Healthy body, healthy mind?
How does it feel?
This is a difficult one, as of course is varies from person to person. During my treatment I felt pretty numb. I was working full-time during the entire process and it was a very busy time. My days started with leaving the house at 6:20am for my 7am appointments and then going straight to work for my 9-5. In all honesty i didn’t have too much time to think about it. One overwhelming feeling that was consistent was bloating. Gaviscon was my best friend and pretty much my breakfast, lunch and dinner.
What are the success rates?
The success rate will vary from clinic to clinic. I underwent my treatment at London Hammersmith Hospital at the Wolfson Fertility Clinic. Their success rates there are rated as excellent and are as follows:
Fresh embryo transfer success rates
|37 or under||50 per cent|
|38 to 39||42 per cent|
|40 to 42||40 per cent|
|42 or over||17 per cent|
Frozen embryo transfer success rate
|For all ages||50 per cent|
How soon can you start another cycle after a failed one?
It really depends on three things. The type of treatment you are going for, the clinic’s policy, and if you are ready. Both physically and mentally.
What are the costs?
Due to my age, health and location I was lucky to be eligible for NHS treatment. Living in the Islington area gave my opportunity to have three cycles on the NHS (luckily i only needed the two).
The NHS have set out guidelines on who should be eligible for the treatment and what the criteria are.
If you are not eligible for funding, the costs vary depending on what treatment you will be going for. The price for 1 cycle can be up to £5000 which include costs for:
- Blood tests and scans
Does it make you put on weight?
During my treatment I put on over 8kg in weight. Some of this was water weight due to the hormone estrogen which makes your body retains more water.
It’s difficult to say if the treatment made me put on weight, but the hormone injections are said to have an effect. I could have just been eating my way through the process.
Does IVF definitely mean twins or triplets?
It does, however, increase your chances significantly. If you choose to have more than one embryo put back, this can result in a multiple pregnancy.
I hope my ramblings have created a clearer picture of the the process, and if it has confused you further.. well then just pretend you didnt read this.
For now, that’s all I can think of. If you have any more questions, leave your comments below, and i can update the post if i have the answers.
Lots of love