Having been through 2 full rounds of IVF and 4 frozen embryo transfers, I feel like now would be a good time to draw up a few survival tips from our experience. Everyone’s experience of IVF will be slightly different but there are some common themes so if you’re going through it or about to embark on it then I hope you will find these tips useful!
- Make sure you and your partner are mentally prepared
No one chooses to go through IVF if they don’t have to and it can be a really difficult decision to make especially if either you or your partner have reservations about the process, and conceiving a child this way. However, once you’ve decided to go through with IVF it is important you are both on board mentally and understand what’s involved and what will be required of you.
- Get yourselves an IVF folder
There will be loads of paperwork as part of the process and most of it will be really important for you to keep safe ie. drug protocols, consent forms, invoices so to avoid additional stress, get organised, get a folder and keep it all together!
- Get your finances in order
IVF is a bit like buying a house, the costs can seem crazy and can escalate but your clinic should be able to give you a lot of costs upfront – it’s generally the drug costs that are difficult to be certain of before you start but you’ll at least be given a good estimate. If you know where the money is going to come from to pay for treatment, it will help lower stress levels when the invoices start coming in…
- Try not to get too hung up on statistics
I know this is hard to do, but try and use the stats as a guide as opposed to gospel. IVF statistics can be pretty depressing but so many people have success when on paper it looks near on impossible so just trust your instincts when choosing a clinic and go for the consultant that you trust the most and the clinic that gives you the service you need ie. holistic or 7 day opening.
- Write all your questions down
For some unknown reason as soon as you walk in to see your consultant, your mind will go blank…Trust me on this one, WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN! Even better, email your clinic when questions pop up in your head so you can get answers straightaway – my clinic were really good at responding to these queries as they felt that anything they could do to reassure us would be beneficial. Saves you googling things and getting ridiculously worked up!
- Don’t get too worried about drug side effects
Yes. Taking a shed load of drugs is unfortunately part of the course (and I mean shed load – you could fill a shed probably twice over!) I don’t know anyone who suffered horrendously from the drugs – it’s just not very pleasant to have to inject yourself everyday but it’s only for a short time and if it gets you what you want…keep a picture of a cute baby next to the drugs to remind yourself why you’re doing this every night!
- Give yourself a break
IVF is not something you can squeeze into your life and run at the same pace as you always have. Give yourself a break, accept that this is a tough few weeks, take time off work (speak to HR as you might find they have an IVF sickness policy). Get familiar with the meditation channels on Youtube and give yourself time and space to relax, focus and eat well. Your body will thank you for it 😊
- Don’t get too carried away
We made this mistake and regretted it. Getting carried away at the excitement of finally being in a position to create a baby and telling a few too many people before treatment had even started. My advice is really keep it to close family and friends only and leave everyone else until you have had at least the first viability scan. It saves you the heartache of having to tell lots of people it hasn’t worked, or there have been complications. Wait until you really have some good news to share!
- Build an IVF tribe
I can’t express how useful it is to have a group of people you can talk to who are going through IVF or have been through it – these are the only people who will really be able to understand what you’re going through and can offer you support that is real and from a place of experience. If you don’t know anyone going through IVF then consider joining some facebook support groups ie. Fertile Mindset Support Hub by Sarah Holland.
I hope you found these tips helpful and if you’re going through IVF right now or about to embark on it I wish you all the luck in the world. I’d love to hear from you wherever you are on your fertility journey 😊