What should I expect from IVF treatment?

Real Mom Problem

“After two-and-a-half years of trying, we are now moving on to IVF. I'm nervous, and excited, and still in shock that it has come to this. I was wondering if anyone has been though IVF and has any advice, warnings, or words of wisdom.”

by tcassio5 tcassio5

Quick Tips

  • 1. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the combination of a female's egg and a male's sperm in a laboratory, and implanting the resulting embryo in the woman's uterus
  • 2. IVF is more costly and invasive than other treatments but can be successful when other options have failed
  • 3. If insurance does not cover IVF, look into appealing the decision or investigate other financing and payment options
  • 4. Try to stay relaxed and positive throughout the process
  • 5. Remember, the answers below are not medical advice and should not be relied on as medical advice or used in lieu of speaking with a medical professional

Real Mom Solutions

IVF can be a big step for couples and you're sure to have questions. Get great advice, information, and support from women who understand what you're going through.

Understand IVF Basics

  • unspecified42

    IVF cycles aren't bad. They almost certainly will put you under twilight sedation or general anesthesia for egg retrieval. Giving yourself a shot isn't bad, honestly, once you just muscle through the discomfort with needles. You can do it, I promise! It isn't painful; it's just a mental block sometimes. If your clinic is close you may even be able to go there to have them do the shots if you really can't do it yourself (I did that for a few of the injections with my first IVF cycle. Popped in, the nurse gave me the shot, went home). I would talk to your reproductive endocrinologist about the cycle and how many appointments it will take because they have their own protocols. There will be some monitoring appointments, but hopefully they can work around your schedule. As far as the transfer itself, some clinics require bed rest (48 hours for all of mine), and some don't at all. The embryo transfer only takes maybe an hour tops, and the actual physical transfer is no big deal. Usually they give you some valium beforehand so you feel pretty chill through it anyway. They place a speculum, clean your cervix, pass the catheter, and flush the embryos in through a syringe basically. It isn't painful at all, just feels like a long pap smear.

  • Magganiffy

    If you do decide to go through with it, you'll have a bunch of ultrasounds and blood draws every other day when you start using the stimulation medication. I don't think the injection part was that bad to be honest. I injected into my stomach and it wasn't too painful. The blood draws and ultrasounds are usually done in the very early morning so women can get to work.

  • violetgirl

    In vitro fertilization (IVF) is when they collect eggs from your ovaries and fertilize them in a Petri dish with your husband's sperm. Two days later, they put the fertilized eggs back into your uterus. It's pretty invasive, plus you would be required to take large pills to get your body to produce as many eggs as possible.

  • corrinacs

    IVF is in vitro fertilization. This is where they not only extract his sperm, but also your egg. They fertilize eggs outside the body, and later on, when your cycle allows, they insert the fertilized eggs into your uterus. This is more reliable, but has more risks as well. It is also much more expensive.

Consider These Helpful Tips

  • GreatestMiracle

    My oldest daughter was an IVF baby. It is stressful and an emotional roller coaster. Be sure to have a great support system of friends and family! My biggest advice is to stay positive and not let it consume you. I let infertility consume me and had to go to therapist who worked with infertile patients. That's why by time IVF came around I had given up. I was a HOT MESS! I loved how acupuncture calmed me, warmed my uterus, and even took away the hormone headaches. We were in the process of adopting when the nurse called and told me I was pregnant. You can start to feel really alone in this journey. Stay excited! Stay positive!

  • unspecified42

    I strongly recommend you look into Shared Risk programs at IVF clinics. Many clinics offer them now. They charge you a one-time fee and will do multiple rounds of IVF (usually like four or five total) and if you are not successful at that point they refund your money. Of course it's a little more expensive initially, but MUCH cheaper than paying for each round.

  • corrinacs

    Many clinics are offering monthly credit-like payments and guarantees (if you don't get pregnant within six months with the procedures, you don't have to pay for those six tries). It's something to think about.

  • cnlsmommy

    I've done two cycles of IVF, one successful, one not. Try to stay relaxed, and go with the flow. Your doctors and nurses should take good care of you. At this point there's not a whole lot more you can do. I took the time to pamper myself--hair, nails, massage.

  • NatMc

    I started my first cycle of IVF today. Did my first injection and my legs turned to jelly--I was so nervous but it was ok--just had a bit of stomach cramping afterwards. You need to relax as much as possible through the whole process. I have taken the whole month off work as I have a stressful job and I want to give this every chance of working. I have been advised by a friend who has had two cycles of IVF to inject in your stomach and not in your legs as you end up with severe bruising in your legs. I personally prefer stomach anyway, more to grab hold of.

Get Inspired by These Success Stories

  • valeryarbelo

    After trying to conceive for a year (and not knowing there was anything wrong) we started Clomid, temping, ovulation predictor kits, everything. Another year went by and I figured something was wrong. Turns out my husband had extremely low sperm count (not even an IUI would have helped him). I found an IVF clinical trial and signed up. Long story short, we were accepted into the trial and we began treatment. I just had my frozen embryo transfer on Sunday (they transferred two beautiful embryos) and I returned a positive pregnancy test just four days later!

  • HBnJ

    I'm currently 17 weeks pregnant after my first IVF cycle. I was trying to conceive for about a year-and-a-half before I got fed up and asked to have IVF done...best decision I ever made! The stim shots were not bad and I also took them in my belly. I tried to stay as calm and happy as I could during the whole process (also took time off of work starting after egg retrieval). I thought it would be more stressful but I just kept imagining the possibility of a baby and also prepared myself in case it didn't work out. The worst part for me was the two-week waiting period and that I had ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome because I produced way too many eggs but it was all worth it.

  • notgivinguphope

    I just went through my first IVF cycle. I had my transfer with one frozen embryo and I am now seven weeks pregnant. It's definitely time-consuming and stressful at times but well worth it in the end. Best advice is to not allow yourself to become too overwhelmed.

IVF vs. IUI -- Which is Right for You?

  • BabyHopes77

    If you can afford IVF, then by all means go for it. But IUI is less invasive, less expensive by a LOT, and may work out for you.

  • Magganiffy

    IVF is a wonderful technology, but I believe that it is also too quickly prescribed. I believe it should only be used as a last ditch effort. The meds that you take can really screw you up. If you have PCOS you are at greater risk of something called OHSS, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. It's where your ovaries respond too well to the injectables and your ovaries swell to huge sizes. The odds of a successful IVF cycle are low, but are better when you are young.

  • Gump

    I did IVF and was given an 80% chance of it working for us but it didn't. I hyperstimulated from the meds and was so swollen I looked like I was four months pregnant and then developed breast, cervical and ovarian cysts. It took me about a year to get back to normal after one micro cycle of IVF. Having said all of that...I would do it again in a heartbeat if I got a baby.

  • Cynthia86

    I honestly would try IVF especially if your insurance will cover it. I've done two rounds of IUI with no luck but I decided I wanted to switch to IVF with ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection of eggs). Higher success rates plus I'm hoping for a few frozen embryos so that way when I am ready for more babies I just have to do frozen embryo transfer.

  • cnlsmommy

    IUI (intrauterine insemination) is great for some people, but not for others. My reproductive endocrinologist told us we could try IUI if we wanted, but he could almost guarantee we would be unsuccessful with it. We chose IVF with ICSI. We were successful once, unsuccessful once, and I am pregnant now from round three! IUI is much easier if it's a viable option based on your reason for infertility. If your reasons show you will likely have a low success rate with IUI, then I would just skip that step and do IVF.