What I wish I knew before IVF

It’s pretty funny when I look back to think what my thoughts were before I knew what an actual fertility clinic was. For being almost 30 you would think I would have known. I thought it was a place people go to donate eggs or sperm. In some ways it is, but they do so much more. It wasn’t until I was 27 when I learned what it was and that I would be actually doing it. I wanted to share this post to a lot of the readers who may be exploring IVF, about to go through it, or are in the process of it right now. I’ll try to list them by numbers and an example or experience I had with it to help it be more understandable.

What I wish I knew before I started IVF

  1. Money – Insurance – Pharmacy
    1. The process is expensive. Insurance does not cover IVF; however there are some states that already do or are in the process. Do your research before you start IVF to see what states let insurance help. If you are in the process of moving soon or eventually you may want to wait if it’s one of those states.
    2. TIP-  Save all your receipts for everything! I saved every receipt for every prescription I had, ultrasound, consultations with various doctors, procedures, anthesiologist, and more. I bought a binder from Target and kept all my IVF bills and receipts in there.
    3. Label everything – write down the date on there if it doesn’t say or buy little post it notes to write down what that was for and post it on there. This will save you later down the road.
    4. Turn all those receipts in and go over them with your Tax Person. I saved all my IVF receipts and calculated everything into the categories my tax person told me too and we wrote some of it off. You are not able to write off a lot, but you will be surprised how much money you can get back for this medical experience.
    5. Your insurance will cover some of your prescriptions! Any pill or medication you take with a needle try to get it using your insurance. Some of the pills and injections I had to take my insurance covered it or some of it. The pharmacy that your doctors office uses can run your insurance through each prescription they give you. I had to take a prescription pre-natal and I had a blood thinner for my whole pregnancy. They covered the blood thinner called Lovenox and Heparin and my prenatal Vitafol.
    6. Your fertility clinic should have some sort of program you can try to get coverage/money from. I didn’t think we would be eligible, so the first clinic and 1st round of IVF I went too I didn’t try. I thought my husband and I made too much money to get money from it from reading some article. The second time I went through the process from another clinic the nurse told me to at least try. Thank goodness for her because I listened. We actually got a little over $500 dollars to use; which the program puts towards your medication. My point is to try this program whether you make little, no money or a lot of money. Any penny will help!
    7. Be realistic! Do not do IVF because you want to knock it out of the park with twins, have a specific gender, or because you think its cool. IVF cost me for two rounds over $30,000 dollars.
    8. Loan me the money – A lot of people take out loans for IVF. Again, look at your situation.
  2. Testing
    1. You have to go through tons of testing before they even start IVF. You cannot just start right away. You may have to have multiple blood tests and a bubble study ultrasound. The bubble study ultrasound is so painful, but they need to make sure everything is flowing through your fallopian tubes. Prepare your spouse too. He will need to get blood tests and semen analysis.
    2. If you are having tests done with your regular OB/GYNO or doctor make sure to bring these to your fertility doctor. They may be able to not have to repeat the tests.
    3. Repeating tests. I discovered into the process they repeat some of these tests every cycle. I was livid repeating these because they are expensive and hurt. I was told they repeat some of these tests because each cycle for a woman can be different in her body.
  3. Research Research Research
    1. Do your research for doctor and clinic. Get referrals from friends or online boards.
    2. Go to a consultation. Some offer free consultations and some do not. Keep your receipt to give to your tax person later even if you do not use that doctor.
    3. Don’t research everything you will be going through. Every persons experience is different (their results, their issues, their financials).
  4. The Pain and Tears
    1. I did not do any IUI’s, but only IVF. IVF hurts! It really does. You really have to keep your mindset on the end goal. There were so many times I thought I should quit. The pain can be unbearable or tolerable for a certain length of time. The shots everyday will make you internally numb and the pain will go away because you’re so use to it.
    2. Learn to inject yourself. There were many times I was too chicken to inject myself. When my husband worked late nights he couldn’t give me my injection. I then learned to teach family, co workers, or even close friends to inject me. Some people were better than others. Most of the time I felt that the pain was worse when someone else did it compared to when I push the needle in myself.
    3. Pinch yourself. Pinch your skin in the area before you inject yourself. It helps take away the pain. Some say ice it to numb it. I found the ice made the skin hard and hurt more.
    4. Progesterone – This is by far the worse shot in the process. This needle is so huge and has to go into the muscle. I cannot tell you how many times my husband injected this and I had my hands against the wall while he sat on the toilet seat injecting this into my muscle and I cried hysterically before, during and after. They do make this into a suppository, but my doctors said the injection was more effective. I decided to go through the pain to make a baby happen!
      1. I still have nerve issues from this medication. If anyone squeezes me on my side, butt, thigh I have this pain from it still. 2 years later.
    5. Results
      1. Results don’t happen the first time for everyone. I thought they would since I didn’t have any I guess major issues. I didn’t get pregnant the first time with two embryos put inside. I was devastated. All the pain and money for no results.
      2. Whether you are religious or spiritual or nothing – Practice what you believe in to get you through.
      3. Don’t go through this alone. Yes you have your spouse, but find other people who have gone through it. None of my friends have started having kids or know this process. I shared some of it, but obviously they cannot relate. There are so many TTC boards for IVF you can go on. These women are lifesavers!! I have made so many friends virtually from this. I have never met them, but I feel like they are family.
      4. Get a instagram or FB specifically for your IVF. Make it secret/private. I did this and you post your process. Other women will follow you and you follow them. You go through your IVF cycles together and be supportive. If you get pregnant and they don’t or other way around – be supportive and don’t forget the other person.
    6. Genetic testing
      1. This is more expensive, but this will tell you a few things. It will tell you boy or girl. It will also tell you what embryos will result in miscarriage, down syndrome or other life threatening issues. This costs me an extra $5,000. Not everyone needs to do this though. Your doctor will recommend it or not. In my case, it was recommended due to egg and sperm quality issues; which kept going towards miscarriage.
      2. It’s worth it. Would you like to spend all that money only to put something in where it won’t make it to a positive pregnancy test?
      3. It isn’t always fool proof! Though it is very accurate – anything can happen.
    7. Shipping Embryos
      1. Apparently I have the worse luck ever. I moved from CA to NV and transferred my 8 embryos to another clinic here in NV. I found a great company to ship them in a nitrogen tank. This costs $500. My new clinic got them opened the container up to store them and they shot out of the tank and onto the floor. None of those little babies made it. They were destroyed. This is so unheard of that it left both offices in shock and blaming each other in fear of what I might do. I did nothing, but cried. All the pain and money down the drain. My new clinic in NV had so much empathy they offered me a huge discount. This could happen to anyone, so be prepared.
    8. The Time
      1. My biggest concern was doing IVF and working full time. I didn’t want this to get in the way of me getting pregnant. You can work full time and do IVF. There are only three days you would need off or I took off. The day of egg retrieval (considered a surgery), the day after if you are still in pain and the day of embryo transfer. Most do not take off the day of transfer, but I did to make sure I stayed stress free to let the embryo attach.
    9. IUI and IVF
      1. These are two different procedures. Make sure you discuss with your doctor which is best for you and your partner depending on your issues.

I hope you found this blog helpful and I am here for any questions, guidance, or support. I’ll continue to add/edit to this blog if I think of anything else. Hang in there and trust me IVF makes you so much stronger and brave. You will get your Rainbow baby! Please follow me by entering your e-mail to receive automatic updates for when there is a new blog. Like this post or comment if you enjoyed it!

 

XOXO

Allison

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