5 things no one tells you about IVF

  1. You have to ‘shut off’ your reproductive system before you even start IVF. The first medication you take brings on a temporary menopause. And along with that can go all the relevant symptoms – headaches, night sweats, hot flushes, over-emotional episodes. The reason for this part is so that the medical team can ‘take control’ of your cycle. Everything during the IVF process is timed with absolute precision so if you’re one of those forgetful people who misplace things or are always late, now’s the time to do something about it.  And do make sure you warn your husband/partner about your potential mood swings, or they’ll think you’ve been replaced in the middle of the night by the Bodysnatchers.
  2. It is NOT a lifestyle choice to have infertility problems. There’s not much to say on this really, except that you’ll find there are a lot of ignorant and rude people out there. True, choosing whether to have a family or not most certainly is a lifestyle choice. However, being physically unable to conceive is usually down to medical problems.  People can be judgmental about IVF in a way they wouldn’t be about any other health issue. There’s no avoiding the dissenters – they are best ignored.
  3. You resemble a pin cushion. With blood tests, stimulation drugs, trigger shots and anaesthetic, I lost count of how many times I’d been ‘stabbed’ so to speak. In fact the best vein in my left arm actually collapsed leaving the nurses frantically searching for somewhere else from where to siphon off from. And when you inject the hormones in your stomach it can have a tendency to sting a bit – not to mention the lovely bruise it leaves behind.
  4. IVF has its own language. Yes, text speak has nothing on that of IVF…ET; EC; 2WW; AF; BFN; BFP; DP3DT; DP5DT; EPT; hCG; the list goes on. Once you find yourself on the online support forums it can take an age just to read one post before you’ve figured it out. And that’s before you even think about a reply! The medical jargon can also be confusing so if there’s anything you don’t understand make sure you ask.
  5. It’s entirely possible that you actually become the Michelin man. If you thought you were bloated after eating those baked beans, or you get it as a symptom of PMS, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! The reason is that all those injected fertility drugs stimulate the ovaries to produce a lot more eggs than they normally would, and there’s only so much room in there. Obviously, in the long run this is a good thing, so keep focused on the potential end result. This is probably the only time in your life that you won’t mind if you can’t zip up your trousers (that elusive pregnancy aside).

So there we have it, five fascinating insights into the world of IVF. It really is another world and one I definitely would not recommend. Going through IVF was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, and wasn’t without drama. To anyone who has been, is on, or will be going through this life-changing experience, take the very best care of yourself.

main-smallcloseupThank you for this guest post from former CRGH patient Tru Spencer. Read about Tru’s experience in Twin Stars and a Mother from Mars; available as paperback or ebook from www.silverwoodbooks.co.uk, Amazon, other online retailers, or to order from any good bookshop. See also www.truspencer.com.”