17 Things No One Tells You About Having IVF
Falling pregnant is no walk in the park.
If you’ve been trying unsuccessfully to have a baby, you may start wondering if IVF is the way forward.
My own beloved babies were the result of eight emotionally and physically gruelling rounds of pin-the-embryo-on-the-uterus. So, before you head down IVF’s needle-strewn road of sticking things that aren’t penises into your body to make a baby, let me share a few things I learned along the way…
1. It will put a large dent in your piggy bank
IVF can be a very costly exercise. If you hit repeat on the whole shebang as often as I did, it’s going to seriously impact your cash flow.
2. You’ll need to change your diet
It’s wise to ditch the caffeine, booze and anything else mildly amusing. Which is inconvenient, given you’ll never feel more like the ameliorating effects of a stiff bevvy.
3. You’ll need to leave you inhibitions at the door
What feels like a cast of thousands will view your nether regions during the process. Mine became such a medical playground, I’m surprised they didn’t install a swing set and slide.
4. You’ll impersonate a voodoo doll
You’ll be jabbing yourself daily with needles. While the daily ritual of injections can feel like you’ve taken back control of your fertility it may also leave you feeling like you’ve taken up a macabre form of human needlepoint as a hobby.
5. Acupuncture can increase your success
While the idea of sticking more needles into your body may not appeal to the non-masochistic, the benefits have been well documented. Do it.
6. The acquisition of fertility icons will not
Having acquired an embarrassingly large and rather pointless collection of obscure, and often repulsive, fertility icons I can attest that they do not in any way aid your chances of a successful cycle. I’m still rather fond of them though.
7. Irrationality is the new black
The crazy cocktail of hormones you’re injecting will leave you erratic, moody and emotional. So, if your partner finds coherent women a tad dull, he’ll adore the new bat-shit crazy you.
8. You will cry. Often.
Indeed, I resembled a sprinkler for the best part of two years. It’s an emotional time even without the addition of mood altering meds, so buy your Kleenex in bulk and sob at will.
9. You’ll feel like a science project
A team of scientists will work alongside your doctor. They’re very clever. Just don’t expect Stephen Hawking to turn up at any of your procedures.
10. Your ovaries will resemble a battery farm
Your ovaries will produce so many eggs to fill your follicular nests that you’ll likely feel bloated, sore and swollen. In my case this resulted in a temporary muffin top that looked more like a three-tiered wedding cake.
11. Your boobs will become massive
This is another side effect of the meds. Don’t get excited, as the upsizing can be accompanied with pain so bad that it feels like you have bulldog clips clamped to them.
12. You may feel closer to your partner
While it’s an emotional rollercoaster, undertaking IVF treatment is such a huge commitment that it can bring you and your supportive partner closer.
13. You may also resent your partner
While you’re jabbing yourself or have a doctor jamming open your lady parts with a clamp you may resent that your partner’s only contribution to the process is a wank.
14. People will offer stupid advice
If another person had told me during my IVF years I just “needed to relax” I would have stabbed them in the face with my fertility drugs just to demonstrate that nothing is less relaxing than jabbing yourself with daily needles.
15. The two-week wait will feel more like two years
You will need to wait 14 days after your embryo transfer to find out if you’ve been successful. It will be the longest two weeks of your life.
16. IVF can be heartbreaking
In a normal cycle there is just vague hope, but in an IVF cycle you see your embryo during transfer, so it can feel like being a ‘little bit’ pregnant. If your cycle fails, the pain is like an unsuccessful non-IVF cycle amplified by a thousand.
17. It can also be life-changing
If your IVF efforts are successful, you’ll take home a tiny human who’ll change you in the most incredible way, forever.
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