IVF expierence and questions (looking for advice)

posted 8 months ago in TTC
Post # 2
Member
4045 posts
Honey bee

mama2bee71 :  ugh – that sucks. We had the same conversation with our doctor and did IVF. The good news is that it worked on the first try for us and I’m 9 weeks 4 days pregnant! Plus we have 3 siblings in the freezer for future use. Definitely worth it to us.

Cost: we were covered by insurance so we just had our co-pays for specialist visits, medicine, and outpatient surgery. Otherwise our hospital quoted us about $15k for one round of IVF with ICSI. 

Pain/experience: I won’t lie it’s no walk in the park physically or emotionally. My cycle started with birth control pills and daily injections to prep my ovaries to be stimulated. Then we added 2 more daily injections to stimulate my ovaries and I had to go into the hospital for frequent monitoring to see when my eggs would be ready to be retrieved. Once I was ready we did a shot to trigger ovulation and then I went in for outpatient surgery to have them removed (short procedure but they did knock me out for it). Following that I switched to progesterone shots (some clinics used suppositories though) and 5 days later went back for a quick procedure to put one embryo back in (which they do on a full bladder….oye hahaha). There is cramping and needles suck and the mood swings can be rough but seeing that second line was totally worth it to me. We have continued the progesterone shots and don’t get to stop until next week. 

For us the process definitely brought us closer. There aren’t many men willing to stab me with 100 needles over the course of 3 months (not an exaggeration….it will be 100 even when we finish next week). We have cried together, been over the moon together,  and he has been an amazing nurse knowing how hard this has been on my body. I love him even more for it. 

Post # 3
Member
1766 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I’m so sorry you guys are dealing with this! I’ll try to answer each of your questions. We did 7 IUIs and 2 IVF cycles (the first was cancelled prior to retrieval because I did not respond well to the meds). Our cycles cost us roughly 8k (we got a slight discount, I believe the regular price is 10k), plus meds. Meds for cycle one were roughly 3k, meds for cycle 2 were 6k (I needed way more that time unfortunately). I personally found IVF easier than I thought it would be. The most difficult part is just knowing you’re paying so much money and it could possibly not work. It was disappointing when our first cycle was cancelled, but we got a refund on the parts of the cycle we didn’t do yet and a 30% discount on the services performed, so we just put that toward our next cycle. And complete honesty here, IVF was so much easier for me than actually being pregnant! I thought IVF would be the hard part, but it totally wasn’t! That’s just my experience of course. 

It was definitely all worth it.. currently 31 weeks pregnant with a little boy 🙂 I didn’t find IVF painfull at all. The shots (including intramuscular) were all fine, the blood work was annoying but not a big deal. The retrieval itself I was under concious sedation so I don’t remember any of it. I didn’t have any pain afterwards. I would do IVF again in a heartbeat. 

We were already set up with a clinic prior to starting IVF, since we got started with IUIs. We already had a RE we totally trusted, so we just moved right onto IVF after doing all of our IUIs. My husband was really involved in all my cycles (both IUIs and IVF) so I had a lot of support. He came to every appointment, ultrasound and blood draw. It made things much easier for me. We had decided ahead of time that if IVF didn’t work for us, we would try embryo adoption or possibly tradtional adoption if embryo adoption didn’t work out. 

I know most people are afraid of the needles, but it really wasn’t bad! A lot of protocols include only 1-2 shots a day, and not a ton of meds. Since you are male factor, you will most likely be on a simple protocol with less shots, less meds, and less expensive too! My second cycle I did 5 shots a day and it was fine. I also did the PIO shots, which were painless for me. I electively stayed on them for longer than I needed to for my own peace of mind as well. The first few shots you do are the hardest, but once you realize you can totally do it, you get much more confidence! 

I hope that helps and wishing you all the best! 

Post # 4
Member
156 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

I’ve been through 2 fresh cycles and 1 frozen IVF cycle; I’m now pregnant with twins as a result from the frozen transfer. 

Was in expensive? Not really. We live in MA where fertility coverage is mandated. My husband’s company’s insurance plan is excellent, we also used my husband’s health saving’s account for many of the medical expenses. We paid about 2k total out of pocket for our 3 cycles.

My experience: The first cycle was a complete bust. We had a very bad fertilization rate after the egg retrieval and we didn’t even end up with an embryo transfer. The second cycle was MUCH better because we used ICSI and we had an excellent fertilization rate and got 8 perfect embryos from that cycle. The transfer ended up being cancelled because of my rising progesterone levels, so we did a frozen embryo transfer about a month later and ended up pregnant! 

Yes it worked for me- we got pregnant after the first transfer! We elected to transfer 2 embryos, which obvioulsy both stuck. 

I didn’t find IVF very painful. Honestly i think the most discomfort came from the vaginal ultrasounds! I never got used to those and I must have had like 30 of them by  now. I’m fine with needles and did all of my own shots. It wans’t really a big deal at all. My recovery after the egg retrieval was uneventful and it was nice to take 2 days off from work haha. If you have a needle phobia, you can always have your husband do your shots for you, but I found it much quicker and efficient to just do everything myself!

I had a really easy time getting an appt with an RE. My husband and I researched clinics in our area and selected ours based off of their success rate, proximity, & reviews. I emailed the clinic about getting an intake appointment and heard back the next day. My first appointment was scheduled within 2 weeks and then I began all of my preliminary fertility testing including CD 3 blood work and a HSG, and I think a few other things but I can’t remember. Then it was just a matter of time of waiting for insurance to approve our cycle, which took about a week, and then I started the BC pill as soon as my period came. Then the cycle started and I had my first retrieval 10 days after starting the injections. (After being in the pill for 3 weeks)  It was soooo much faster than I imagined. 

It didn’t affect our marriage at all, because we knew we were in this together and we just trusted God with the outcome. There were certainly some low points during the cycles- especially when we got the news that we had only 1 embryo manage to fertilize after the first egg retrieval, which later ended up arresting. That was rough- but my husband was amazing and took great care of me! I’m sure yours will too. 

 

I was honestly under the impression that IVF took ages to complete before starting. Those cycles go by FAST and before you know it, you’re going in for an embryo transfer and then a pregnancy test. We started everything in late April and after 3 cycles total, I finally fell pregnant the beginning of August from the frozen cycle. If the first cycle worked, I would have found out if I was pregnant mid-May!

 

Post # 5
Member
13890 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

1. Was it expensive?  Yes and no.  No cause I had some insurnace, but yes, cause it’s still damn expensive.  We’ve spent over 20k since my insurnace ran out, which yes, is a lot, but no considering I’ve done 6 retreivals which real cash price would have been upwards of 120k.
2. What was your experience with it?  It’s been fine.  It sucks that it hasn’t worked, but we can try again.  It hasn’t really effected our marriage.  I’ve taken charge and decide on what we will do next.  He’s been on board with my decisions thus far.  
3. Did it work for you? Not competely yet.  I’ve gotten pregnant twice, but miscarried both times.
4. Was it worth it? If it results in a baby, yeah, it will be
5. Was it painful? No, only when I got a mild case of OHSS.
6. What steps do you take to get started with IVF?  We did 3 IUIs first just to try it out, and then moved on.  Once you commit, you can start as soon as your next period.

Post # 7
Member
156 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

mama2bee71 :  Yes, MA does cover fertility treatments, it is one of 15 states that is mandated to cover. I’m not sure about PA. But I did meet a few couples who ended up relocating to MA just for fertility insurance coverage. I also follow a girl on on Instrgram (I don’t know her personally) who did iVF in Athens, Greece because it is significntly cheaper. She was quoted 20k in the US and ended up paying around 8k total, including trip expenses. 

I think almost all clinics use the BC pill protocol before starting a cycle. It “quiets” your ovaries before all of the injections and it helps keep the cycle controlled. The 3 weeks on the pill was the longest part of IVF for me, the actual cycle is much quicker! 

 The clinic took care of all fertility testing- I did the HSG there and it was super quick. All bloodwork and ultrasounds was through the clinic as well. The HSG was cool becuase you could see what was going on with the uterus right there, it’s not llike blood work where you have to wait for the results. 

It only took us a few months, thankfully! Even though we did 3 cycles, we only did one transfer which was successful for us. IVF is amazing. It’s absolutely worth it! 

Post # 9
Member
156 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: October 2014

mama2bee71 :  If you already had an ultrasound. HSG and bloodwork, they wont have you repeat the tests, they will just have you submit everything to them for their records. So it looks like you’re already good to go! They might just have you start right away on the pill as soon as your cycle starts. 

Yes they can freeze and store extra embryos for a yearly fee. (At least this is what our clinic does, the fee is small) Depending on how many embryos you end up with, you can just do frozen embryo transfers for any additional pregnancies. Frozen cycles are significantly cheaper, (Probably around 1500-2000) there really isnt a reason to repeat a fresh cycle UNLESS you do not end up having any embryos to transfer or freeze, which is what happened to me our first cycle. This is super rare though. 

Post # 10
Member
4045 posts
Honey bee

mama2bee71 :  my cycles were somewhat irregular but my RE said he uses BC pills for all cycles. He likened it to the starting gate before a dog race – if you don’t put the gate down the dogs will wander into the track and not all start at the same place. They want to have a very controlled ovarian stimulation with the follicles growing at a similar pace so they can get the maximum number of eggs without damaging your ovaries. You normally only ovulate 1 but on my cycle we collected 17 so you can see it can make your ovaries very enlarged. My 80 pound dog jumped on me the day before my egg retrieval and I got a paw to each ovary – I nearly puked on him and I told my husband while doubled over “I think this is the closest a woman can get to understanding how it feels to get kicked in the testicles”. 

I’m in MA too and the coverage is really helpful. Not that we wouldnt have emptied our savings to try this, but I’m glad I can save that money for an extended maternity leave instead. It also means the doctors aren’t under pressure to put in multiple embryos and risk twins or triplets if the woman doesn’t want that. I chose my doctor because he actually will NOT put in more than one embryo in a woman under 35 that hasn’t done IVF before. I didn’t want more than one put in and I was glad I didn’t feel pressured to “up my chances”. 

I did an HSG with my regular doctor before switching to the fertility clinic and I didn’t have to redo it – I just brought them the disk showing the test and the final report. Using your frozen embryos for siblings will be cheaper since you won’t have the cost of stimulation and egg retrieval, but check with your clinic about storage fees. Mine stores my embryos free for 2 years and after that we will have to pay an annual charge to keep them longer. 

Post # 11
Member
224 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

I am so sorry you find yourself in this position. IVF is a scary possibility at first but the good news is you now know what you need to do and people are successful all the time!

1. Yes it was incredibly expensive. Our fresh cycle cost about $15,000 and our frozen about $4000. I haven’t added up all of the costs exactly but looking at about 20k, this is without ANY insurance coverage for infertility.

2. We are unexplained, meaning everything for my husband and I comes back perfectly normal. We had already been trying for 2 years before we did our first round of IVF so I was ready to do it. Overall it wasn’t too bad. The shots sucked of course, but I didn’t experience too many side effects and everything in my cycle went well. Egg retrieval was the most painful part but after the first day, it was just a few days of being sore. We had the most amazing doctors and nurses at our clinic and that helped make an unpleasant situation a little easier as well, so make sure you love your clinic! 

3. Yes! I am 18 weeks with a baby boy. Our first fresh transfer failed, we had 2 embryos leftover to freeze. We transferred one a few months later and that one stuck!

4. Absolutely. I have no idea if I ever would have gotten pregnant without IVF and I have dreamed of having a baby forever. We would have been open to adoption but probably would have done another round of IVF before going that route. 

5. Physically, it wasn’t bad. Like I said egg retrieval was the worst part but it was short lived. It was more emotionally painful. Waiting the two weeks after transfer and having a failed cycle were so so hard. I would still do it again in a heartbeat though. 

6. In your case, find a great RE and fertility clinic asap. Make sure the doctor has a good bedside manner (mine was literally the nicest Dr I have ever had) because this is tough stuff. I also liked that my doctor had research to back up his opinion on anything I would ask him, as there are so many options to consider. My clinic was about 40min-1hour away depending on traffic and that was doable. 

There are many bees that have gone down this path and the 1+ thread is very supportive and full of bees doing ivf. Good luck to you!

Post # 12
Member
224 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: July 2011

mama2bee71 :  oh and one other thing, I really think the whole experience of ivf and infertility brought my husband and I closer together and prepared us for parenthood. It wa also stressful but we worked through it together. He gave me all my shots and took care of me after procedures. We have always been a good team but I feel like this made us even more so.

Post # 13
Member
4045 posts
Honey bee

MrsLondon :  +1 to the bedside manner comment. My regular doctor was very dismissive of my fertility concerns and his bedside manner has gotten worse over the years and I always leave his office more stressed than when I walked in. I just assumed all doctors got more jaded as they got more experienced  (he was fresh out of school when I started with him) but then I met my RE and holy moly he is the kindest doctor on earth! He takes his time, he answers all questions, provided me with reading material (I’m a visual learner), and would hold my hand or give me a hug if I got overwhelmed or started crying. And everyone in that hospital system that DH and I have dealt with is the same. I am actually changing PCPs because I love that hospital so much more now. Infertility is so emotional and stressful that you need caring people taking care of you.

My best friend works at the hospital and came up to give me a hug before my egg retrieval. When I was waking up from my egg retrieval  (all stoned and loopy) I actually broke down in tears because the nurse made a comment about how sweet my friend was to check in on me and I said “yea she’s gonna be the best auntie” and then I remembered my kid’s real aunt (my sister) would never meet him/her because she died over 17 years ago. The nurse had no idea why I lost my shit like a crazy woman but she stayed there and rubbed my head until I had collected myself enough for her to go get my husband. The focus on mental health and not just my uterus was invaluable. 

Post # 14
Member
13890 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

mama2bee71 :  I have a lot of eggs, but most are unusable (immature) at retreival.  This is not common.  In fact 3 or 4 RE’s I talked to said they’ve never seen so many consecutive shitty retreivals as my case with different protocol and everything.  We started IVF when I was 34, DH 29.  All bloodwork and stuff has come back as normal for both of us so we have no diagnosis other than mild PCOS for me based on irregular periods and high antral follicle count.   So since nothing is out of the ordinary, Im not on any meds.  Just extra vitamins and high antioxident supplements. 

Post # 15
Member
4045 posts
Honey bee

pinkshoes :  have you tried metformin? My doctor had me on it to improve egg quality at retrieval. I follow your posts and really hope you get a sticky baby soon. 

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