What to Look Out for In Your IVF Cycle

May 17 2011 in Dr. Aimee by draimee

IVF isn’t the way the media and Hollywood portray it to be. You don’t just walk into an IVF clinic at the age 43 to walk out one month later with twins that end up looking just like you. It’s just not that easy. As you think about doing an IVF cycle, know what could possibly go wrong so you’re prepared with a plan B.

1.     Cyst before starting: Your doctor will want you to come in for an ultrasound before you start stimulating medications (daily injections that go in the skin of your tummy for about 9-10 days or so). It isn’t uncommon to have a cyst on your ovaries from a previous ovulation. These are benign cysts and you shouldn’t worry. It can be very disappointing if you have one and are told you need to delay a cycle if you didn’t know that could be a possibility.

2.     Don’t respond well enough to medications: Some women over respond and some women under respond to fertility medications. If you’ve never been on fertility medications before, your doctor will put you on a regimen that she thinks is right for you. If you don’t respond the way she wants, she can always reassess and take a different approach. But knowing that this is a possibility does keep you in the know.

3.     Don’t get enough eggs: Patients ask me all the time, “What’s a good number of eggs.” My answer is always to tell them what I believe their potential to be. So if I have retrieved someone’s potential then I think I did a good job. For example, one woman at 32 years of age could have 15 eggs but another woman may have 8. So if I retrieve as many eggs as I can, that’s success. In general we like to get double digit eggs but it really just takes one embryo….

4.     Don’t get enough embryos: It’s possible that you could get enough eggs and the embryos start to grow but the quality is poor and in the end you have very few embryos to transfer. This can be very disappointing. It is a possiblity. I refer to IVF as a really involved diagnostic fertility test. You get a lot of information about the reason why a couple can’t conceive by going through IVF.

5.     No embryos to transfer: Rarely you can go through IVF, have eggs retrieved and have no fertilization. This can be devastating.

Talking to your doctor BEFORE your IVF cycle about what could possibly go wrong and having a doctor that  keeps you in the know the entire time is key.

There are patients who can have one of the above happen and still have a successful cycle but being prepared and knowing what to ask beforehand will make you more informed and help you feel like you’re a part of your treatment and not like “something is happening to you.”

As always, I hope this helps!

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