Tell me about your experience with IVF

As I posted in a previous post, turns out that I’m shooting blanks. Well, not total blanks, but low enough counts that the natural way looks like it ain’t gonna happen. My wife tests normal in every way, and her family has a history of, well, abundant fertility. I’ve been tested for every conceivable reason for this, including very expensive genetic testing, and everything has come up empty. I’m the healthiest guy in the world. I eat right and exercise religiously, but for some reason this part ain’t workin’.

We’ve done the IUI thing for a few months to no avail, so it looks like we’re doing the full on IVF thing in the next few months. Seems that we’re good candidates because my counts are high enough that the whole fertilization thing should work all right without any more aggressive therapy (sperm injection), which I want to avoid. And, since my wife seems to be in tip top shape, once fertilized, everything should be in an optimal situation to work (she is under 35, which is a biggie). And, I have good insurance that will cover two or possibly more rounds.

I just figured that others on this board have been through this, and wanted to find out good (it worked the first time!) and bad (we got a puppy!) experiences.

For those who will say to look into adoption, we’re doing that simultaneously, but are surprised to find out that IVF will be free and fast, while adoption will take years and cost tens of thousands of dollars. Seems that this isn’t the way it should work, but I didn’t write the rules.

We did adoption because for us adoption was fairly cheap and fast, and IVF was much more expensive (not covered by insurance), no guarantees, and the hormones made me bonkers.

But my sister has two lovely IVF boys who are one and three. Both were three zygote implantations, first time each time out, with only one “taking.”

IVF was pretty tough to go through with my wife (definately a lot tougher on her).
She went through it twice. Worked the first time (delivered twins at 24 weeks that unfortunately passed on) and worked the second time (our 1 year-old son).

It is an intense process that required a lot of injections that were administered by me (you too will have to do them). Daily injections I remember of (follistem?) that were pretty easy to give (short needle, thin liquid, given into pinch of stomach) and some that really sucked to give (progestrone?) that were very uncomfortable (1.5" needle, thick oil, given into butt).
I’m not really into needles and neither was my wife but we stuck to it.

Before you even do any IVF attempts they need to retrieve eggs from her that requires drugs and a procedure that she gets knocked out for. Hopefully if they get enough eggs to make embryos she’ll only have to do this once (they freeze the extras for later attempts).

There’s a lot more to it I’m probably not mentioning but it is definately worth it and my wife said she would do it all over again if she had to.

We went through IVF for the exact same reason. Except I spent three months on injections to build up the motility and health of my swimmers.

Be prepared that harvesting the eggs is going to be very hard on your wife. And not much fun for you to watch, either. They’ll most likely knock her out, so you’ll be stuck with the memories of watching the doc go fishing.

Embryo transfer isn’t bad. The hardest part for me was the doc bringing in the picture of the fertilized embryos and pointing out which ones weren’t really worth transferring.

Think looong and hard about how many you’ll transfer. Don’t exceed the number of babies you’re willing to have. We transferred two on our first cycle. None implanted so we were willing to go to three on the next cycle. All three implanted.

Oh. And don’t move 500 miles in the middle of the process. My wife enjoys telling folks that I wasn’t even in the state when out daughter was conceived.

Feel free to ask more specific questions. It’s a scary process, but the two of you will get through it together.

How many were put in each time, if you don’t mind me asking? Was the second time with frozen from the first time? The doctor is recommending putting in only one, but we’re leaning toward two. We’re willing to have the twins, and will be happy with the singleton.

I’m pretty skilled with a needle, but most of my injections are done on mice, so I’ll be looking for my wife’s tail vein. Truth be told, though I do needles all the time, I will probably not be good at doing it to someone that I love. But, I guess them’s the breaks.

How bad were your numbers, if it’s not too personal. I’m pulling more than a million post wash, which should be enough for the IVF process, considering they only use 50000 per egg. The motility is a drop below normal usually, but not too terrible. Wish I knew what was causing this. I’m a scientist, so I do have a lot of chemical exposure over the years, and a lot of exposure to radioactivity.

Did you wind up with 3 kids?
Depending on the doctor some won’t do more than 2 since it becomes higher risk.
Some friends of our tried unsuccessfully multiple times (she’s 40) so on their last attempt transferred 3. They have 3 boys now.

Two each time. First round both were fresh embryos and both took.
Second round both were frozen and only one took.

Do you tell people that the kids were IVFed? My wife and I were talking about that last night, and didn’t come to a conclusion.

You’ll be surprised how infrequently “how were your kids conceived” comes up in conversation.

You may or may not want to talk to your family/friends while you are going through the treatment. I would recommend considering how close you are to your family and how inappropriate they tend to be. Some families wouldn’t think of NOT telling each other. Other people don’t WANT everyone to know because some members may be judgmental or share the information inappropriately. My gut would be to disclose very selectively because people can blurt out stupid stuff at the wrong time (like “did you know you were supposed to be a twin?”) At some point you may want to talk to your kid about how they were conceived - I think its better if you choose that time and your brother-in-law doesn’t.

Depending on your wife, she may just prefer to do it herself. My wife did all her own shots, although usually leaning up against me for support. I had mostly similar shots and from experience, I can tell you – faster is better. Don’t be timid, just plunge that needle right in. You’re not aiming for anything other than tissue mass, so precision isn’t really important. (Except to hit the area that you’ve sterilized)

I was under 50k with 35% motility. After three months of hormone shots I was up to 500k with 90% motility. Still technically sterile, but enough for our fertility doc to work with.

Our doctor skipped straight to ICSI, on the theory that getting us pregnant was the goal, so why take chances with things not working naturally in the petri dish. We weren’t unhappy with that decision.

In discussion of multiples, it’s usually the second or third question.

“You’re having triplets? Are they natural?”

We did not. We lost two of them in utero. It was a looong, rough nine months. We’re not sure if we’ll ever tell our daughter about her could-have-been siblings. But she’s only three months old, so we’ve got some time to think about it.

I have been surprised at how often I get asked that about my twins; it seems rather intrusive–yes, strangers have asked me this–but it seems to be something people are very interested to know.

You sometimes get the same question with adopted kids - only in my case they want to know if my daughter is “real.” (My son is a Korean child in a white family. My daughter was a suprise) The answer is “of course she is.”

I’ve also responded “my, but that is an invasive question, why do you ask?” Sometimes (and in fact usually, in my case) they have a reason for asking (I’m considering IVF, who was your doctor - in our case “we are considering adoption.”)

It doesn’t really come up that much but I don’t mind telling people. Usually they end up having a lot of questions about it since someone they know is going through it.
It actually came up yesterday with a guy at work.

Him: So, are you going to try to have another one (kid) soon?

Me: At $10,000 a pop not anytime soon.

Him: ???

Me: In-vitro costs a lot there days.

I am currently in the middle of our third cycle for secondary infertility. You can pm me if you want. The first was cancelled because I didn’t respond to the meds at all after too many birth control pills. The second ended in a chemical pregnancy.

This is my ninth day of stims at a top notch clinic.

Basically the woman takes some form of supression the cycle before you start. Then she goes in for bloodwork. Then she starts medications typically for about ten days. During that time she gets frequently monitored with bloodwork and ultrasounds. After that one has a trigger shot (OUCH!) then the eggs are retrieved under anesthesia. Then they’re grown in the lab. Then they’re transferred back into her uterus. Two weeks later you go in for blood test to find out if you’re pregnant.

There’s a support group and lots more information at www.ivfconnections.com.

The needles are mostly nothing. I find heavily icing the injection site makes them virtually painless. The only shots I don’t do are the PIO injections. Those hurt a bit.

But what really hurts most of all is infertility itself. Find a good support group and treat yourself a lot. The process is often difficult and frustrating. The only thing that’s helped is the sense that I am not alone in this crisis.

Our doc suggested ICSI, but we’re leaning toward doing it without. I don’t much see the point because they put 50k sperm per egg. Even if there are 20 eggs, that’s a million sperm, which I’m producing even in my worst counts. I definitely want to avoid ICSI for absolutely stupid reasons that I couldn’t even explain to my wife well, though it makes sense in my head.

How bad was that process?

That’s what I feel pretty bad about. It appears to be totally my (male) problem, but meanwhile, she is the one who has to take the crappy medications and have the invasive procedures while I get a cup and some porn.

Do ICSI and DO genetic testing on the embryo. I wish that had been available when I did IVF.
All 3 of my cycles failed. I’ve been pregnant about a zillion times and no kids. Times just about running out.
DO ICSI. Don’t think that the numbers are on your side. IVF stories are heartwarming and heartbreaking. All in all the odds are getting better but why not give yourselves the best possible chance?

The trigger shot is the most painful shot for me. Not only that but my husband must have caught a nerve because I limped for a few days afterwards. Pay close attention in any class they give and practice a lot.

Retrieval was not that bad. My clinic does it under anesthesia. The hardest part for me was the waiting for the procedure. From the time we got to the clinic until I left it was about four hours. Your wife will be woozy afterwards but I found the effects wore off by evening.

Oh and don’t feel too bad now. If it works you’ll have enough bad feelings watching your wife go through labor and deal with the first three months of infancy. Promise her you’ll be the one to do night time feedings and that ought to help with any guilt.

You’ll both forget this whole ordeal the first time you see your child. Better yet the first time you smell and feel her.