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Dear TTC Ladies, I wonder if you can help me help my SIL (IVF questions)

(14 Posts)
squeaver Thu 26-Jun-08 14:50:11

Bit of a long story but hope you can help.

My SIL (dh's sister) is undergoing IVF at the moment. She and her dh have been TTC for four years with no success, they got checked out and apparently there was no specific problems with either of them but they were advised to go for IVF (privately - they are both 39, too old I believe for NHS treatment).

I think she is right now going through her first cycle. I say "I think" because she has only confided in my dh and my MIl about the situation and both have been sworn to secrecy (although dh has obviously told me!). Her dh (BIL) basically wants no one to know what is going on and does not want her to talk to anyone about it. Yes, he is being a twat but there's not much we can do about that.

Anyway, my sister - who lives in the same town as SIL - bumped into her a few days ago and told me she looked terrible. Her description was "bloated, puffy, pale". Dh has since been trying to get in touch to see how she is without success.

Tbh, my SIL and I are not particularly close (not that we don't get on, we're just not very similar) but I feel terrible that she's going through what I understand is a pretty arduous process without any real support.

Anything I say will have to be conveyed via my dh but I'd just like to pass on some advice, positive stories or pointers back to her. Obviously I did think about suggesting she comes on here!

Is there anything else, that we can do to help her through this? Does this puffiness etc sound normal? Also she is going into this in a very negative state of mind - she said to dh "I don't know why we're bothering there's only 1 in 4 chance of it working" and I can't help thinking that's not going to help either.

Thanks for reading this far. Any help or suggestions will be very gratefully accepted.

Playingthewaitinggame Thu 26-Jun-08 16:09:52

Sorry no answers I am just bumping this for you in case someone going through IVF can help.

squeaver Thu 26-Jun-08 18:03:34

Thank you and another bump for the evening crowd

nomoremagnolia Thu 26-Jun-08 19:03:35

I have just done my first go at IVF and the bloated-ness sounds like the side effects of the drugs. The 'cycle' of IVF lasted 10 weeks for me - the first 3 weeks are just your normal cycle, the next three are using drugs to 'switch off' your natural hormones then two weeks of injections to grow lots of eggs, the eggs are then removed, fertilized and returned over 2-3 days and then there's the usual 2 weeks to wait before pg test.
I expect her negative attitude is partly self-defence, do you know if this is her speaking honestly or more in self defence? I kept saying to my Mum "never mind if it doesn't work we'll just try again" when really I was worried it wouldn't work but didn't want Mum to worry too.

Could you send her a card or something just to say you're thinking of her / she's in your prayers [or whatever works for you/her]? I told a few people (actually DH told most of them!) and a couple of people sent us cards saying "we're thinking of you" and "anything we can do to help just call"

Also swot up on the process of IVF and get an idea of the timescale (see above) so that if she does mention it to you you are already 'in the know' about what she's talking about.

Hope that helps, ask more questions if you like

squeaver Thu 26-Jun-08 21:14:50

Thank you NMM, that's incredibly helpful. Just knowing the timescale will help dh have a more supportive conversation with her I hope.

He emailed her today and she said she'd phone in a few days, wasn't really up to talking. Then he replied pretty much as you suggested.

I think her attitude is her true feelings tbh, she's not the most optimistic person in the world. Is that 1 in 4 figure accurate, do you know?

If she's in the "injections" phase does that mean they'll know in what 6 - 8 weeks if she is pg?

Sorry to bombard you, you've been really kind answering my q's. All the best with your own treatment.

nomoremagnolia Thu 26-Jun-08 22:04:16

The injections phase is approx six weeks into the 10 weeks - the bit where it starts feeling 'real'! It'll be about 4 weeks til the pg test.
The success rate at my clinic for the 38-39 age group is 22% but it might be worth considering that at 40-42 this drops to 15% so she might be feeling worried about that too. There's also a lot of £££ at stake too, obviously I don't know their financial situation but they may be worrying about the cost, I know I am! The HFEA website has lots of useful informaton on it - including a guide aimed at family/friends of IVF patients you can send off for.
Keep asking if there's more you want to know, she's very lucky to have you wanting to support her and going to this effort to find out more I think you're doing just the right thing, the fact she said she didn't want to talk but would talk later is a good sign that she trusts the two of you and may well open up to you about it soon. I expect she's feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment (and remember the drugs have emotional PMT-like side effects too)

Onlyaphase Fri 27-Jun-08 12:35:34

Squeaver - I hope your SIL gets the support she needs from her clinic or the other online forums dedicated to this. I've had IVF 3 times now, and it can make you feel rotten and also gain a bit of weight. The best support really comes from people who have gone through it, so I would recommend that she uses online forums - here and fertility friends - as they are easy to access and also anonymous!

The odds of 1 in 4 sound good to me - it depends on her age, hormone levels and also the clinic she is at, although as it is her first cycle they will have a better idea afterwards of how she reacts to the drugs etec. A lot of people do try and look at their first IVF cycle as a trial run, to see how they react to the drugs as this can't be predicted.

I do know a lot of people who got pregnant on their first IVF cycle, myself included, so there is hope for her. It can take longer at her age than if she were 30, but one of my friends had twins at 39 via IVF.
Best of luck to her

squeaver Fri 27-Jun-08 15:15:33

Thank you both. The HFEA website looks great. I'm/dh is going to recommend that she comes on here (might have to delete this thread then!). I've also just found out that a friend of mine from dd's nursery had IVF and she's kindly agreed to have a chat with her (if that's what she wants of course).

You've both been so helpful. I'm in awe of what you guys go through.

I'll let you know how she gets on - if I ever get told officially of course! Honestly, all this walking on eggshells isn't good for a loudmouth like me smile

squeaver Thu 17-Jul-08 17:52:45

Only and NMM - just thought I'd let you know that my SIL's IVF didn't work. As I said before, she's not been very forthcoming in discussing it but we have learned - somewhat circuitously - that they're not going to try again. Apparently they would have to go on a waiting list (although she told dh they were going private hmm) and would have to wait a year and, to quote her, "I don't want to give up another year of my life to this". Plus, she'd be 40 by then so is now convinced it just isn't going to happen.

It's all very sad and we're feeling a bit helpless about it. Who knows, maybe they'll be one of those couples who stop trying so hard, destress and then get pregnant.

But thanks again for all your words of wisdom, They were much appreciated by me, dh and other members of his family.

nomoremagnolia Thu 17-Jul-08 18:13:40

So sorry it didn't work out for her It sounds like she's finding it really hard and the "I don't want to give up another year of my life to this" sounds very much like a protective front. (Just like I'm feeling at the moment really - telling people that we can't afford another go rather than not wanting to wait but it's the same end result) I think the mess of hormones and emotions post-IVF is an awful mix
There are waiting lists at some of the best private places I believe. (Mine obviously isn't one of the best as they said we could go again as soon as we have the money hmm)

squeaver Fri 18-Jul-08 21:54:27

Thanks nmm. She's a very "closed-down" person so it's difficult to know what she's really thinking - or how to help her.

I've got so much respect for you brace ladies going through this. Hope everything works out for you smile

squeaver Fri 18-Jul-08 21:55:22

And by "brace" I, of course, mean "brave" [idiot emoticon]

Onlyaphase Fri 18-Jul-08 21:58:33

Squeaver - sorry to hear your SIL's treatment didn't work out for her. It can be incredibly difficult, being infertile (or sub-fertile as they call it now!) and having all these different tests and treatments, and at the end of the road is the big milestone of IVF. And when this last hope doesn't work out, it can be so, so difficult to deal with. Sometimes easier to protect yourself from hoping, and just not try again.

But, like you, I hope they are that couple that stop trying and suddenly get pregnant. Best of luck to them

squeaver Sun 20-Jul-08 21:36:53

Thank you, only

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