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IVF - is it really worth it?

(55 Posts)
Viewofhedges Fri 03-Apr-15 18:07:42

I'm 38, DH is 42. We have unexplained infertility of 3 years (neither of us have ever had a child), and may be able to get IVF on the NHS (which I know makes us very lucky).

But is it really worth doing this? Is it worth 6 months or so of hormonal rage, operations and disappointments? The whole process sounds so horrific, and unnatural, and just such a crazy thing to actually sign up to. What experiences have other people had with it? I'm terrified of setting out on this path, terrified of becoming a hormonal wreck and potentially putting my husband and I through something that could devastate us but just as terrified of getting old with no kids and knowing we could have tried just that bit harder.

I know no one has any answers but I'd be grateful for other people's opinions on this great unknown.

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Hi there - this thread is a little old. If you want to find out about IVF, we’ve got more information here. MNHQ

MrsCakesPrecognitionisSwitched Fri 03-Apr-15 18:12:53

Sitting here looking at my 6yo DS, playing and laughing with his big sister.
He wouldn't be here if it weren't for IVF.
He is pretty amazing.

We had him on our first round of IVF. The hormones and treatment were fine although the egg collection was painful and I had a mild dose of OHSS.

He is absolutely worth every penny, every tear, every needle.

WinterBabyof89 Fri 03-Apr-15 18:19:21

Sorry to jump into your thread as I don't share the issues that you are facing.. However, I've had my fairshare of heartache surrounding babies (my second child died after labour complications).
Despite all of the pain & heartache we are beginning another journey that could end with the same result, other things could go wrong, I have a list full of worries and slight anxiety about what the future holds.. BUT it's completely worth it for us to do everything we can to try for a happy outcome. And that's what I want to share with you. IVF won't be easy, but it might just work?! I would want to feel like I had done everything I could whilst I was able to.
A relative of mine has had a successful round of IVF after 5years of infertility issues.. She's dues this spring so IVF for them was completely worth it.

Best of luck with whatever you decide smile

Highlove Fri 03-Apr-15 18:36:27

Although IVF isn't fun, I didn't find it as bad as all that. Not much in the way of hormonal rages. Actually just felt good to be doing something. Not sure why it would take six months - it's typically about six weeks from start to test date.

It's not an easy thing to go through. We were lucky to be successful on our second try and my lovely 13 month old was worth every second. But I also knew I had to do it even if ultimately it wouldn't suceed - I couldn't look back wondering what if.

Ultimately only you and your partner know what's right for you. If it were me (and especially if you can get through the NHS) there wouldn't be any question.

Very best of luck; I hope you achieve your dream whatever you decide.

fflonkl Fri 03-Apr-15 20:19:21

Hello OP I was like you - terrified of IVF because I didn't know if I could handle the mood swings and so scared of the stats that I felt I couldn't bear it if we had a negative cycle.

I dithered for years but eventually decided to go for one cycle on the basis that I didn't want to look back later and regret not trying at least once. So we did - and am now waiting for 2 year old DD to go to sleep smile

I'm one of those lucky ones who got pregnant after one round and I have to say the whole process wasn't bad at all, once I got used to doing the injections. No hormonal rages, no mood swings, just the odd bout of tiredness.

Phineyj Fri 03-Apr-15 20:25:12

The process was quite stressful but the actual treatment was fine - not as bad as a dental checkup or smear, say. We had to do the treatments abroad, it was very complicated regarding time off work and it cost a fortune. However, it was SO worth it. I would recommend counselling to sort through feelings and make sure you are both on the same page (the IVF service will have a specialist counsellor).

Trooperslane Fri 03-Apr-15 20:26:51

Marking place to reply tomorrow.
Shattered tonight ip, but want to give you some thoughts.

In summary - yes. But I'll write it properly tomorrow.

GangAftAgley Fri 03-Apr-15 20:32:17

Agree with highlove, not much in way of hormonal rages, and it did feel much better to be actually doing something rather than just thinking about it the whole time.

My GP reckons it's the mental rather than physical aspect that is hardest - but even then I didn't find it as bad as I had anticipated. Maybe that's because we had a positive outcome, but still. And the egg collection was not at all painful for me - in fact, the drugs they used were brilliant, I felt extremely calm, relaxed and chilled out and would do it again. Good luck with whatever you decide, and I know this gets said a lot on here, but it really helped me - remember to be kind to yourself.

Drowsybutawake Fri 03-Apr-15 20:37:48

It is worth at least one round, especially on the NHS, yes. I felt exactly the same as you, and like other posters was lucky to get pregnant first time. But even if it hadn't, the process is not that bad (nowhere NEAR as uncomfortable as the first trimester of pregnancy, in my experience!) Uncomfortable and tiring at times.

IMO the thing to think about is the emotional toll of multiple failed rounds, for that reason I always planned to limit myself to the three NHS rounds allowed in my area.

I am so glad I didn't let fear of the process stop me from having my chance at a family. Good luck!

Heels99 Fri 03-Apr-15 20:40:15

5 years of it. Horrendous. But yes worth it.

OrinocoTheWomble Fri 03-Apr-15 20:52:33

I had IVF for unexplained infertility. Went private as NHS waiting list too long (we were late 30's). Luckily it worked first time and we have a lovely DS. We are happy with one child.

I'm not remembering everything, but it's quite a short process (once you've got the diagnosis of unexplained infertility). Think there was a few weeks of sniffing and a few more of injections (6 weeks max in total) - I was my usual self during this time (I had the odd sneaky cigarette and the odd drink - I tried to not make it 'everything'). Then there's the hospital appointments, not all the time though... followed by egg removal and the putting the embryos back in. We had 4 good embryos, 2 were put back in, the other 2 weren't good enough for freezing.
The nightmare for me was buying about 2,000 pregnancy tests to see if I got a line! Jolly happy when I did! No morning sickness. Normal pregnancy. Horrific emergency C-section - but that's nothing to do with the IVF.

I am sure everyone has a different IVF story. I suppose it depends how much you want a DC - but it was most definitely worth it for us - we love him to pieces. I can hardly remember all the IVF stuff however I remember the awful 30 hours of labour and the nightmare C section as if it were yesterday! If you do it, and it doesn't work, at least you know, you won't be thinking 'what if', and hopefully you can move on happily with your life. I would say, before you embark on IVF, be very firm about how many attempts you are going to have. We were very lucky with it working first time, but we said we'd have 3 goes and if none worked we would stop and move on with our lives. Good luck!

Tootsiepops Fri 03-Apr-15 20:57:52

I didn't find ivf anywhere near as bad as I was expecting - mentally or physically. Think I'd built it up to be something akin to chemotherapy blush

I delayed treatment for ages. Was utterly adamant it wasn't for me. Woke up one morning and had a change of heart.

I look back on my cycle now and wonder what all the fuss was about. Knowing what I know now, it would have been a shame if I'd not tried.

zzzzz Fri 03-Apr-15 21:05:35

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

blacktreaclecat Fri 03-Apr-15 21:06:41

For us it was. We paid privately for various reasons and got lucky first cycle with our lovely DS, now nearly 3. Easy for us to say it was worth it in hindsight.
If you didn't try the ivf and never had a child, would you always regret it? Maybe decide beforehand on a stopping point. Maybe 3 or 5 goes?

leccybill Fri 03-Apr-15 21:07:01

With a free NHS cycle, I deffo would.

The only thing stopping us is the cost. We could save £5k in a couple of years but if it doesn't work, I'd feel guilty that we could have spend that £5k taking our one DD to Disneyland or something.

gointothewoods Fri 03-Apr-15 21:12:25

I found my 2 ivf cycles so much easier than the several years of trying then doing Clomid, iui etc. The process was clear and each step was quite brief really. The drugs were far better in my experience than the other meds I had used before that. Worth it. Don't be scared. Do your research and go for it.

Littlemisssunshine75 Fri 03-Apr-15 22:28:01

I didn't think IVF was as bad as I expected. It takes over your life while you're going through the treatment, but for me it was definitely more mentally difficult than physically.
We went through five cycles, and dd is the result of the last one. For us it was absolutely worth it, and I would go through every single second of it again in a heartbeat.
We always knew that we would try whatever we could in order to have dc2, and am so very glad that we didn't give up. One of my worst fears was ending up regretting not having tried harder. In my opinion, if you really would like a child then it's worth trying IVF, especially if you can have free cycle. What have you got to lose?
Good luck with whatever you decide to do smile

Eigg Fri 03-Apr-15 22:38:44

Yes, completely worth it.

Not everyone has mood swings (I didn't). It's not the most fun way to spend ten weeks or so but not anywhere near the hardest thing I've ever done.

It took us two cycles to conceive, and yes I was extremely upset when the first one failed but just gritted my teeth and got on with things.

It takes a bit of a toll on your body but less than being pregnant or the early days of motherhood.

Best wishes with what ever you decide.

CatnipMouse Fri 03-Apr-15 22:54:40

Hello! I've had one fresh cycle so far (lots of eggs but the embryo that was put back didn't work out). I was worried about all the things you list but do you know what, it was fine. I got a few headaches from the down regulation medication and was a bit bloaty and uncomfortable from the stimulation, but it was all so much easier than I thought. No hormonal rage at all.

Injections - some people find these hard, others breeze through it, but it is amazing how quickly it becomes 'normal'! The scans are undignified but no worse than that, egg collection was also undignified and a bit painful, but ok cos of the sedatives and gas and air, embryo transfer was uncomfortable due to full bladder. None of it was awful, honest. Not as much fun as trying to get pregnant the usual way mind you :0)

That's my experience, of course I can't speak for everyone. I think IVF is often talked about as this awful terrible thing, I don't know why that is the impression so many people have. I think it's inaccurate and scares people unnecessarily.

Emotionally, it's hard when it doesn't work of course. But I don't know if it's that much harder than repeated failure of TTC naturally. At least with IVF you can tell yourself you're doing all you can. In some ways for me, the emotional 'journey' and effort to get to the stage of getting my NHS IVF referral was a lot harder.

PM me if it might help.

Happilymarried155 Sat 04-Apr-15 09:03:13

I didn't find the actual process of ivf too difficult, I think it's the emotional distress if it doesn't work that's the hardest.

However, I'm sat here cradling my 8 week old little boy and can honestly say id do it over again for him.

If you don't try will you regret not attempting it and always think what if?

Pipbin Sat 04-Apr-15 09:10:19

I've had 3 rounds and it really isn't that bad. I found I was less hormonal than I was when I was on the pill.
It can be emotional and traumatic but only as much as you make it.

Although our first two goes failed and the third ended in a mc I wouldn't change it. I'm glad we did it.

LittleTalks Sat 04-Apr-15 11:43:55

We recently had a round of IVF, and honestly it wasn't that bad. We had short protocol which meant only 4 weeks between first injection and the pregnancy test - nothing like six months!! We had 4 appointments in 2 weeks: baseline scan, progress scan, egg collection and embryo transfer.

Ultimately we had a bit of a nightmare outcome (ruptured ectopic pregnancy, but this could have happened in a naturally conceived pregnancy), but are still planning another round.

If you're entitled to a free nhs round you really don't have much to lose, and ultimately, as many who have been successful have said up thread, a lot to gain.

Naty1 Sat 04-Apr-15 16:01:25

It depends how much you want a baby.
I did long protocol and disliked the downregulation as it was sniffing every 4 hrs so always worrying about forgetting one.
Physically it wasnt as bad as pregnancy or childbirth/looking after newborn.
Emotionally the failed cycle was difficult.
I would look at the hfea site about the success rates by age and at your clinic. To understand your chances (and mc rates etc).

ScarlettInSpace Sat 04-Apr-15 16:16:25

Honestly, and to give a different opinion, I wish with all my heart I hadn't done it.

I went through 2 years of physical & emotional hell whilst undergoing treatment, it brought on some kind of drug induced depression, and all I had to show for it at the end was an extra two stone and early onset of menopause at 37.

My previously textbook cycles have never recovered.

And no, knowing at least I tried does not make it any better, it actually makes me feel even more of a failure.

I genuinely wish I could turn back the clock and not put myself through it, the last 4 years would be been a lot more enjoyable.

Ooops Sorry for the doom-mongerish woe-is-me post I didn't mean to sound so bitter blush but I hope it's useful to see another perspective!

Amummyatlast Sat 04-Apr-15 16:38:32

I had two goes and didn't find it too bad physically. I did have a traumatic egg collection on the first go, having opted for pethidine and gas and air, but the second one was a breeze since I was unconscious the whole time. While the first go didn't work at all (none of the eggs fertilised) both of us felt much better about the whole infertility thing after our first go. It was the first time we felt any sort of control, even though it didn't work. And of course, on the second go we got lucky and got DD (who is currently pulling all of my books off the bookcase). But even if it had failed, based on how we felt after the first go, I think we would have been in a better place than if we hadn't tried at all.

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