IVF Referral- no fertility issues identified(20 Posts)
This is my first post here and I have so many unanswered questions so I will try not to ramble. I’m also very new to all the terminology (having not read many forums in the past) so if you could provide full words instead of abbreviations I’d really appreciate it thanks!
So long story short, me and my partner have been trying to conceive for years (roughly 3 actively trying but a year without protection prior to this too). GP referred us to an infertility specialist locally and we’ve had the first tests done- I had bloods and an ultrasound and partner a sperm sample. These were done only a month or so ago and luckily the other day I got a cancellation to see the professor for the results (my original app was August!) and it’s therefore been a really quick process which I can’t complain about!
Anyway, in summary it was somewhat good yet bad news to hear that both myself and my partner have no clear fertility issues that are preventing conception. I release more than the amount of eggs expected for my age and my scan showed a healthy uterus. My partners sperm was strong and referred to even as “super sperm”. I was over the moon with the result when I first heard, but obviously it doesn’t change the fact that we still for some reason aren’t conceiving naturally.
The consultant has referred me for IVF saying it will be the quickest way to get pregnant. I queried if it was odd to have IVF when there is nothing medically wrong and he said it was actually the most common reason people had IVF? I’ve been referred to a place in Chester (no idea who yet) and informed they have no waiting list so should be in touch rather quickly.
Has anyone had IVF under similar circumstances were there are no diagnosable problems? I literally know nothing about IVF itself and reading online has left me with mixed emotions (I was surprised the success rate was quite low). Any information about IVF in real terms would be very much appreciated! Approved websites state what IVF is but don’t actually explain what it involves in reality- also will this process be different to some others given that I’ve been told I won’t need meds to increase my egg production.
As I said literally any information would be really really helpful and I’d be so grateful. I read somewhere that the egg retrieval requires the woman to be put to sleep and I think it just reminded me how unaware and naive I am about the whole process!
Thanks so much in advance
Hi, unexplained infertility is a very common diagnosis for IVF treatment. You will still need meds for egg collection, in order to stimulate the follicles and collect a good amount of eggs. It's not about producing eggs, as we already have the all the eggs you'll ever have from before we're born. The meds are to stimulate them in order to get them to a point of maturity for fertilising them in the lab.
Depending on what the consultants protocols are, but guessing you'll have a 'short cycle' IVF which at our clinic, you'll start on injections from day 1 of your period. Stim injections from day one to stimulate your follicles, (follicles are sacs of fluid which hopefully have an egg in each) then from day 6, you'll introduce another daily injection which will stop those eggs from ovulating. During this, you'll have scans to monitor. At around Day 9/10 they'll scan to see how things are going. If all well, they'll book you in for egg collection. You'll have a 3rd injection 36 hours prior to egg collection, which induces ovulation, then eggs collected 36 hours later. Eggs are then fertilised with sperm to make embryos. If egg numbers are over 20ish depending on clinic protocol they'd freeze all embryos made, due to risk of hyperstimulation. Research shows frozen embryos are just as likely to result in pregnancy than fresh, so no problem. If under 20 eggs then fresh embryo will be implanted 3-5 days after. Pregnancy test due around 11-13 days after.
Obviously all clinics work differently, with different protocols, so that's just a guideline. Before you start medications, you should have an appointment with a nurse to show you how to do the injections etc. if your cycles aren't regular then they may consider either inducing a period with medication or doing a 'long cycle' which involves down regulation, all depends on your clinic
Sorry forgot to mention egg collection and sedation. Again all clinics are different. Our clinic uses 'light sedation' most patients describe this as 'the best sleep ever!' It's basically just sedation, but not a general anaesthetic. So just a drugs to make you unaware of any discomfort, or what's going on at the time. An anaesthetist is there to monitor you. Procedure takes around 15-20 mins and we keep you in recovery for around 45 mins to an hour, keep you awake, give you a drink and a biscuit and make sure all is well before you go home. You cannot drive, operate machinery or sign legal documents for the next 24 hours and need someone at home with you. You'll know egg numbers before you go home, but any information re egg maturity and fertilisation will be given the next day via a phone call from the lab.
OP, have you looked into hypnotherapy and acupuncture? Both improve the rate of conception (there is evidence that hypnotherapy doubles it for both IVF and natural conception), and also help you deal with the roller coaster of emotions.
I would personally try them first, as they are way cheaper and way less invasive than IVF (though you could also do both in conjunction with IVF if you wanted). I would personally want to know I had explored all avenues before doing IVF, especially for an unexplained diagnosis, though this is of course personal.
If you did want to go for hypnotherapy and/or acupuncture, I would make sure you see somebody who specialises in fertility.
There is a book written by a woman who does hypnotherapy and acupuncture for fertility, if you are interested, it is 'Is Your Mind fertility friendly', by Jackie Brown. There are others, too.
Thanks very much for your informative comments! I didn’t mention before but I am diabetic, so injections are nothing new to me and an extra few pricks each day will be no biggie . I didn’t mention (as I wasn’t sure if relevant) but the consultant said that it was possible my diabetes was the reason we were struggling to conceive, though he did state that he simply suggested this as he could see no other reason why we weren’t.
If I’m understanding correctly, it sounds like I will need to be available to attend the clinic routinely for a number of days? The place I have been referred to is roughly an hour and 15 mins away, do most couples take time off work during these processes being carried out?
Thanks Tolleshunt for the information regarding hypnotherapy, I know very little about it especially in relation to IVF so I will do some further reading. Is there a short answer as to why hypnotherapy increases the rate of success so much?
Tolleshunt can you cite some research papers for the hypnotherapy?
OP, yes, for IVF you will typically need to attend your clinic several times for monitoring scans (to check the lining of your uterus, and how many follicles are developing to what size). These are typically quite quick appointments so you can hopefully minimise time off work. The other thing to be aware of is that both egg retrieval and embryo transfer are something of a moveable feast - you won't know for sure, in advance, exactly what days these will fall on. For retrieval, once your clinic are happy you have enough follicles of the right size, they'll instruct you to do a trigger shot (and then retrieval is like 36 hours later). For transfer, it will then depend on your clinic's protocol for whether they do it on day 3, or day 5, or vary that depending on the circumstances. And sometimes it can be necessary to freeze all embryos and transfer in a different cycle. So, expect the unexpected, in terms of dates.
I had ivf for unexplained infertility. I read at the time that for cases of infertility, one third are male factor, one third female and the rest are unexplained. There is a lot we don't know about human fertility.
I was awake for egg collection, just with drugs to take the edge off. Different clinics have their own ways of doing things.
Persipan- I’m glad to have had the heads up! I suppose I wasn’t wrong to be told it’s quite a gruelling procedure. I haven’t informed my employer, in fact we haven’t really told many people as I can’t be doing with the extra stress and pressure. I suppose it will make it difficult to book time off but we will just have to play it by ear and see what happens.
My line at work has always been "I have a series of medical appointments coming up, some of which may be at short notice, but don't worry - I'm not deathly ill, or anything!"
Sorry, v short of time this am, but I think that hypnotherapy is believed to improve conception rate through reducing stress levels, and hence levels of stress hormones, and promoting a healthier hormonal balance. I think for embryo transfer it is used to relax the uterus to make implantation more likely.
Google ' Levitas fertility hypnotherapy/hypnosis' to find the research. Alice Domar has also done a lot of research on the effects of mind/body interventions in fertility.
Just a quick addition that I was also IVF due to unexplained infertility. We had to go private but currently 18 weeks pregnant after our first cycle
All unexplained fertility means is that according to the tests the NHS have done they couldn’t find anything wrong. That actually doesn’t mean anything. I was diagnosed with PCOS by the Nhs and put on clomid because that didn’t work I was also ‘unexplained’ until the fertility clinic did further tests and found thyroid, clotting, genetic, and autoimmune problems.
PrayingandHoping that’s amazing news! Congratulations that must be such a magical feeling to finally achieve.
Would you mind me asking why you ended up going private in the end?
@Lauren1709 had a nightmare with the nhs, very long story and not the doctors/nurses fault at all but in the end had no choice but to go private as no longer met their requirements. We'd have only got 1 round anyway and in the way just wanted to get out of the horrific system we experienced and get far far away from it and back under control.
@PrayingandHoping ahh that’s such a shame that you had a bad experience. Since my appointment with the consultant went so well I have been getting anxious that the clinic he has referred me to will look at my results and say I can’t have it (I know this is unlikely but I have somehow convinced myself that I’m never going to get there). At present all the doctors and nurses I have met with have been brilliant, I hope it continues.
Thankfully you have got the outcome you wanted and I’m sure you can’t put a price on that now!
We had unexplained and still no reason has been found. We did one fresh cycle in December, had a pretty good result, 8 eggs x5 5day blasts, 1 transferred, BFP ended in miscarriage. Did a FET now nearly 7 weeks pg (terrified of another MC). For some unknown reason it just didn't work naturally for us, maybe if we had kept trying it might have but I'm 36 now so really couldn't take that gamble.
We also are in the same boat but because my husband has a child from a previous relationship (she is nearly 12!) then we couldn't get it on the NHS, Even though i have never been pregnant they still wouldn't fund it so we've gone private and I think it's so much quicker!
We're on the long protocol and I start Burselin injections on Sunday! I'd defo keep reading all you can into it but we've been ttc for 5 years now and you can't put a price on finally getting there!
I've told my employer and told quite a few people. People don't tend to ask for too many updates so I've told people we'll let them know when stuff happens!
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