Infertility treatment - how long does it all take?
britchick77 · 04/03/2018 13:23
I've been ttc for 8 months and as I turn 39 in a few weeks I was planning to go see the doctor if I'm not pregnant this time around. Can anyone tell me a bit about the process please?
I know everyone's different so it may be hard to give generic answers but would be good to hear some experiences. Let's assume we are a standard case of unexplained infertility and neither of us need other treatment first...
- Do I go alone to the doctor in the first instance?
2. What kind of questions/tests did you have at the first appt?
3. How quickly would I get referred on from the GP to the fertility clinic?
4. Did they ask any questions about your relationship (we are not married)
5. Are they likely to go straight to IVF considering my age? or would they do IUI/ICI first?
6. How long does the process take from first appointment to first treatment?
physicskate · 04/03/2018 16:05
I'm 34. I've been ttc for two years and I'm just about to be referred for ivf. We are unexplained, but I have polycystic ovaries (not the syndrome) and have been on clomid for the last 6 months.
Many CCGs have a requirement of ttc for two years if unexplained. So you may want to do more research on that.
I first went to the fertility clinic last July. I had a couple of blood tests and a scan (internal) and then they put me on clomid at my next appointment.
It's shit. Even the fertility clinic can't make you get pregnant, and so it's all a bit of luck...
melissa1215 · 04/03/2018 16:22
I'm 25, ttc for two years. We have male factor infertility and my boyfriend knew this prior to us ttc but I knew I'd be too young to have ivf on the nhs back then.
We went the gp, as my boyfriend was aware of his infertility he explained and then I had to have bloods taken, a scan and then we were referred for ivf
We went in early January 2018 and we've had all our tests (bloods, day 21 ovulation, scans pelvic and internal. Partner had bloods and another sperm analysis) we apply for our funding on March 20th
I think it's been a fairly quick process, I'm from Liverpool and it's all going smoothly
GransGloves · 04/03/2018 16:24
It takes a hell of a long time, although given your age it may be speedier, I was 26 when started TTC so it wasn't felt there was any rush (was 5 years from TTC to baby).
From memory, you could go alone or with your partner. They do need to see you partner at various points along the way to get consents and things but I think the initial appt would be ok just you.
The GP might ask a few general questions, how many cycles TTC, history (have you ever been pregnant, does partner have any children, any signs of endo etc).
Referral time just depends. We were referred to a wonderful but large busy clinic and the wait times are quite long. Think it was around 3 months to see the consultant for the first time. You'll be seen a few times after that for bloods etc and to decide on a treatment plan. We had to have been TTC for 2 years to be referred because of our young age, but as you are over 35 it's possible 6 months is enough (it would be in my area).
Think they asked if we were married but just for the notes. If they are treating a couple I think they want to be treating a stable/long term couple though if you see what I mean, and some places have funding criteria around previous children and things so they need to know your family situation.
The treatment plan will depend on what the issues are. They might think Clomid will help if it's an ovulation issue. They might work out it's a sperm issue and decide that way. We never went down the Clomid or IUI route or anything because it just wasn't suitable for our condition. They might offer you a hysteroscopy though to check for issues.
How long? It really depends. On so many factors. Possibly in your case around 12-18 months from referral to embryo transfer but that's a real shot in the dark. For us it was much longer, we had around a year of investigations which led to nothing, then placed on the IVF waiting list which was a year, then had egg collection but got very ill with hyperstumulation so waited another 3 months for a frozen embryo transfer.
This time round we had frozen embryos and initially approached the clinic in Nov 16, saw consultant in Feb 17, booked in to start frozen cycle in May, cancelled last minute for health reasons and started cycle again in June with frozen embryo transfer in mid-August. And that was paying privately...
My advice is just to go to GP to get the ball rolling. It won't do any harm to get things moving and know where you might stand. Have you been TTC with OPKs etc?
melissa1215 · 04/03/2018 16:25
My boyfriend and I aren't married either, just asked how often we have sex per week and how long we'd been ttc.
They asked a lot of relevant health questions such as are we smokers, how much do we drink and a past family history of any diseases etc, took my weight and blood pressure too. The gynaecologist made me do a chlamydia sample too, not sure if they all do that I was caught off guard haha.
GransGloves · 04/03/2018 16:27
Oh Melissa just you wait, between IVF, FETs and pregnancy I've had soooo many STD tests! Honestly must be at least 20!
melissa1215 · 04/03/2018 19:00
@GransGloves really! I was a little bit mortified because I wasn't expecting it haha!! I'm glad I know what to expect now lol
physicskate · 04/03/2018 19:03
Melissa - a chlamydia blood test is one of the only four blood tests I've had in two years of ttc.
leccybill · 04/03/2018 19:08
We would be self-funded. What's the quickest it can happen from initial appointment? I'm almost 38 and the clock ticks louder every day. I'm getting super anxious. Have DD who is 8 but no success ttc for 6 long years
VillageFete · 04/03/2018 19:30
Too fucking long... To be brutally honest I don’t think you have the luxury of hanging around and waiting to see what happens. Go to your Dr and bend the truth regarding the length of time you have been TTC.
I am self funding IVF (naturally conceived 8 year old) Got my BFP on 16th Feb but miscarried on Thursday. I now have to start again and it is all very time consuming and stressful.
I have been TTC for 3.5 years. We tried clomid for 6 months before going for IVF. How I wish i’d had started the ball rolling with IVF after 12 months TTC... hindsight hey?
britchick77 · 05/03/2018 20:07
Thanks all for responding - yes it sounds like I should do it sooner rather than later - I'll book something tomorrow.
So sorry about your MC, VillageFete, I can't imagine how gutting that must be after 3.5 years x
GransGloves - yes I do OPKs and temping, and know more about CM than ever realised there was to know...
Did you get to choose your clinic? I live in London and there are obviously loads here but looking at the stats there is a huge range in success rates.
In terms of treatment, I'm pretty sure I'm ovulating (I get OPK+ then a temp rise and my cycles are very regular), however I do have mild polycystic ovaries and a short luteal phase (10-11 days) which I have read can make it harder. Plus I'm 38. Is there anything they can do for that besides IVF?
GransGloves · 05/03/2018 20:19
No didn't get to choose clinic, I don't live in England though and choosing hospitals is not really a thing here unless for very specific reasons, plus there are far fewer centres offering IVF. I'm lucky though as the clinic I live closest to was great. The staff were just lovely and we have been very lucky with our treatment there. Plus they are still custodians of our two remaining frozen embryos, of whom we are very fond.
When I was TTC and awaiting ICSI I did try to make my luteal phase longer as it was very short. I did loads of research and eventually found B vitamins supposedly had an effect on luteal phase. I have to say, they did. It took a good few months but the length crept up from 9-ish days to 13-ish days. I can't remember exactly what I took but I think it was B6, B12 and B-complex. See if you can find out anything about that in case it's helpful.
The fact you're probably ovulating regularly is good though! Be prepared for anything though. In the end we had an extremely rare and difficult to diagnose sperm issue which meant we'll never naturally conceive. Nothing in the history or tests had pointed to that and we were totally shocked.
RubyBoots7 · 05/03/2018 20:42
In the first instance I would find a copy of your CCG guidelines BEFORE you even see your GP (which is the first actual step). Especially given your age. It will give you an idea of what hoops you'll need to jump through on your journey if you end up needing treatment such as ivf. Some CCGs stipulate 3yrs ttc, other 2yrs (even though NICE recommend 2) before they will refer for ivf. There are also age limits with some CCGs.
8 months isn't long ttc in the grand scheme of things, but if you tell your GP who refers you to the fertility clinic and they have a 3 yr wait criteria but won't offer to women over 40...hopefully you get my point!
Some CCGs won't find ivf at all now and if that's the case and you can afford private, don't waste time going down the NHS route at 39 years old and waiting and waiting for things that just delay your journey.
Not being married is irrelevant. If there were DV or similar then they'd prob not refer.
Main criteria factors are age, weight, smoking, hormone levels. Having a child already immediately strikes you off NHS finding. Even if it is from a previous rel.
If you have ivf, you'll have millions of tests including std screens as it's a legal requirement before proceeding.
Also if you did have untreated chlamidya that could be a cause of infertility.
Routine GP screening is hormone tests for women and sperm test for men. If you end up at a fertility clinic, they may repeat and do additional tests.
britchick77 · 09/03/2018 21:42
RubyBoots thank you so much, that’s a amazingly helpful. I’ve checked the guidelines and am not eligible for funding so will start looking into going private.
GransGloves thanks, I started on the B vits recently for other reasons so hopefully it will be a welcome side effect :)
AniSL · 10/03/2018 11:36
You can check your CCGs requirements here www.fertilityfairness.co.uk/nhs-fertility-services/ivf-provision-in-england/
Waiting times will vary from area to area, if you have a male factor then it’s usually an instant referral regardless of how long you have been TTC. Best if both go to all appointments, partner will require a sperm analysis which ur GP can request and then another sample 3 months later. They will then refer to urologist who will advise. Blood tests for both partners STD, hormone profile for both partners, urine test, tracking your cycle, 21 blood test and anymore they see fit to send you too.
The Gynae will do an ultrasound/HSG or whatever scan they deem fit - again this will only happen if you meet the funding criteria.
I was referred at 35 and told I was too old for my CCG so we were able to get all the relevant tests on NHS and moving to privately fund.
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