This time last year we were in the midst of our IVF treatment. Until you are a couple having IVF, you never think that you will be. Or at least I had never thought that I would be. It seemed like something which happened to other people, I had never considered that it would happen to us. My knowledge of IVF was, I now realise, pretty patchy – only what most of us pick up through the odd Robert Winston documentary on the Beeb. We might have an image in our minds of a tiny needle entering an egg – a bit of a misnomer really, as that actually depicts intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ‘ICSI’, which is similar, but different, to IVF (in fact Google ‘IVF’ now and look at the images – they are all of needles penetrating eggs!) With IVF there is no injecting the sperm, they’re all just mixed up with a lovely egg and left to party. Not only did I not know the difference between IVF & ICSI, I didn’t know much about the odds of success, the daily injections, the egg collection and embryo transfer. There was so much to take it and prepare ourselves for.
Until it’s happening to you, or someone close to you, you only see it from the outside in, and your ideas about what it’s like and what it involves may be understandably vague. From the moment we were told that we would likely need IVF I gradually discovered more and more about not just the procedure, but the incredible emotional roller coaster ride it would be too.
For some time I’ve wanted to write about the things I discovered about IVF along the way. This started out as one blog post, but as I began to write about each point the post became longer and longer. I want to allow myself the space to really write about how it felt and what I learned along the way, so instead this will be a series of posts about discovering IVF and all that goes with it.
First a disclaimer: The number one thing I’ve learned is that it’s different for everyone. Clinics have different protocols and of course each individual will respond differently to the treatment, both physically and emotionally. IVF could be 4 weeks, or 6 weeks, or even span over several months depending on how it all goes. And of course each couple will vary with the outcome they get too. What I write about will be the things things I gleaned from my own personal journey, that’s not to say it will be the same for every couple who has IVF, but there will of course be some similarities.
I hope that you get something out of it if you decide to read the posts which follow, whether you are someone who has had IVF yourself and you get a sense of ‘ah yes, I know that feeling well’, or maybe you are about to embark on treatment and this might give you some idea of what to expect. Maybe you’re a family member or friend of someone having treatment, and these posts will help you to understand what they might be going through.
The Emotional Side