Starting an IVF Cycle
There are many things to think about when starting an IVF cycle. For example, how long will I do injections for? What do I need to do to mentally prepare? What will my treatment plan look like? As a clinical coordinator, I am here to help answer these questions and give you a brief breakdown of what you can expect when setting up a cycle.
The first step of the process is to set up an initial consultation. Once you’ve made an appointment, we will reach out and ask for any previous medical records to better understand your history and fertility journey so far.
Following are the types of records we typically ask for: previous fertility treatments, annual gynecological exams and recent blood work. Dr. Lane will review these records prior to your consultation.
Next is your consultation appointment. We do these appointments via video conferencing (Zoom) and in person. At your appointment, Dr. Lane will review your medical records with you, and get an idea of your family plan and cycle availability.
If you are in the office, we will complete a transvaginal ultrasound to give you the best recommendation for your fertility treatment. The ultrasound will let us know what your antral follicular count is and if you have any fibroids or polyps present in your uterus that we should address prior to starting your cycle.
Dr. Lane will then suggest some pre-treatments that may benefit your fertility and ways to get your body prepared for pregnancy. Some examples of pre-treatments include completing any missing or outdated bloodwork for you and/or your partner, such as infectious-disease testing, AMH/FSH/TSH levels, and hemoglobin A1C, and completing a financial consultation.
After we get an idea of your timeline and your pre-treatments are complete, we will create a calendar for you with dates to start injections. You will have a follow-up appointment with a cycle consultation to create this calendar.
During the appointment, you will learn how to do the injections and be able to practice it hands on. We will also go over calendar dates to confirm everything aligns with your schedule. Your calendar may include a period of time that you are on birth control pills depending on your baseline ultrasound.
For a typical IVF cycle, you can expect to take about two injections daily for 10-14 days. These injections are given with the purpose of having as many follicles as possible respond and grow, allowing us to retrieve more than your typical one mature egg per cycle. After this, you will take one trigger shot that will release the eggs from the wall of the follicle allowing Dr. Lane to retrieve them within 35 hours. You can also expect about four to five ultrasound visits during the time you start injections.
Lastly, depending on your treatment plan, you can go into a fresh transfer or freeze your eggs or embryos for a later date.
Having a fresh transfer would mean your spouse would visit our clinic on the day of your egg retrieval to produce semen, which allows the embryologist to make embryos on the day of your retrieval. The embryologist will then “culture out” the embryos in an incubator for five days and on the fifth day you will come in and do a fresh transfer. Any embryos that we do not transfer will be frozen or discarded depending on your preference.
A frozen cycle would usually mean that you decided to do a biopsy on your embryos. This means that on day five or six, after culturing out your embryos in the incubator, we can send off a few cells from each embryo to the lab for genetic testing. This process usually takes about two weeks and the lab will send results based on your choosing of gender, parental source of the abnormal embryos and much more. We will start the transfer cycle with you after we know what embryos are normal.
If you have any further questions about what an IVF cycle looks like, or would like to schedule a consultation appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us at 415-893-0391 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We look forward to helping you grow your family and giving you the most enjoyable fertility experience possible!
--Megan Zaragoza, Clinical Coordinator