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Tips on Preparing For an IVF Cycle
by Chelsey Langland

Congratulations! You are getting ready to start a cycle of IVF. It may be that you've waited years for this - trying to get a diagnosis, find a doctor, and get physically, mentally, and financially prepared. You've probably done a ton of research already, but there still may be a few things that you need to know. Hopefully, some of these tips will make your cycle go more smoothly, making the experience less stressful (if that's even possible!)
  • Contact your doctor if you have any questions about your protocol. It's better to have your concerns addressed now, before you are taking medication and involved in the rush of medical care. Write down anything about which you were unsure; it's always nice to have something that you can look back on later.

  • Tell your doctor about any supplements or medications that you are taking. Some supplements don't mix well with anesthesia, so it might be important to stop them before you get to retrieval. Also, let your doctor know if you're using acupuncture. Most clinics recognize the value of this alternative treatment. If your doctor knows you're currently working with an acupuncturist it may be possible to have him or her come to the clinic for some important sessions.

  • Figure out how much support you need from your partner. Do you want to have your partner come to every ultrasound and blood draw? Do you just want to be left alone? Try to communicate your needs now, when you're not in the heat of battle. Hopefully you can reach a compromise that meets your needs while taking into account your partner's schedule.

  • Try to nail down details, especially the financial ones. Nobody wants to battle a billing office or insurance company when they are trying to relax and get through a cycle. It seems inevitable that minor problems will pop up during the cycle, but hopefully you can head off the major stuff before you get started.

  • Make arrangements to have help around when you'll need it. Do you need someone every day so that they can help with your shots? Count on needing someone to drive you home after both egg retrieval and embryo transfer, as you will be under the influence of medication both times, and unable to drive. It may be that your clinic recommends bed rest for a few days after embryo transfer. Find someone who can help you with meals, snacks, pet care, and child care, if applicable.

  • It is quite common for your doctor to prescribe antibiotics for you (and your partner if he will be providing a fresh semen sample). Sometimes, antibiotics can upset your stomach. If you have this problem, talk to your doctor. There is no need to suffer in silence, as your medical team can likely suggest an alternate medication.

  • Decide how much information you are going to share with family, friends, and co-workers. People have different comfort levels when it comes to sharing information, and only you can decide what's best for your situation. If you don't want to share, especially at work, a good line is that you'll be out of the office to "take care of a medical situation." Remember, you don't have to share things that would make you feel uncomfortable.

The details that are involved in an IVF cycle can be daunting, but just keep your eyes on the prize and take one day at a time. You'll make it, and hopefully in just a few short weeks you'll have some wonderful news!

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