Friday, May 18, 2012

IVF for Beginners

Many of you reading actually know me (and Brandon) in real life.  Before undergoing fertility treatments, we both had limited knowledge about ART.  When my SIL, Sheri, went through IF procedures, I found myself searching google constantly to have some type of understanding of what she was going through.  This post is intended to help my friends and family understand IVF.
*How can I ask you to pray for me if you don't know what to pray for?!?*

At this point in our journey, it's obvious that Brandon and I cannot conceive on our own.  A brief rundown of our IF diagnosis:
  • Male Factor Infertility- poor morphology, low motility, and low count due to Testicular Cancer and Chemotherapy.  We do not have enough swimmers to even get pregnant via IUI at this point
  • Uterine Septum- mostly corrected, but my uterus will always have the characteristics of a septate uterus.  It has a tiny curvature at the top that makes it unique.
  • Annovulation- I do not ovulate without stimulation drugs (ex: Femara, Clomid, Follistim, Gonal F, Menopur, etc.)  I believe that I've only had 5 or so cycles where I ovulated without stimming drugs in the past 2 years.
We believe that God has led us to this place in our journey.  We have taken many factors into consideration and feel that this is our best option at the current time to have a child (children).  The likelihood of us ever conceiving on our own is miniscule.  We know that nothing is impossible with God.  We know that pursuing IVF is part of His plan.  We will listen to Him each step of the way.

We are pursuing IVF with ICSI to have a child.  

IVF refers to the process, and there are many steps along the way.

In Vitro Fertilization is commonly referred to as IVF. IVF is the process of fertilization by manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. When the IVF procedure is successful, the process is combined with a procedure known as embryo transfer, which involves physically placing the embryo in the uterus. American Pregnancy Association
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) involves the direct injection of sperm into eggs obtained from IVF.  American Pregnancy Association

Here is a brief explanation of how the process of IVF works (in our scenario):
  • A new cycle begins
  • A baseline u/s and bw appointment is scheduled to check hormones and the uterus and tubes.
  • Suppression is started.  In my case, we are beginning with BCP.
  • After so many days of BCP, injectable medication is added as well.  
    • In my case, I am prescribed Lupron injections for 12 days in addition to taking my BCP.  
  • A suppression check is scheduled to ensure that there has been no follicle growth or thickening of the uterine lining.
  • Begin stimulation drugs for ovulation induction.  
    • In my case, we are taking Follistim and Menopur for at least 10 days.
    • Many office visits are scheduled to monitor and observe the follicles (that produce the egg).
  • Once the follicles reach the desired measurement, the HCG trigger shot is administered, and the Egg Retrieval is scheduled.  
    • On average, 70% of follicles aspirated will provide one egg
    • There are no guarantees that every follicle will contain an egg, and that every egg will fertilize.
  • After the retrieval, the eggs collected are then fertilized with Brandon's sperm
    • This is where ICSI is performed.  
  • After fertilization takes place, the embryos are closely monitored.  
    • The plan is a 5-day transfer.
  • When the embryos are five days old, they select the best, which are then transferred via vaginal catheter with ultrasound guidance.
    • We are planning on transferring 2 embryos.  
    • If we have more good quality embryos remaining, we will freeze them for later use. 
    • At this point, I am PUPO!
  • I will try and remain as calm and peaceful as possible while we wait.
  • Nine days after my ET (14dpo) and (9dp5dt), we will go in for our beta to see if we are pregnant
There is much stress involved in IVF.  I'm praying for peace as we go through this process.  Once we get results, I will update here.  Within my blog, I have created a page outlining our IVF attempt.  If we have great beta numbers, I will want us to tell our families before posting.  If our numbers aren't promising, it will be easier to post here so I don't have as many people to tell.  

For now, I'm praying for God's will in our situation.  Whether IVF gives us a child or not, we will give glory to Him.  God is the ultimate healer and giver of live.  
Please visit my Lingo page for further explanation about any acronyms used in this post. =)  The coming posts will begin to contain more and more as we continue to move forward.


  1. I think this is a really great post! Before we began to struggle with infertility, I never thought IVF would be something I would pursue, but as time goes becomes one of the few remaining options for us. I would be really interested in hearing about how you guys have come to the decision to pursue IVF and how your faith fits into that decision. I pray that this will be successful for you and God will give you a miracle baby!

  2. We are SO excited for you guys! Are y'all free for dinner next weekend?

  3. I found your blog via another IF blog and I immediately felt a kinship with you and your husband. My husband is also a cancer survivor (renal cell carcinoma, treated with radiation) and we don't know yet if his treatment affected his fertility. We have our first appointment with with the fertility specialist at the end of the month and I'm sure we'll learn more then.

    I wish both of you much success and peace on your IVF journey. I'll be following along and cheering you on!

  4. Praying for you. Great post darlin.

  5. When I look back at our IVF cycle I realize that is is really hard but it didn't feel like it at the moment. If just felt like we were always doing the right thing. As long as you have eachother you will make it through this together. HOpe all goes well!

  6. Thanks for the breakdown of IVF. We haven't talked to our doctor about IVF yet (still hoping that IUI #3 works later this month), but it was a good primer of what is possibly to come for us.


Thank you for visiting my blog! I appreciate your comments and support on our journey.

As for me, I will always have hope; I will praise you more and more.
Psalm 71:14