Well...Here we go. Never have I thought I could be so utterly terrified and completely excited at the same time. This is probably going to be the most nerve-wracking, emotional time of my life so far. I will now begin documenting each stage in the IVF process. I still cannot believe this is happening, but yet, it feels very natural...this is what is meant to be.
Here is the breakdown of the next few weeks. We don't have all the dates yet, but here is how it begins....
~Monday, May 17- Pre-IVF Cycle Day 1, Menstruation began
~Friday, May 21st- Pre-IVF Cycle Day 5, Began taking Birth Control Pills for 3 weeks.
~Tuesday, May 25th- J has to have another semen analysis, results to be posted later.
~Tuesday, June 8th- Begin daily injections of Lupron- (Lupron is used to suppress the pituitary gland which is responsible for triggering ovulation. During, IVF they will retrieve my eggs prior to ovulation therefore, Lupron will keep my body from ovulation before the retrieval. This will be used for about 10 days)
~Thursday, June 10th- Last Birth Control Pill taken, Menstrual cycle should begin a few days later.
~The dates of the remainder of the cycle are TBD, but here is what will happen~
~Soon after menstrual cycle begins, I will begin daily injections of Follistim & Menopur (Follistim does just what it sounds like it does. It stimulates the follicles. This helps one produce more follicles and helps them grow in size. In natural ovulation, one typically releases 1 egg, in controlled ovarian stimulation during IVF, it is ideal to produce many eggs to increase the chances of successful fertilization. Menopur assists Follistim in producing larger and a higher quantity of eggs. It also helps with egg quality.)
~I will go into the clinic nearly every other day for bloodwork which will determine my levels of Estrodial and other hormones as well as trans-vaginal ultrasounds which will determine current size and number of follicles. When the follicles reach the ideal number, size, and proper maturation my egg retrieval will be scheduled.
~Egg Retrieval (aka Follicle Aspiration)- I will go into the IVF clinic and will be put under mild sedation through IV. That morning, J will give his "sample." My Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE aka fertility doctor) will use a needle which is passed through the vagina and into the ovaries through ultrasound guidance. Eggs and fluid are aspirated into the needle and passed onto the embryologist in the lab.
~Wait #1- After the retrieval, eggs & sample are mixed, are allowed to "do their thing," and are closely monitored. If needed, a procedure called ICSI (Intro-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection) may be used. This is when a single sperm is directly injected into a single egg. This is used if sperm is not penetrating the eggs on it's own. After fertilization occurs, we must wait 3-5 days as the fertilized embryos are cultured and are allowed to develop into blastocysts (highly developed embryos.)
~Embryo Transfer- 3-5 days after retrieval, blastocysts are transferred into the uterus through a catheter.
~Wait #2- THE MOST STRESSFUL TIME OF ALL: Waiting to see if the embryos implanted and pregnancy has occured. Bloodwork is done 10 days after transfer.
I will continue to post updates as we go. There you go, all you ever wanted to know about the IVF process.....ANY QUESTIONS? Phew!