IVF Advice


#1

My husband and I are starting the IVF process. :cheer:

We had 6 failed IUI’s this year (2011) and are ready to dive into IVF. Any advice or comments on what to expect mentally/physically/financially? We are hoping to start our first cycle in January, but probably February, still in testing stages; Headed to St. Louis to see Dr. Peter Ahlering at Sher Institute, any other patients out there who have had success there?


#2

Hey Holliewood, sorry to hear about your BFN’s this year. I hope your IVF brings you good news in 2012 (and me!)

I am not sure how you can be fully prepared for IVF. I thought I was, but in retrospect I wish I had known more. These boards are helpful and I have learned a lot more than what my clinic has told me and I know what questions to ask.

Financially, I was not as prepared as I thought I was. Example: We are 100% out of pocket and had saved enough money for one cycle with meds. The nurse told us the price of meds varies, but we could expect to be somewhere in the middle of the range they quoted us and that is all we had saved. Well, I responded poorly to sitms and ended up having to cancel my cycle after 7 days of stims and restart at a significantly higher dose (went from 4 vials a day to 7). That is a difference of $165 per dose where i was ordering my meds from. So after 7 days of stims “wasted” and then having to start over with more meds we had to use a credit card for the meds and are now paying it off even though we agreed we would not go into debt for IVF. I wish I had known how expensive the meds could be and had looked into ordering from UK or Canada where they are cheaper. I just went with the pharmacy my clinic told me to. Next cycle I am going to go order from elsewhere.

Emotionally, this was far more difficult than I expected. If I had it to do over I would have had much less on my plate at the same time. I work 3 jobs (all part time, but they total one FT job) and am involved in several performing groups. This whole process stressed me out and trying to act like nothing was going on when I was at work/practice/performances was difficult when inside I really was a mess. I don’t know your tolerance for stress, but mine is low so for my next cycle I plan to take a step back from everything. Reduced hours/time off work, no rehearsals, etc, etc so I can just focus on me.

I would love more advice. Even though I’ve been through this, I think I could have a better experience next time and I wished I’d asked this question before I started the process.
Best of luck to you!


#3

I’m sorry to hear that you have had so many failed IUI’s. The good news is that many people who fail with IUI’s succeed with IVF. I would say the hardest part about IVF is the emotional toll it can take on you. There is so much uncertainty through out the process and it can cause a lot of anxiety. Financially, it all depends. Do you have insurance that covers IVF, do you have money saved…etc. For us, a full cycle cost around $13,000. After we went through our first failed cycle our RE gave us a break and only charged us the hospital fees.

I have tons of IVF info, including success stories, on my blog, if you would like to check it out. The link is in my signature. Good luck to you, I hope this is the cycle for you!!


#4

Hi Holliewood. Good luck with your IVF cycle.

DH and I just finished our 3rd failed IVF cycle and I have to agree with the others that the emotional toll is much greater than I experienced with IUI. For me, I think it is because I think of IVF as “our last chance”. Totally the wrong attitude to have, because it adds way too much stress for the situation.

I had a bad reaction to clomid, so several of my IUIs were with injectable meds, so this made the transition a bit easier. We used crinone as the progesterone support for IVF1 and 2 but switched to PIO for the last cycle. I was petrified of the shots, but to be honest it wasn’t that bad at all. The retrieval is the most invasive process, but it only takes a few minutes under anesthesia.

My RE changed protocols with each cycle, so I learned to call the office a lot and ask “why” for everything. I trust my RE, but as I see it, I’m the best advocate for my treatment.

I’m so lucky to live in a state where employers are required to provide insurance that covers fertility treatments. That being said, my REs office said out of pocket would be about 8k per cycle.

Hope this helps you a bit!


#5

Hi Holliewood,

I am sorry for your unsuccessful IUI attempts. Please keep in mind depending on the IF factor, IUI sometimes simply does not work where IVF has a very good chance of working.

When we went through IVF we also were paying 100% out of pocket so saved up what we thought we needed. Like another member on this forum, we too needed more stimulant drugs than anticipated. So- if you can, have a reserve for more drugs if needed. Also, no matter what you do- it will be stressful and emotional. You can only do your best to stay calm/relaxed as much as possible and think positive! :slight_smile: Also, making sure you are working with a clinic that has high success rates is important. If you haven’t already- check out your clinic’s SART ratings.

Much like a pregnant woman’s hormones/emotions (not that I knew anything about that before IVF)…when on the IVF drugs you are not quite “yourself” at all times. For me, it was helpful having my close family members be educated on what I was going through and for them to be forewarned about emotional changes so that they were not offended when I reacted to the drugs.

I wish you the best of luck in your IVF journey!!


#6

Thank you for the reponses, I appreciate it! Our insurance doesn’t cover anything having to do with fertility unfortunately, which is strange being in Oklahoma… We are the bible belt and the norm is to make babies and have families, so you would think they would want to help you do that. Haha! I am hoping to still use Follistim like I did with IUI. I have tried clomid before prior to IUI’s, and I think Clomid is the devil!!! Or rather, I am the devil on it! The only symptoms I had from Follistim is stomach bloating and stuff, but no mood swings really or hot flashes. DH goes in for a sperm sample to check DNA fragmenation and morphology and stuff on Saturday. We will have to drive to St. Louis (5-6hour drive from here). Hopefully we will get the go ahead to start IVF in Jan or February.

Our clinic, SIRM-St. Louis, listed cycle dates for 2012 on their website, ex. Jan 9, Feb 13, etc. What does that mean exactly? Do they change our cycle to where it’s convenient for them to have everyone cycle at the same time or something? I think my clinic here in town did that too for IVF patients, but not IUI. I guess I don’t know the IVF terms and procoess yet. I know the basics as far as stims, egg retreival, wait 5-6 days, implant embyro, hopefully be pregnant… :pray:


#7

I just wanted to say good luck on your upcoming cycle!

I’m not sure that the cycle dates might refer to (the day you start stims? goal ER? goal ET?)/ My clinic didn’t synchronize pts per se, but their lab was closed one week every month or two for cleaning, sanitizing, etc, so we had to work around that occasionally. No need to worry, they’ll just keep you on BCPs for more or less time to get you to your cycle date. I’ve been on them anywhere from 2 weeks to 4 in order to accomodate my or my clinic’s schedule.

Hope it all works out!
Heather


#8

[QUOTE=Holliewood]Thank you for the reponses, I appreciate it! Our insurance doesn’t cover anything having to do with fertility unfortunately, which is strange being in Oklahoma… We are the bible belt and the norm is to make babies and have families, so you would think they would want to help you do that. Haha! I am hoping to still use Follistim like I did with IUI. I have tried clomid before prior to IUI’s, and I think Clomid is the devil!!! Or rather, I am the devil on it! The only symptoms I had from Follistim is stomach bloating and stuff, but no mood swings really or hot flashes. DH goes in for a sperm sample to check DNA fragmenation and morphology and stuff on Saturday. We will have to drive to St. Louis (5-6hour drive from here). Hopefully we will get the go ahead to start IVF in Jan or February.

Our clinic, SIRM-St. Louis, listed cycle dates for 2012 on their website, ex. Jan 9, Feb 13, etc. What does that mean exactly? Do they change our cycle to where it’s convenient for them to have everyone cycle at the same time or something? I think my clinic here in town did that too for IVF patients, but not IUI. I guess I don’t know the IVF terms and procoess yet. I know the basics as far as stims, egg retreival, wait 5-6 days, implant embyro, hopefully be pregnant… :pray:[/QUOTE]

Holliewood, :welcome: to the board. I’m sorry you had IUI BFNs, but it’s good to step up your game now. IVF can be really tough emotionally, so DH is going to have to be prepared for a possible month of the worst PMS ever. I agree you really, really need to advocate for what you want, research, and ask questions. Otherwise, the Dr. will most likely do what is easiest for the clinic even if it’s not the best thing for you.

I wanted to impart something that you may already know, but DH and I just discovered this cycle (our 3rd IVF), especially since you say you want to use Follistim. Perhaps you already know, but those F vials have tons more medication in them than they say! For instance, our 300iu vials had 425, so that’s one way to save on stim meds. Also, someone just posted links for med saver programs for those without insurance. Check it out!

I wish you all the best. I hope Ahlering does the trick! Our beta is tomorrow, and if this round didn’t work, we are switching to SIRM either in NJ or NYC.


#9

[quote=All_the_good_names]Holliewood, :welcome: to the board. I’m sorry you had IUI BFNs, but it’s good to step up your game now. IVF can be really tough emotionally, so DH is going to have to be prepared for a possible month of the worst PMS ever. I agree you really, really need to advocate for what you want, research, and ask questions. Otherwise, the Dr. will most likely do what is easiest for the clinic even if it’s not the best thing for you.

I wanted to impart something that you may already know, but DH and I just discovered this cycle (our 3rd IVF), especially since you say you want to use Follistim. Perhaps you already know, but those F vials have tons more medication in them than they say! For instance, our 300iu vials had 425, so that’s one way to save on stim meds. Also, someone just posted links for med saver programs for those without insurance. Check it out!

I wish you all the best. I hope Ahlering does the trick! Our beta is tomorrow, and if this round didn’t work, we are switching to SIRM either in NJ or NYC.[/quote]

Thank you [B]All the Good Names[/B]! I was on the IUI part of this forum, but have now switched over to another new beginning. :flower: Good Luck on your Beta tomorrow!!!:pray:

I know exactly what you are talking about with the Follistim meds, I usually buy the 300unit, and can get like 400 out of it. Is it the same for the 600 and the 900 vials? Are there just like 100 over in there? If not, might as well by the 300 vials, the place I researched has the same price no matter the quantity.

I looked into the UK ordering, but I feel like that woudln’t get here soon enough, you know! I use Ascend Specialty Pharmacy, and they have free shipping, next day delivery, cheap prices, super friendly and helpful, they give you free Sharp containers to dispose of your needles. But I looked into Alenxander’s Twin too, they seemed reasonable.


#10

[QUOTE=Holliewood]Thank you [B]All the Good Names[/B]! I was on the IUI part of this forum, but have now switched over to another new beginning. :flower: Good Luck on your Beta tomorrow!!!:pray:

I know exactly what you are talking about with the Follistim meds, I usually buy the 300unit, and can get like 400 out of it. Is it the same for the 600 and the 900 vials? Are there just like 100 over in there? If not, might as well by the 300 vials, the place I researched has the same price no matter the quantity.

I looked into the UK ordering, but I feel like that woudln’t get here soon enough, you know! I use Ascend Specialty Pharmacy, and they have free shipping, next day delivery, cheap prices, super friendly and helpful, they give you free Sharp containers to dispose of your needles. But I looked into Alenxander’s Twin too, they seemed reasonable.[/QUOTE]

If you take crinone, we also bought our last pack from big mountain drugs for like $65 instead of $250. Exact same drug. Thanks for the good wishes. I haven’t POAS’d at all, and I’m feeling much better going into it than I have the past 4 times at least.


#11

Honestly, I was searching to see if Ahlering’s name came up anywhere in the forums. I’m a Sher-St.Louis patient, on my first IVF cycle, planning for Retrieval and transfer mid to late Feb. You can join my forum if you want, it’s 1st IVF Feb 2012 (or something close to that).


#12

My husband and I have wonderful insurance coverage for infertility through his company, so costs were not a huge factor for us (at least for the first 2 IVF cycles). Having just paid for our donor cycle and meds yesterday, I can say that costs ARE a portion of IVF stress…but still don’t compare to the emotional tolls.

I did just buy my donor’s meds through Walgreens Specialty Pharmacy for a total of $1800. They had several “programs” and “coupons” that lowered the costs of medications from $2900! (This was for 30 vials of Bravelle, Pregnyl, Lupron, and several other medications associated with the cycle.) I have also used Metro Drugs, but HATED dealing with them. Everytime I turned around, there was another issue, and I’m not sure their prices were that different.

I think the biggest part of IVF that I was unprepared for was the emotional toll. I knew the statistics and the science involved…but I majorly underestimated the emotions involved. Since I’ve never been pregnant, I can’t possibly understand the pain of a miscarriage. What I can tell you though is that for me, the two embryos that we placed WERE alive…and I somehow killed them. (I know that’s not the way it really was, but it’s how my heart felt.) I was devastated. I’m not sure how one prepares for these feelings, but just know that they could happen. Definitely communicate with your partner through every step of the process.

Hopefully you’ll only experience annoying costs and a BFP on your first and only IVF round! If not though, just know that you are entitled to all of your feelings and take each day at a time. Best wishes!!!


#13

I feel like I’m in a similar situation as you. We did 9 months of IUI’s thinking they would work (they worked twice for me in the past). We are going to move on to IVF in the next couple months. I feel unprepared (emotionally, mentally, financially) but I’m not sure I will ever consider myself prepared.


#14

The only thing I can add is try to remove as much extra stress from your life as possible. Things can be stressful enough with meds, pain of injections, 2ww, POAS, beta hell; so if there are negative people or situations in your life, tell them to shove it. You are spending way too much money and stress to have to deal with that. Don’t worry about hurting those people’s feelings, they don’t have to deal with the pain of infertility. I tried to destress myself and not let stuff bother me because I feel the stress can affect your ivf cycle. I wish you the best!


#15

I agree with you kibble&carrots…especially about negative people. I had to “break up” with my so called best friend over IF. She did IVF before me and got pregnant and was really in my face about it, even after I asked her not to. SHe couldn’t listen or be sensitive to any of my emotional needs. Even tho i was happy for her I didnt need to hear a play by play daily. Be sure that those around you are able to respect your challenges and struggles as well as be sensitive to your emotional needs. I saw a psychiatrist speak and she was adamant that you need to handle everything that happens in this process as you need to. NO ONE should dictate to you how to handle anything, especially those who have no idea what you are going through.

Other advice I offer is that you and your partner need to make this about you and your desire to have a child. Share with others only what you want to and don’t feel obligated to discuss. You can be as open or as private as you would like. Follow all DR instructions and never be afraid to clarify what you dont understand.

Also when I transferred two day 3 8 celled embryos, they were rated a 4 out of 5 with 5 being worst quality. They werent fragmented much but thats the way the embryologist saw it. So I kinda lost it a little mentally for a few days because I was sure that i would never get pregnant with such poor quality embryos, and those were the two best out of all of them!! SO the nurse told me there were plenty of 4 quality babies and to not worry. I went home and was on a few days bedrest and googled incessantly information on quality and how it effects implantation. I even started getting a little depressed! Long story short, all the googling, crying and worrying was for nothing! I still got my BFP despite the embryologist calling my embryos poor. My advice to you is to not even focus on embryo quality as it seems that it is kind of irrelavant. having eight cells or making it to blast on day 5 is apparently more important!

This brings me to another bit of advice based on experience. At my first ultrasound I was 7weeks plus a few days. It was discovered that BOTH embryos had indeed implanted! Now I had always said I didnt care about twins but I kinda freaked inside! The second baby was measuring behind and the RE figured that by the time I went to my next US, the second embryo would pass. And indeed that it was happened. Here is what I Learned from that experience. First, be careful and be sure of whether you would be okay with twins. I thought I was but i was sure frightened when I found out! Second, I always remember that if I only transferred one, I may not have stayed pregnant. Who knows which embryo passed…If I transferred one, I may have just miscarried and then have to start rom square one again. Every decision you make must be thought of carefully.

I hope after reading some of this, it was helpful. I hope and pray that everything works out for you! Good luck and remember to keep your eyes on the prize! It is definately worth it!


#16

Laurattc- I needed to hear everything you just said. I’ve been debating on taking a short leave of absence from one of my jobs (I teach part time, 3 classes total, at two comm colleges, and work part time at a big box home improvement store). My HR manager knows what’s going on, as she is dealing with IF, too. With all of the appointments I know I’m going to have to go to in a few weeks, I’m worried about the stress of making people mad by saying “Hey, I can’t come in tomorrow, and no, I won’t tell you why!”. Destressing sounds exactly like what I need to do. Think I’ll talk to my HR Tuesday.


#17

Hi. My wife and i are doing our 2nd ivf cycle this week. Cross fingers. We learned alot from our first cycle. We were a little excited and should have taken a step back to soak up all the info the doctor was telling us. If you feel pressured i would definatly advise to move the process back a month. Drs will not give you any hope for anything outside of science but my wife has been religiously seeing an acupuncturist and herbalist, taking vitamins, and eating healthy. We have spent the past 6 months preping her body to ensure that we did everything possible to give us the best shot this time.*

We also kept it a secret this time as well, not to be sneaky but sharing with our family seemed to add unwanted pressure that my wife did not need. Sharing with our family created excitement which was nice but when our cycle failed the whole family was bummed. I have taken on the role of ensuring my wife stays stress free. I do all the talking to nurses over the phone about medications or questions, dealing with insurance, etc. To me its very important to keep your stress to a minimum so tell your hubby to take the lead when dealing with details. I just tell my wife where she has to be, i give her all her injections, and deal with the drs office.

So my advice is this. Take your time dont rush into it. We were very lucky and our insurance covered the two cycles but this second round our insurance caused us to push back the ivf cycle twice this time, it sucked at the time but it was the best thing for us because it gave us more time to prepare mentally for the process. if you believe acupuncture works give it a shot and stick to your herbal schedule. Our ivf doc recommends acupuncture and is allowing us to have the acupuncturist come in and give my wife two treatments the day of embryo transfer, so i believe there is something to it. rest your body, start walking if you dont excercise, eat lots of veggies, research and take your vitamins, and find a way to manage your stress.*

Good luck.*


#18

[QUOTE=OnlyNeed1]Honestly, I was searching to see if Ahlering’s name came up anywhere in the forums. I’m a Sher-St.Louis patient, on my first IVF cycle, planning for Retrieval and transfer mid to late Feb. You can join my forum if you want, it’s 1st IVF Feb 2012 (or something close to that).[/QUOTE]

Hello,I am searching for somebody on the same cycle I am on with dr ahlering, st Louis. I started my injections yesterday with retrieval being around the 17th of febuary. This is my first cycle so I am a bit nervous and would love to hear from you on how things are going for you. Thanks,


#19

Cooper31: I live in Tulsa and I am doing the Feb cycle with Ahlering as well. There is a message board on the SIRM message boards for STL-FEB cycle though, it’s a little slow. I start Lupron and Dexamethasone yesterday. I had a headache yesterday, not sure if that’s from meds or normal everyday headache, I am prone to them anyways. here is the link to the discussion boards!

SIRM - Discussion Board -> SIRM CENTRAL - Infertility & IVF


#20

Holliewood
Thanks for the site it helped out with questions I had. I am from Indiana, we found out I had cancer at age 28 3 years ago, so they took everything but my ovaries. My cousin is our surrogate, she just started getting headaches from the lupron and some chest pain last night. Have you had anymore headaches or any other problems? Also I went for follicle count, first one last week and it was a local doctor and the lady there told me I only had 14 and that was a bad low number. Do you mind telling me what yours was and is that a low number for ivf? Thanks,