When you started your first intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle, did you understand that you’d probably end up injecting yourself with hormones many times a day for up to 3 months? I didn’t. Possibly in order never to discourage potential patients, reproductive endocrinologists do not go into detail regarding your medication schedule until you already are emotionally involved and committed to accomplish the treatment.
When I switched to injectable medication (Menopur) for my second IUI, I was quite disconcerted at the thought that I (or my partner) had to inject a heavy long needle in my belly for several days to be able to stimulate the production of follicles in my ovaries. Each evening, I dreaded the hour we’d appointed for administering the medication, and because of my excessive nervousness, my sensitivity to Menopur was heightened, and I started to experience a series of side effects. hcg injections
In hindsight, my body’s reaction to Menopur was probably amplified by my emotional unpreparedness for the injections and my fear that I wasn’t administering them correctly regardless of the detailed instructions my doctor’s office provided. The results? I was severely bloated, gained weight, and felt pain and discomfort at the site of injection.
In fact, I have no doubt that my introduction to Menopur injections was tainted to a sizable degree by my subconscious expectations that the knowledge will be unpleasant. Why do I think so? Because the second time I’d to undergo exactly the same protocol, it felt as easy as one, two, three. So did the third time.
My experience with IVF injectable medications was a completely different matter. In the first place, I was amazed to see the length of time the prep. phase schedule was. Whereas my IUI stimulations lasted anywhere from 10 to 16 days and involved only injections of Menopur, my IVF ovarian preparation phase lasted about 8 weeks and included 20 days of intramuscular injections of Lupron in my thigh and 10 days of subcutaneous injections of Menopur and Bravelle in my belly at a dosage 3 x higher than that needed for IUIs. To initiate ovulation, I also needed an intramuscular injection of hCG in my buttock (which I’d to complete for the IUIs as well).
But wait; that’s not all. Following the egg retrieval, I was surprised just as before to receive another long schedule, including more injectable medications. Since we were transferring a frozen embryo post preimplantation genetic screening, we’d to add an extra month of preparation of my uterus. Throughout that month, I was instructed to inject myself with estradiol valerate every three days (for an overall total of 10 times before my pregnancy test), then start injecting progesterone in my buttock twice a day starting 5 days prior to the embryo transfer. Adding 4 intramuscular injections of hCG to this already staggering count, I ended up administering an overall total of 80 injections from the beginning of my IVF cycle to my pregnancy test. hcg diet
If you believe that 80 injections in 9 weeks is, i’d like to disappoint you further. A couple of days before my embryo transfer, my doctor’s assistant told me that in case of pregnancy, I will need to continue the estradiol and progesterone injections for another 9 or 10 weeks. That’s comparable to 16-17 injections each week, for a grand total of approximately 230 injection from the beginning of the IVF cycle to the end of my first trimester. Lot, isn’t it? hcg diet
The point I’m trying to make is that many of us first-time IVF patients have little idea about what to anticipate when it comes to fertility medications, and doctors probably do not advertise the whole truth prior to the treatment in order never to intimidate their clients-not necessarily because they wish to secure their business but primarily in order never to inflate their stress levels in what’s already a tense process. Don’t misunderstand me, though. Sticking thick long needles in my body 1 to 4 times a day and taking 10 different pills throughout my IVF cycle is a minor inconvenience for the best price: a risk-mitigated pregnancy accompanied by the birth of a healthier child.