• video

IVF treatment – the patient’s inside story: what can I do to help my chances? #IVFWEBINARS

IVF treatment is definitely a stressful time. It can be intense. With every IVF cycle, you invest a lot of your precious time, money and psychological capital. That is why it is beneficial for you to be prepared as much as you can to help your chances to get pregnant and have a healthy baby.

And to help you do that our expert in this webinar is Jennifer “Jay” Palumbo, a freelance writer, infertility and women’s rights advocate. Jennifer gives her perspective to the above topic from the point of view of a patient who had struggled with infertility for years and was finally successful. Watch to know what she did differently during her last IVF cycle and will be happy to share her views on that.

We are here to take you by the hand and help you ease the stress, be prepared physically and mentally and give you tips and hints so your IVF treatment goes as smoothly as possible. It is important for you to know what to expect, what questions to ask and how to speak with your doctor. If you haven’t considered IVF yet, but you are struggling to get pregnant naturally or you have had multiple miscarriages after natural conception, this webinar is also for you – find out whether you should visit a fertility specialist and how to approach it.

 

women infertility

 

Remember that every infertility case is different and some women may need several IVF attempts to get pregnant and some need only one. Infertility can be unpredictable but it is extremely important to be prepared both mentally and physically. This webinar aims to allow Jennifer to share her story with you, give you emotional support, give you a better understanding about what’s ahead of you and empower you to take steps that are right for you and your partner not for the clinic.

Sharing is Caring!

We know how strong the TTC community is – we are truly stronger if we share views, opinion, advice, and support one another along the way. Remember: you are not alone. Wishing you all lots of Baby Dust! Share this webinar with a Friend who might want to watch it.

 

IVF treatment – the patient’s inside story – Questions & Answers

Question:

Did you try different clinics for IVF?

Answer:

Yes! Every single IVF cycle I performed was at a different clinic. Every time it didn’t work, I was like boom – you’re gone. I’m a big believer in second opinions, so that’s what I kept doing – getting second opinions. When the first IVF cycle didn’t work, I went to a different clinic, I had ten eggs retrieved, but only one embryo – but during the previous attempt I had two embryos. I asked the second doctor “what do you think happened? Should we do something different?” and he said “It’s just bad luck, we should do the same thing again”. It seemed like the wrong answer to me, so I went to a third clinic, where I was recommended Menopur and estrogen priming and all these different things – and, complete transparency here, I’m not sure if it helped, because I ended up with one embryo again; however, trying all these different approaches really made me feel better, because I was actively trying to help my chances rather than trying the same thing over and over again.

Question:

How did you find information about different clinics, about their results and how they take care of patients?

Answer:

When I was doing my clinical trials, I was contacted by a site called Fertility Authority which asked me to start blogging for them – eventually hiring me. I sort of became the international call center for patients; I talked to a lot of them. However, I also ended up working with clinics all across the US, which put me in contact with doctors and clinics. That eventually turned into matching patients with clinics, because I would often be asked “which clinic would you recommend for me in California?” or New York, or Texas, so I would just call around different clinics and I learned what each one of them offers, which clinics are LGBTQ friendly, which ones will accept patients over the age of 42 et cetera.

Question:

I’m heading out to Alicante next Friday for my first Donor Egg Transfer. I liked your suggestion about having fertility free time, but how do you do this? It’s so hard to switch off! Also – what tips do you have to help you through the dreaded two week wait?

Answer:

Fertility free time is hard, but even if it’s one night a week, or even one meal where we just don’t talk about fertility, it’s a tremendous help. If you have to, get a swear jar, and any time anyone mentions anything about fertility during the free time, put a dollar in the swear jar; or, buy a bell and hit it every time someone breaks the free time rule. It takes a bit of preparation, but it’s worth it in the end.

As for the two week wait, find a TV show to binge on. I highly recommend RuPaul’s Drag Race – ain’t nobody trying to get pregnant on that show. It’s fabulous, it’s fun, and it takes your mind off of things. I also made a survival kit for myself, like you saw in the presentation. My kit had chocolates, a princess crown that you can wear if you’re feeling down, and a water gun for shooting people during hormonal rages. For me, the first week was okay – it was the second week that was tough. My general advice would be – whatever makes you happy, be it a TV show, a movie, going for walks, anything – if it keeps you happy, just do it. It’s all good.

If you’re interested in learning more techniques for coping with the two week wait, we recently held a webinar wit Andreia Trigo, a nurse specialist and coach, who shared her best tips for staying positive! 

Question:

When using a donor egg (21 years old) and donor sperm (29 years old), do you recommend doing PGT-A?

Answer:

This is more of a question for your doctor, but given that donors undergo genetic background testing before they donate their eggs, I don’t think it’s strictly necessary. In general, from what I know, PGT-A is recommended in cases of recurring pregnancy loss, or if you’re older. Again, it’s more of a question for your doctor.

Question:

What research should I do if my pregnancy stops at 6 to 7 weeks (with the heart not beating).

Answer:

A miscarriage in the first trimester – especially around six to eleven weeks – is very common. What you should do depends on whether it’s your first miscarriage or if it’s a recurring problem. If this is something that’s happened more than once, it could indicate a chromosomal issue, an autoimmune issue, or an endocrinal issue. In that case you should consult a reproductive endocrinologist, who can test your hormones or perform a test called HSG which will tell you if there’s any abnormalities with your uterus or fallopian tubes that may be causing a problem. Ultimately, if it’s the first time this happened to you, it might not happen again. If it’s not, however, definitely, DEFINITELY see a reproductive endocrinologist and ask for additional testing.

Question:

How do you successfully convince your insurance company to pay for IVF? It seems like a majority of insurance companies only cover medical prescriptions. I’m in Canada.

Answer:

It depends on where you’re located. If your insurance comes from your employer, definitely go talk to HR about it. If you’re in the US, go to Resolve, the National Infertility Association – they have a PDF study which explains to employers how offering IVF coverage in their insurance plans actually saves their companies money. However, if your company does not offer fertility benefits and your insurance is independent, you can file an appeal, ask for an explanation of benefits – and make sure you read the fine print! – and you can ask your doctor to write a letter explaining why it’s medically necessary for you to have IVF.

To go back to your question, however, Canada is kind of weird in terms of fertility benefits. Like in the US, it depends on whether your insurance comes from your employer or if it’s independent and the process is similar, but it has some additional requirements; you need to prove that you had IUI done, you have to be a certain age, you need to never have done IVF before.

Question:

Which clinic is good in Spain?

Answer:

Wait! Egg Donation Friends recently had an article about this topic! (link) Also, there’s this famous clinic in Spain that everyone talks about – which was mentioned in that article. Spain in general is considered to be one of the top destinations in the world for reproductive technology and there are a lot of great options there.

Question:

Do you have any opinion on test results on mosaic embryos?

Answer:

Such a good question. Mosaic embryos is a really hot topic right now. For those of you not in the know, I’m going to quickly give you a basic overview of what mosaic embryos are. When PGS testing emerged (these days it’s called PGT-A, but a lot of people still call it PGS), it was like hey – there’s good embryos and bad embryos. But as the technology moved on and got more and more refined, a new kind of embryo was found, which is technically both good and bad. That’s what’s called a mosaic embryo. There’s been so much debate in the reproductive community about whether or not these embryos should be transferred. While there have been some success stories (and about as many failure stories), we don’t know enough about mosaic embryos yet to form a good opinion. What one doctor said to me, however, and I think it’s a very good point, is that there always have been mosaic embryos – we only learned about their existence recently.

Honestly, the decision whether to transfer a mosaic embryo should be made by both the patient and the doctor. Personally, when I only had one embryo during my IVF and if my doctor asked me if I wanted to transfer a mosaic embryo, I would have said yes. Obviously, it varies from case to case, but you should discuss the option with your doctor – if all you have are mosaic embryos and you feel comfortable using them, then use them.

Question:

Do you know about any women around the age of 50 who have succeeded in having children through IVF, with donor eggs and with the help of hormones?

Answer:

Yes. There are clinics that I had worked with, whose cutoff age was around 52 to 54 who have delivered successful pregnancies. As long as your uterus is still working, it’s fine. It’s always the age of eggs that is the concern.

Question:

I’ve been reading about acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine – apparently, both of them help with implantation rates, especially with donor egg transplants. However, I don’t see it listed at many clinics. Any info?

Answer:

It depends on your location. I know of a couple clinics in California and CCRM in Colorado, where they ask you to stay after the embryo transfer so that someone can come in and do acupuncture on you. CNY and Generation Next Fertility, both in New York, also offer these types of treatments. There definitely are some clinics that incorporate that east-meets-west approach into their programs, but you have to look for them. As for evidence whether or not acupuncture helps, there are conflicting reports and studies. For me, personally – I did acupuncture along my fertility treatments – I don’t know whether it helped, but it made me feel so relaxed, and let’s face it – who doesn’t want that?

Question:

What’s your advice for cryo protocol? For example, should I use progesterone before the transfer?

Answer:

It really does depend on your diagnosis and what they’re treating for. If they’re doing it before the retrieval, they’re trying to get all the follicles growing at the same rate to give you as many eggs as possible during retrieval. If it’s before transfer, it’s to help the embryo implant, it ensures it has the best uterine lining possible; that’s common protocol.

Question:

If you have a myoma in the top part of the uterus, where the baby usually attaches, can you still get pregnant? Have you heard of women who have become pregnant with myomas or endometriosis? I have just had a laparoscopy and a myectomy to remove a fibroid.

Answer:

If you have a fibroid, or anything in there, your uterus can something think it’s more pregnant than it actually is. You want to make sure there’s nothing in there affecting its integrity. If they did a laparoscopy and cleared everything out, there should be nothing preventing you from getting pregnant. I recommend you get in touch with my friend who specializes in endometriosis treatments, her name is Casey Berna – just google her. She can give you more specific advice than I can.  

#IVFWebinars are brought to you with the help of our Partners:
Eizellspende.de
Donor Conception Network UK

About the Author

Jennifer Palumbo

Jennifer Palumbo

Jennifer “Jay” Palumbo is a freelance writer, infertility and women’s rights advocate, former stand-up comic, author of the blog, “The 2 Week Wait,” and proud IVF Mom. Her articles have been featured on Time magazine, Huffington Post, and ScaryMommy, and she has been interviewed on news outlets such as CNN, NPR, and BBC, where she has demonstrated her ability to make even reproductive issues fun and educational. You can follow her "infertility humor" on Twitter at @the2weekwait or Instagram at @jennjaypal. LinkedIN >>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *