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In Vitro Fertilization: What to Expect

Jessica Evert, MD, edited by Benjamin McDonald, MD Updated: Jun 28th 2016

The process of in vitro fertilization spans a two-month period, not including the months of preparation that lead up to the actual procedure. The following information will help prepare you for the procedures that you can expect to occur.

doctor and male patientWhile not terrible by any means, IVF is an intense process for all, and particularly so for recipient women. It involves hormonal manipulation, which can be associated with mood swings. It may raise painful emotions associated with the diagnosis of infertility. It is not surprising then, if you experience or re-experience a roller coaster ride of hopefulness, guilt, frustration, etc, as the procedure progresses. It is important to seek support throughout the course of the procedure. Family, friends, and mental and medical health care providers can help you to maintain emotional stamina, and continue to function successfully in the other avenues of your life. Remember that each person's situation is unique and the information presented here should be used as a general guide. Individual situations may require different care plans.

Meeting the health care team:

IVF starts with a series of appointments to meet the individuals involved in the IVF process. The team will usually include a doctor, nurse, and other medical personnel. During this time, you will be presented with educational information in the form of videos, reading material, and discussions. There are often many choices of clinics that offer fertility assistance, so it is important for you to trust and feel comfortable with your team of health-care providers. Since there are no stupid questions, you should feel free to address all concerns that arise, even if they are somewhat personal.

In the event that an egg or sperm donor will be used as part of the IVF, this preparation period will also include finding an appropriate donor that matches the desired profile. Donors can be relatives, friends, or anonymous individuals. Typically, you do not have to locate donors yourself, as there are often agencies in large cities that facilitate the process. It is important that donors are screened for medical problems, family history, emotional/psychological stability, and the like.


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