When to consider seeing a fertility specialist
As women get older, fewer healthy eggs are produced each year – and the likelihood of conceiving declines. Age is the major cause of fertility problems in women, as many couples delay having children.
So, if you are aged over 35 and have not fallen pregnant within six months of trying, we recommend seeking medical advice. If you are under 35, you can wait up to 12 months before seeking specialist help.
(Next slide: What a fertility specialist does)
What a fertility specialist does
A fertility coach works with couples, helping them cope with various stages of the procedure and outcomes.
For instance, as Virtus Fertility Centre’s dedicated fertility coach and counsellor, Tanja works closely with individuals and couples to help them successfully manage the fertility roller coaster; stay mentally and emotionally calm while undergoing fertility treatment and addresses their anxieties along their journey.
A fertility specialist also anticipates early pregnancy challenges and helps couples prepare for birth, while also, in some cases, helping them cope with grief and loss related to a miscarriage or stillbirth.
(Next slide: What to expect post post an embryo transfer)
What to expect post an embryo transfer
For an IVF patient, that awareness begins the moment after the embryo is transferred. In practical terms, this can mean that you may be dealing with a higher level of anxiety and a greater sensitivity to early pregnancy symptoms than many women experience at this stage.
1) The fertility medications taken during the ovarian stimulation phase of IVF can mimic the symptoms of early pregnancy – many pre-menstrual symptoms can do the same – making the dreaded “two week wait” between transfer and your official pregnancy test a particularly difficult time.
2) You may be feeling tired, bloated, nauseated, and moody without any assurance that you are actually pregnant. You may miss your period, or you may have one last light period or spotting. Some amount of cramping and light bleeding can occur when the embryo implants in the uterus. Changes in the breasts (such as heaviness and soreness) are a common experience in many early pregnancies, but no one symptom can give you an answer.
3) Home pregnancy tests taken during this stage are highly unreliable, as your body may still have elevated levels of hormones as a result of fertility medications. The only way to confirm your pregnancy 100% is to wait for the official test at the clinic.
During this part of your pregnancy, you will remain under the care of your fertility clinic. The main difference at this time is that you will be monitored more intensively than a patient who conceived naturally. You may have appointments and ultrasounds every one to two weeks. You may notice typical pregnancy symptoms such as morning sickness, cravings, and increased urination.
At around 10 weeks, if all is well, you will be released into the care of a “regular” obstetrician. From that day forward, your IVF pregnancy at this point is indistinguishable from a “regular” pregnancy.
(Next slide: What to know about outcomes)
What to know about outcomes
Every couple’s situation is unique, and at your initial consultation your fertility specialist will give you an indication of your likelihood of conceiving. However, assisted conception nowadays provides the highest possible chance of starting a family, as the success of assisted reproductive technology has overtaken natural conception.
When it comes to IVF, there is no agreed standard for reporting “success”. At Virtus Fertility Centre, we most often measure IVF success rates as clinical pregnancies (a pregnancy confirmed by a blood test and ultrasound scan, usually at around 6-8 weeks) per embryo transfer. (This is against the usual practice of of calculating per completed IVF treatment cycle – a complete IVF collection and treatment cycle can involve multiple transfers of embryos collected from the one egg collection).
Sadly, not every pregnancy will carry to a live birth, so we also measure live births per embryo transfer. We report our success rates per embryo transfer as we want to give you the most realistic understanding of your chance of success following each individual embryo transfer.
However, it is important to understand that not every treatment cycle will result in an embryo transfer. For some women, no eggs will be collected and, sometimes after eggs have been collected, there may be no transfer because embryos have not developed.
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