Monday, March 21, 2016

IVF Teaching Class Summary

Prior to starting IVF, the center we are using requires all couples to take a two part IVF teaching class. While these classes used to be held weekly at the center, they just recently switched to holding them online, where everyone watches the same prerecorded videos. I wouldn't have minded going in person, but I'm glad they switched to online only. I've already re-watched parts of the class, if a question has popped into my mind. Definitely a great resource to have!



The first part of the class dealt with the informational side of IVF. It gave a good review of how the IVF process works, in a step by step manner. It explained the different types of medications and their functions, as well as the two most common medication protocols used. It also went into specific details of how things are done at the center, such as monitoring appointments and what to expect each day of the IVF cycle.

There were a lot of statistics given, such as success rates for the different age groups, the average number of embryos transferred, number of multiple pregnancies, etc. Our center has a very low multiples rate, which makes me happy! I'd be okay with twins, but I would certainly prefer a singleton. The risks of carrying multiples was extensively covered in the class, and I would like to avoid the extra risks associated with multiples, if possible.

They also outlined some of the extra things offered, such as PGD testing, ICSI, assisted hatching, and elective single embryo transfer. The process of embryo development was explained and there were some nice photos of teach stage. They also discussed progesterone supplements after egg retrieval. I've heard a lot of differing opinions on what type of progesterone is best after IVF. There are injectable PIO, suppositories, gel applicators, and oral pills. The PIO injections are intramuscular, meaning they need to go directly into the muscle with a pretty long needle. The subcutaneous injections really don't scare me, but the thought of intramuscular makes me cringe! To my dismay, the center believes injectable progesterone is superior to the other forms and strongly encourages using it. Even though I'd much rather use suppositories or the gel applicators (Crinone), if it helps our chances at all, I'll deal with the daily shots! Even if it is for weeks... eek!!

I really love looking over the statistics from our center. For my age group, which is under 35, they had a pregnancy rate of 62% per transfer. I think that's pretty good! They also have a very low cycle cancellation rate. I think it's important to be positive about our chances. IVF isn't a guarantee, but it certainly is the best chance we will have had so far! For elective single embryo transfers (which I am hoping to have!) the pregnancy rate is 64.4%. Again.. that is a great number. When we last spoke, my RE said that my age and AMH level were good indicators that I have a great shot at getting all the eggs we will ever need for our family. I hope he's right!

The second part of the class is given by the psychologist, and deals with the emotional side of  IVF. It's no secret that IVF can be a high stress process. There can be a lot of fear, uncertainty, financial strain, and exhaustion. She discussed the common emotional reactions and feelings, as well as coping techniques. She covered fear of injections. She said there are three groups of people: those who are terrified of injections, those that don't like them but will do it if they have to, and those who are not bothered by them at all. I fall into the middle category... I'm not terrified of shots, but I'd rather not do them! Thankfully... she said that if you are in that category, the IVF process will make you completely get over your fear. She also gave suggestions about talking to others about IVF or infertility, as well as the decision to not share it with anyone.

Overall the class was very informative and extremely helpful in preparing for IVF. I can see why they require all patients to take the class prior to the appointment, because it's much easier to have a productive conversation with the doctor if you fully understand all that goes into IVF. It's also great to watch with your spouse. I tend to read and research much more than my husband, so the class was a great way to make sure he was understanding everything fully. Along with my own research plus the center's class, I feel very ready to head into our IVF appointment with our RE!

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