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What is IVF? A step-by-step look at what goes into making a baby

In Features, Pregnancy + Birth, Stories, Wellness by Nicole Fuge

For many, starting a family takes a little help (or a lot). So let’s dive deep into IVF – from prepping your bod, to waiting, and possible road blocks.

By Harper Steele

Taking the leap into the realm of IVF is like stepping into the unknown. As mamas or mama-wannabes, we’ve all whispered, giggled, or even shed a tear about baby-making stories, and IVF is one of those tales often whispered but seldom told in full detail.

Before you embark on this voyage to create miracles, let’s pull back the curtain on IVF and reveal its secrets. But first, if you’re perched on the edge of this journey, here’s what you can do to get your ducks in a row.


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Prepping for IVF: Little Touches to Help You Along the Way

Make a date with a fertility specialist. Start by having a heart-to-heart with a fertility pro. Arm yourself with a list of every single question –no matter how small or “silly” it seems.

Eat, pray, IVF. Before diving into hormones and ultrasounds, let’s get basic. Seeing a nutritionist can serve up some game-changing advice to set the stage for IVF success.

Emotional check-in. IVF can be a feels rollercoaster. A fertility counselor is like that trusty seatbelt – helping you ride those ups and downs.

Team you. Find your tribe in fertility support groups. Whether it’s a local meetup or a virtual chat, it’s always comforting to know you’re not alone.

Mind & body reboot. A little pre-IVF TLC can do wonders. Think spa day but make it fertility-friendly. Reset, relax, and recharge.

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IVF 101: The Step-by-Step Lowdown
  1. Pop those pills: Counterintuitive? Yep. But taking contraceptives before the IVF magic happens can actually be a boon. They can up the ante on the egg retrieval game and give those ovaries a health boost.
  2. Boosting those follicles: Post-pill, it’s injection time. These aren’t just any shots; they’re packed with hormones to give your follicles (where your eggs are chilling) a little pep talk to grow and shine!
  3. Egg retrieval day: Picture day for your eggs. It’s a quick procedure where your eggs are the stars of the show, getting ready for their big debut.
  4. Embryo’s big move: It’s move-in day for the embryo. This cozy transfer into its new home, your uterus, is a short and sweet process.
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Playing the Waiting Game

We get it: waiting to find out if your IVF worked is like waiting for your favorite show’s season finale. But hang tight and resist those sneaky at-home pregnancy tests – wait for your clinic’s blood test.

Your IVF journey is yours

Remember every IVF journey is as unique as a fingerprint. Whether you’re feeling butterflies or nerves, knowledge is your best buddy.

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Possible roadblocks
Poor ovarian response

You know how sometimes things don’t go as planned? Like when you’re craving a big ice cream cone and the shop runs out of your fav flavor? Well, sometimes, the ovaries pull a similar move and don’t vibe with the IVF meds as they should. If fewer follicles pop up than expected, it’s like the ice cream machine’s on the blink. This could hit pause or even reset on your IVF journey.

Suboptimal hormone levels

Imagine your hormones as that unpredictable friend who sometimes flares up or chills out unexpectedly. If they’re not in the “just right” zone for IVF, it might mean waiting a bit longer for that egg-retrieval magic. But hey, every twist and turn offers the doc more clues, making your next IVF round even more on point. Remember, one bumpy round doesn’t dictate the whole story.

Embryo screening

Thinking of giving your embryos a little extra health check? Going for that preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is like getting the VIP screening. It takes a smidge longer (around a month or so), but it’s all about making sure things are A-OK. It’s especially fab if there’s a known genetic hiccup in the fam or you want to dot those genetic ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s.

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