What happens when IVF doesn’t work?

As I covered in my last post, our first go at IVF was unsuccessful. Sad, but not completely unexpected due to overactive hormones after my egg retrieval. So what’s the next step?

If you remember from my previous posts, IVF went a little something like this: birth control to calm things down, stimulating my ovaries with hormones to get them to produce a lot of eggs, retrieving and fertilizing those eggs, then transferring an embryo 5 days after fertilization and freezing all the remaining embryos for future use. If we hadn’t had any embryos to freeze, we’d be starting a new IVF cycle right from the beginning. And I’d be pulling my hair out because that was not the most fun experience I’ve ever had.

Fortunately for us our DNA really like each other, so we had 11 excellent quality embryos to freeze. 11!

That means we get to move forward with the –relatively– simple process of a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET). Some fertility clinics do what’s called a natural FET cycle, where the woman is monitored for ovulation and then the embryo is transferred at the correct time after ovulation. For example, if during IVF the embryo is frozen 3 days after fertilization, then during an FET cycle the embryo is transferred 3 days after ovulation. If during IVF the embryo is frozen 5 days after fertilization, then during an FET cycle the embryo is transferred 5 days after ovulation. Got it? Good!

In my case, because I don’t ovulate or have a natural cycle, my body has to be manipulated with hormones to simulate what it would do during a normal cycle. Luckily, this still involves fewer hormones and needle sticks and monitoring appointments than stimming for IVF did! Honestly, I also think SGF prefers to do medicated FETs across the board because it’s easier to control/predict and get the timing down just right. You see, you want your body to be in sync with the little embryo(s) that’ll be getting transferred, that way everyone has a better chance at a happy ending!

Now that you have a bit of an idea of what the next step is, I’ll be taking the next couple weeks to share my FET protocol and experiences with you guys! I hope you’ll stick around to read about it!


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