To celebrate National Infertility Awareness Week, April 23-29, 2023, I’m sharing what I wish I knew before starting IVF (in-vitro fertilization). “Celebrate” might be the wrong word. I can count on one hand the number of things my husband and I have genuinely celebrated since last March when we first met with our fertility clinic. However, I realized recently that simply coming out of every appointment, procedure and follow-up call alive is a cause for celebration. This process is physically, emotionally and mentally exhausting. But I’m doing it, one day at a time. If you are in it too, or are about to be in it, or are considering it, I’d like to share some things I’ve learned doing IVF.
Another reason I’m sharing my experience is that everyone’s process is different. When I started fertility stuff, I Googled “what to know before IVF” and found hundreds of different warnings, tips and tools. Some have been spot on for me, others were way off. So, if even one part of my unique experience makes you feel less alone during this process, mission accomplished. If none of them ring true, that’s OK.
Finally, here’s where I’m coming from: I’m a 36-year-old cis white woman who started trying when I was 34. My husband is the same age. We’ve done three intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedures, three rounds of IVF with embryo banking and one unsuccessful transfer. We have five embryos left in the bank, four of which look good. We’ve been diagnosed with “unexplained infertility,” which means the clinic cannot point to any factor, male or female, preventing me from getting pregnant.
I’m writing down what I’ve learned to remind myself and hopefully to encourage others going through it.