IVF Diary Week 2 & Answering More IVF/Surrogacy Questions
If you’re new to our IVF journey – start here.
Did you do your IVF privately?
Our CCG (and infact most in England) won’t cover IVF for surrogacy on the NHS so private was our only option. Our clinic has said they’ve seen a massive increase in couples doing private fertility treatment due to the covid backlog on the NHS.
How did you choose your IVF clinic?
We were recommended our London clinic, The Evewell, by our US fertility clinic. We chose the San Diego Fertility Centre in California after a number of recommendations and really liked our doctor there (multiple zoom meetings this summer!). Our original plan had been to do our entire IVF cycle in San Diego and keep our frozen embryos there, however due to Covid travel restrictions that obviously couldn’t happen. By creating our embryos in the UK, we’ll then have to courier them to the US for when we find a surrogate.
Another thing we looked at were the opening hours and location. I wanted somewhere that I could go before/after work for scans and blood tests as needed.
How much did your IVF cost?
I shared how much we’d spent so far in this blog… but we added to our costs this week!
IVF & ICSI – £5050
HFEA fee – £80
Embryo Freezing & 1 year storage – £800
More medication- £626
PGS biopsy fee – £950
How long do you have to do injections for?
I started injections on 2nd February and will be finished on 19th Feb, so will do 17 days of injecting in total (some days there’s one injection, others there are two)
How often did you have to go in for scans?
I had to go every other day for scans, from the blood test on the Monday to confirm that we would be starting treatment, I went in 6 times for scans or blood tests to confirm everything was going as they hoped, hormones levels were correct, follicles were growing and that the medication doses were correct.
How do they retrieve the eggs?
They use a transvaginal ultrasound aspiration under general anaesthetic to retrieve the eggs. Some women who have MRKH do have to have egg retrieval laprascopically if the ovaries are inaccessible.
How will you find a surrogate?
We’ve signed up to an agency in the US (I’ll share more about how we chose the agency in a future post). We have been warned that time frames are really extended due to Covid and whilst usually they hope to match Intended Parents with a surrogate within 6-9 months, this is likely to be much longer.
Have the hormones affected your mood?
Honestly, not too much. However, I do think it has been really helpful having two weeks off work during the main portion of our IVF treatment and egg retrieval.
How do you know where to inject?
Prior to starting injections, one of the nurses at the clinic talked me through how to inject with the Pergoveris pen. When it came to the Fyremadel, Dr Dimitri talked me through the injection. I wish I’d watched a Youtube video or something before doing my trigger shot because I freaked out that I did it wrong immediately after injecting.
Week 2 IVF Diary
First day off work and our second STIMS scan and we’ve got 30 follicles which is great! Looks like things are progressing really well. No major symptoms.
Woke up with a headache and feeling a bit ropey, but after some paracetamol and a very easy 2.5 mile run/walk through Henley, I felt much better! Evening low impact, bodyweight workout.
Another STIMS scan, and confirmation that we’ll be doing our egg retrieval on Monday. I’ve been taking Pergoveris and Fyremadel everyday for 6 days and our doctor wants me to continue with the Pergoveris. More money spent on medication!
I had my FDA tests done – blood and urine – to make sure our embryos can be transferred to the USA (and hopefully eventually implanted in a future surrogate).
1.3 miles run/walk, 25 minute walk with Chester.
Final STIMS scan! And we have 31 follicles…
We got a call at 4pm saying that we needed to have another blood test prior to egg retrieval on Monday. I’d already driven 3 hours roundtrip for my scan and I really didn’t want to spend another 3 hours in the car. Other than feeling really tired, symptoms aren’t too bad!
6am – hopped in the car to drive into London and have our HIV, Hep B and Hep C blood test. These tests are a requirement for all IVF treatment to prevent passing these diseases on to any future offspring. Due to the quick turnaround, we had to pay for these tests through the clinic, however even with a private IVF cycle, you should be able to get these tests for free on the NHS (either through your GP or at your local STD clinic). Every little cost saving helps, right?
9.30am – 30 min very easy Peloton ride
10.45pm – trigger shot! This needs to be done 36 hours before egg collection. I had to draw up 1ml Buserelin with a syringe, then swap the needles and inject. I worried that I hadn’t drawn up quite 1ml, and that I’d injected in the wrong place. And I was so nervous that I’d mess up the whole thing by doing it wrong. Luckily it looks like it was all fine…
Day off from injections, just took 2mg Dexamethasone.
I felt a little more bloated/uncomfortable than in previous days but still able to go on a 45 min dog walk to get some exercise and fresh air.
From midnight I had to be nil by mouth, and was only allowed sips of water.
Monday – EGG COLLECTION
I took some melatonin and slept better than expected. After a quick shower, we dropped Chester off at doggy daycare and drove into London. My egg collection was scheduled for 10.45am, meaning we had to get to the clinic for 10.15am.
I was advised to take a Voltarol suppository 1-2 hours prior to egg collection. I took it when I got to the clinic, immediately felt uncomfortable and then had to go to the loo pretty soon afterwards. Obviously that didn’t work!
I was taken in to the quiet area where patients prep and recover after egg collection. Unfortunately the lady in the room next to mine was having a pretty rough time which made me very nervous about my own retrieval. I had never been under general anaesthetic before so had no idea how I would react.
Our doctor (who had been with us from our initial consultation) the anaesthetist and embryologist, came to chat through the procedure, answered any questions I had. Then I walked into the theatre.
My facemask was replaced with an oxygen mask, an IV hooked up to the back of my hand, and before I could tell them how many calories per ml of Propofol (the last thing I remember thinking about!), I was out!
An hour later I was coming round in the side room, feeling pretty woozy but not too bad. I was brought a cup of tea and a biscuit which I demolished (the previous girl had been complaining of nausea and throwing up so I was really worried I’d feel that way too – nope, I was starving having not eaten for 12 hours!).
Dr Dimitri came in to check on me, as did the nurse a couple of times, and to let me know ‘we broke the bank’ – 36 eggs collected!
I’ve only heard about other people’s egg retrievals from instagram but I knew that sounded like a lot of eggs!
I text Tom to let him know I was done…. he let me know he’d nearly fainted while having his FDA bloods but was ‘fine’. Working in a hospital has made me a lot more relaxed around blood, needles etc which is just as well going through this process!
Post-procedure I haven’t felt too awful. I’ve been very lucky with just a little bleeding, some heavy bloating and some tenderness. It hurt a lot when I peed after the collection, ( I likened the discomfort to having done a super tough ab workout, mixed with cystitis and that post food poisoning ache).
Happy to answer any other IVF and surrogacy questions…