For many people, it may be difficult to make the decision to see a fertility specialist after being unable to conceive. Finding out that you or your partner may be having fertility issues can be stressful which can make one feel anxious. This nervousness with regards to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment is usually caused by a lack of familiarity with the process. But asking the right questions can help alleviate your fears and make your IVF journey a lot easy.
To assist you in overcoming these fears and to help you be better prepared for your first IVF consultation, we reached out to Dr. Kshitiz Murdia, CEO and Co-Founder of Indira IVF, and asked him to share some vital questions one must ask their doctor before starting the treatment. Read on to know what he said.
1. What is the success rate of the facility in terms of live births and pregnancy rates?
It is important to understand that all IVF cycles will not lead to a successful pregnancy. Despite this, one should still check with the IVF specialist about the chances of success based on the individual circumstances. The doctor should be able to provide a general sense of whether the treatment is likely to work based on your disease history, fertility rate, blood tests, weight and overall health.
2. Which tests are performed before starting the IVF treatment?
The tests will be performed in order to check what medications one would have to be prescribed, especially in the case of any deficiency or health issues. Hence, these tests will be undertaken to evaluate your heath. Check blood group, blood sugar level, presence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), liver health, etc.
For women, the doctor will make sure that their body is healthy enough to carry a pregnancy to full term. There may be a series of tests to rule out PCOS, ovulation status and ovarian reserve. Men might also undergo a series and semen analysis before starting the IVF treatment.
3. Which is better: fresh embryos or frozen embryos?
Both procedures can result in a clinical pregnancy depending on the case. There is no one-size-fits-all solution that will work for everyone. It’s not a question of whether fresh or frozen embryos are preferable. It’s a matter of determining the most viable option for you.
4. Is there anything that can be done to increase the chances of having a successful IVF cycle?
While your doctor is more qualified to make more specific recommendations based on your personal medical history, there are a few things you may do to increase your chances. First and foremost, you should incorporate low intensity exercise and eat well to maintain a healthy weight and BMI for your age and height. Keep your stress levels low because high cortisol (stress hormone) levels can make it difficult to conceive. It is advised to strictly keep off smoking and alcohol.
5. Are there any possible side-effects or issues that one should be aware of?
For women, IVF treatment can be physically taxing. Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a possibility, especially in women with PCOS. Some women may also experience minor side-effects such as fluid discharge, mild cramps, bloating and constipation due to regular hormonal injections. If you experience any unusual symptoms such as fever, severe abdominal discomfort, headache, swelling, or redness in your legs, you should contact your doctor immediately.
6. What happens if the treatment doesn’t work?
Advanced technology has resulted in more couples conceiving in the first cycle itself. However, you should be aware that the success rate of IVF is not 100%, and there is a possibility that the first cycle of IVF may not result in a pregnancy. You may be able to attempt again at a later period, depending on the cause of the treatment’s failure. A frozen embryo transfer is an option if you have additional frozen embryos (FET) from the previous cycle. If you don’t have any frozen embryos from your IVF treatment, the treatment cycle will have to be repeated.
7. How much does an IVF treatment cost?
In India, the cost of IVF is low compared to most other countries, but it is still financially inaccessible to many. Check with your doctor about the specifics of what is included in each treatment cycle as well as any additional costs on medicines and surgeries. Many IVF clinics now have installment options and other schemes to ease the financial burden. So, it is important to find clinics that can provide good treatment at affordable costs.
By Pooja MAHESHWARY