Amongst the most common fears patients have about IVF is the amount of time required to complete the process. As most people undergoing fertility treatment need to continue their regular lives including work, family and other normal responsibilities, the idea of spending hours upon hours in the doctor’s office can be a scary proposition. This blog post will break down the time commitment required for an IVF cycle as well as provide some tips on how to keep that commitment to a minimum.
IVF (in vitro fertilization) is a serious endeavor which if conducted properly, provides the best chance for many patients to have a child. From a patients point of view there are 4 phases of visits which take time.
Phase I- initial consultation and pre cycle testing
The initial consultation is the first time a patient meets the doctor and the clinic. At this visit, the patient and doctor usually discus medical and fertility history as well as potential treatment options. In addition, this visit usually involves a physical exam and ultrasound. Lastly, there is usually time set aside to speak with the financial coordinator to find out about costs. On average, this visit takes between 1 and a half to 3 hours, depending on how complicated your history and treatment plan may be.
Tip- to shorten this visit, come prepared with chronologically organized records for the doctor and questions about treatments. Further, if you are really proactive, you can ask about pricing before coming in for the visit.
Phase II- stimulation monitoring
Depending on the type of stimulation, there are usually 3 to 6 visits between the start of stimulation and egg retrieval. These visits usually involve an ultrasound and blood work and last 15 to 30 min. Some clinics will schedule these visits during a time that is convenient for you, others have all patients show up in the morning and see them on a first come- first serve basis.
Tip- If you need specific appointments you should find a clinic that provides specific appointment times. Also, being well hydrated before your appointment makes it easier and faster to draw your blood.
Phase III – Egg retrieval
The egg retrieval is a very important appointment which occurs roughly 12 days after starting medication. The timing of this appointment is critical and needs to happen 35 to 36 hours after the trigger shot. While the retrieval itself usually takes about 15 min, by the time a patient checks-in, gets an IV, has anesthesia, and then recovers, it is usually 3 hours. Most patients take this day off of work.
Tip- take the day off of work : )
Phase IV- Embryo transfer
This visit is the culmination of the entire process. The actual embryo transfer takes about 5 min, but the preparation and rest after the transfer usually adds up to about 90 min. Following the transfer most doctors prefer that you rest for at least a day.
Tip- Make sure that your bladder is full as you come to the transfer, this makes the transfer easier for the doctor and thus faster for you!
If you have any questions about IVF or fertility treatments in general, feel free to contact us, we are happy to speak with you.