Answer from: Raúl Olivares, MD
The first step, of course, is being sure that IVF is indicated for you. And that you are in this group of patients in which IVF is the best answer for your problem. Either because you have a problem with a tube, or there is a severe male factor, or you are in concern about your egg quality, or you have endometriosis.
The second step is being sure it is worth undergoing an IVF. That is why there is an initial setup of tests that usually are recommended to confirm that if you start this procedure, you are going to have at least good chances of ending up with a baby. One of the main things that I usually tell my patients is that we are not focused on having eggs or embryos. What we focus on is for you to have a baby. Whenever we start an IVF, we need to be sure that it is the right indication and that the chances of succeeding are high.
The final decision, though, is going to be up to the patients. They are going to decide if they accept the chances we are offering them, but in my opinion, IVF makes sense as long as it significantly increases the chances of success compared to those you may have in a natural cycle.
First, making the diagnosis, be sure that you have the proper indication. Second, be sure that IVF is going to increase your chances of success significantly compared to a natural pregnancy. Third, that depends on the protocol you use. In some protocols, you may need some preparations in some protocols, you start on the first day of your period.
Answer from: Elias Tsakos, MD, FRCOG
Firstly, you have to choose the best IVF unit for you. There’s a lot of good IVF units all over the world. Some of them are around the corner from where you live, some of them are abroad, some others are very far away. However, you have to identify, which is the best unit for you depending on your particular case, your circumstances, and of course, your wishes for treatment approaches and techniques.
Once you decide which is your chosen IVF unit, based on the investigations you have done, on testimonials you may have heard. And of course, based on the initial assessment that most of the IVF units are offering online, including our Embryoclinic, you should be able to start your journey. Generally, IVF is divided into two parts.
The first one is the pre-IVF stage, during which all the assessments are taking place, all the diagnostic tests, all the consultations, the counselling. You have to decide together with your specialist and your team to proceed with a specific IVF treatment and protocols. The pre-IVF stage is very important, in my opinion, this has to be condensed into a few weeks only. It doesn’t have to be very long because if it is long, then, of course, the impact and the possible consequences can be adverse. I would wish to have all the pre-IVF testings concluded within 3 to 5 weeks to decide how to go further. Once this is done, the protocols are designed and explained, then delivered to the patient, and then the IVF to process itself starts.
The IVF process usually lasts for about 2 weeks. There are some shorter programs or a little longer, but roughly this is 2 weeks of your life. During this time, it is very important to collaborate with the clinic. Also, optimize the stimulation and the egg collection if we’re talking about IVF with your own eggs and the endometrium preparation to ensure you have made your very best for a successful outcome from your side.
What are the first steps patients who have indications for IVF should take? Diagnostic tests, visits, scans?
There are many aspects to consider and take into account before starting your IVF journey. You probably wonder: How long does it take to find a suitable fertility clinic? What do they do at your first appointment? What tests should be performed for IVF? What questions should I ask my fertility specialist? Below you can find out a bit more on those first steps from our fertility experts.