IVF Tips for Real Life

The boxes my IVF medications arrived in were daunting enough. One filled with ice packs, delivered by a courier straight to my midday meeting downtown. The others bulging with packing materials, instructions, 100s of syringes, alcohol wipes, vaginal suppositories and vials for mixing and shaking. Refrigerate this one, store this one in the dark. It is both amazing and concerning that professionals allowed and encouraged ill-trained, average people like me to self-administer IVF injections without supervision.

IVF injections LGBT parenting
Just a sample of some of the syringes, needles and vials from my latest prep for an FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer).

They said to follow the calendar precisely, within a 15-minute time window if possible, and to expect to take some injections, like the painful intramuscular progesterone in oil, for 13 weeks.

So how was I supposed to follow this timeline to a T when I was out for dinner, on a plane or out of town on traveling for work? Net net, I figured it out and you will too.

Here are a few tips for making IVF injections work on the go:

  1. You can do your injections solo. Whether you are prepping for an egg retrieval with multiple injections nightly in your stomach or those painful intramuscular progesterone injections in your butt, I did them all my own and you can too. Simply measure all your meds, sanitize, pick the best spot you can access on your own and go for it. Just don’t make the mistake of doing an intramuscular injection in your thigh for easy access like I did early on, you will barely be able to walk for a week.
  2. Inject roughly at the same time, but don’t stress. Some people are great at following rules. I am not one of them. I did my best to take all my meds at around the same time each day, but in my non-medical opinion, don’t subject yourself to an airplane injection unless you’ll miss your window by hours.
  3. Bring prescriptions with you. If you are flying, it’s a good idea to have a copy of your Rx with you. Although I have not been stopped by TSA to inspect my many needles and vials, but you never know.
  4. Hotel stay? Bring your unused needles in a throw away plastic container. Then, dispose of your used needles in the Tupperware with a top and throw it away when you check out of your hotel. Most public bathrooms should have sharps containers, but if you want to be safe, bring your own container or plastic bag to be safe.

Tip: If your injections don’t come with a sanctioned sharps container, a plastic laundry pod container with a top works like a charm.

  1. Navigating TSA Security? Bring multiple empty plastic bags to refill with ice. If you have injections that need to be kept cool while traveling, gel ice packs aren’t TSA friendly. The wisest choice is to fill a plastic bag with ice before you leave to the airport, dump it out before going through security, and then ask for ice from a Starbucks or fast food place once you are in the terminal.
  2. Bring extra syringes and injections. Traveling for work and going through IVF are stressful enough on their own, so don’t exacerbate things by not having an extra day’s dose of everything in case your flight gets delayed or canceled.

Whether you are prepping for a fresh or frozen transfer, the amount of hormones you will be pumping in your body are no joke. With my first pregnancy the drugs were effortless and left me feeling blissfully un-phased.

But with my second pregnancy, the high doses of estrogen and progesterone before my Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) left me reeling. I was sick, moody and all-round not my best self. Maybe it was because I was older or busy chasing a one-year-old already, or maybe my body’s chemistry just reacted differently.

It’s hard to predict what IVF hormones will do to your body, but know the poking and prodding will all be worth it if it ends with a healthy little one who will leave you reeling in a completely different and beautiful way!

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