Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Dos and Donts during the IVF 2 ww

For most IVF patients, the worst part of the IVF treatment is the dreaded 2 week wait. While there's a lot of action ( injections, scans) and handholding ( frequent visits to the clinic for monitoring) by the medical staff during the superovulation, egg collection and embryo transfer portion of IVF , after the embryos have been transferred, patients often feel they are left in limbo for 2 weeks. The IVF clinic pretty much leaves them on their own ; and except for the advise that they have to take meds for luteal phase support, there's not much support they
offer . Each hour takes a day to pass - and the mind plays all kinds of games during this wait.

Even worse, patients are often very confused as to what they are allowed to do; and what they are not, during this period.

For example, if they get a cough, is it safe to take antibiotics for this ? Can they ask their family physician to prescribe this ? Or do they need to talk to their IVF doctor ? Can they take symptomatic relief for their constipation ? Which meds are safe for headaches ? fever ?


Patients often feel abandoned during this time. The family physician is very reluctant to prescribe tests or treatment during this time, because they do not understand much about the IVF treatment, and don't want to do anything to reduce the patient's chances of success. Their usual advise is - please ask your IVF doctor . Most IVF doctors aren't very interested in treating coughs and colds. Their advise is - we've done everything we can - please ask your family physician ! Patients feel lost - and don't know whom to turn to.

Most patients are understandably very reluctant to take any meds at all during their 2 week wait. Since their embryos have been transferred into their uterus, they are petrified that any medicine they take will have an adverse effect of their embryos. After all, aren't there lots of medicines which are unsafe during pregnancy, because they can harm the fetus ? Won't these meds also harm the their embryo ?

Actually , the truth is that they do not need to worry at all. All the prohibitions against medicines during pregnancy only apply after the pregnancy test ( HSG) is positive . Till then, there really are no special dos and don'ts at all. This maybe counter - intuitive, but the reason is simple. Until the embryo has implanted and established a significant blood supply from the mother, no medicines you take are able to have a harmful effect on the embryos.

This is why when fertile couples have sex in their bedroom, no special precautions ( regrading antibiotics or medications or X-rays) apply to them, until they miss a period ! It's exactly the same after the embryo transfer. The proscriptions against certain prescriptions apply only after HCG is positive !
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