Friday, February 26, 2010

Congrats ! Your beta HCG is positive !

These are the words every patient wants to hear after the 2 week wait - the magic words which make the stress and the suspense of the IVF cycle all worthwhile. These are the words every doctor would like to tell every patient after each IVF cycle , so they can share the long-awaited joy with their patients !

A positive HCG is great news - and a major landmark in the IVF cycle - but while it marks the end of one journey, it also signals the start of a new one. Remember, a positive HCG just means that the embryo has implanted - and you want a baby - something which is still 36 weeks away.

There are still many hurdles to be crossed and most of these are problems which crop up in the first 4 weeks. Is the pregnancy healthy ? Is it in the uterus or the tubes ? How many are there ? Many questions - most of which can only be answered as time goes by. Most IVF pregnancies are closely monitored with HCG levels done every 3 days; and ultrasound scanning from 6 weeks onwards - not because an IVF pregnancy is at high risk for a problem, but because these are precious pregnancies, and patients need a lot of hand-holding and reassurance.

What can I eat ? Can I go to work ? Can I have sex ? Should I curtail my activities ? Every minor spotting or blood stained discharge results in panic - and distress calls to the doctor. Am I miscarrying ? Did I do something wrong ? Is everything going to be OK ?

We know that of all pregnancies - whether these are IVF or natural conceptions, 10% are destined to end in a miscarriage. Human reproduction is an inefficient enterprise, and IVF does not change this sobering fact. Of course, when a problem occurs in an IVF pregnancy, patients often blame the IVF treatment - and even the doctor, but this is unfair.

If you have a positive HCG result, pat yourself on your back ( and your doctor too !) and enjoy the fact that you are pregnant. You now have to start the process of preparing yourself for a baby !

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