The first step on my IVF journey was to go and see my GP to see if I could get any tests done on the NHS or if I could get Funded treatment as unfortunately IVF funding is dependent on the area you live in. Some area will offer more treatment cycles than others, but all funding will be dependent on individual circumstances.
Once you have found out if you can get NHS funding or you have to go for private treatment, you can then start looking for a clinic. It would be best to look for a local clinic as through your treatment you will have to attend regularly for scans. You can find results for all clinics in the UK on the HFEA’S website (The UK’s government independent regulator for fertility treatment).
Most private clinics in the UK now offer Patient information events which are free to attend. These events are great to attend, you can get advice from specialists within the field and they will give you a greater understanding of what IVF is.
Once you have chosen a clinic you can then arrange an appointment. If you are NHS funded this can be a longer process as the funding has to be in place before the clinic can book you in. For private patients you can get an appointment from 1-6 weeks.
After seeing a consultant you should have a better understanding of what treatment you need and you can contact the clinic to book in for your treatment.
Things to do while going through treatment:
- Sign up to IVF forums – talk to other people going through IVF, most forums have cycle buddies do you can talk to people that are going through IVF at exactly the same time as you.
- Talk to friends and family – some people choose not to but you may need the support of your friends and family, your body will be going through a lot of hormonal changes due to the medication you will take, so having someone close to you to talk to will be
- Use the counselling service – for people who do not have close family and friends to talk to, a clinics counselling service would be beneficial. Most clinics offer a free counselling service.
- Stay fit and healthy – try and stick to having a balanced diet and keep active. Your clinic should have a diet and exercise information sheet for you to follow.
The two week wait after treatment – this can be the hardest time in your IVF journey and can feel a lot longer than two weeks! Don’t forget to use the counselling service available through your clinic. You will be given a date by your clinic to take your pregnancy test, try not to test to earlier as this can give a false result.
If you have a positive or negative result remember that the clinic is there to support and help you through the next stages of your IVF journey.
I have worked in an IVF clinic for 7 years and I have been lucky enough to hold so many amazing babies. Just remember you aren’t alone – there are so many people going through the same thing as you so don’t be afraid to ask for advice or help. My miracle baby is Archie, it took two years and 23 pregnancy tests before we eventually got a positive pregnancy test! Remember that no matter how a baby is made whether it is natural conception, IVF, donor conceived or surrogacy they are all little miracles.