We asked our Instagram community for their IVF top tips and this is the incredible result

Expert advice from doctors and fertility experts is crucial when embarking on ivf, but there is no denying the enormous comfort gained from the guidance of someone who has already experienced the journey you are about to take.

This is why we did a post a while back on instagram entitled ‘IVF…what I wish I’d known’. We thought it would be a great way for you to gather some tips from the amazing TTC community ahead of your IVF cycle. We just want to take this opportunity to thank everyone who gave us these valuable tips and send everyone lots of love.

Have a read and see if you can see yours…

“I’m sure this will be different for everyone, but for me I loved acupuncture (used to make me fall asleep) I also kept a diary (putting things on paper has always helped me get things off my mind a bit) and I shared how I was feeling with a few close friends, their support meant everything to me and I also allowed myself a nice (decaf) coffee and pastry every time I went for a scan,  sometimes it’s the little things. One day at a time…anything else can be so overwhelming. Thinking of everyone who is starting or in the midst of their journey.”

“I kept a diary (which I had never done previously). I also made sure the people who I spent most time with knew what I was going through. I didn’t tell everyone but it really helped having family, close friends and colleagues knowing so that I could talk about how I was feeling. Be kind to yourself too…if you need a nap have a nap, if you need a cry have a cry and if you want to eat some chocolate eat some chocolate. Sending lots of well wishes to anyone starting out or in the middle of their journey.”

“I found that including my partner as much as possible made me feel better. We worked as a team, he would inject me and I would plunge. Acupuncture and acupressure was brilliant (I had little seeds stick on my ears which I would press). Being open and honest with friends and family worked for us so that we had a big support base. Having a pair of lucky socks and pants for important dates.”

“You can inject yourself”

“That you absolutely will be able to inject yourself (blindfolded and with your hands tied behind your back) very very quickly. I was feeling physically sick at the start, wondering just how the hell I was going to do it. Weirdly by the end I was sort of enjoying it, it made me feel quite badass. Also that statistics are just that. I was given a very low chance of success due to high fsh and my age (38). Well they got ten blinkin eggs out of me and bang it worked first time. I know a few old timers like me who have all had success in the first and second rounds. I feel like the luckiest cow on earth every day that I look at my beautiful four month old baby boy. My heart goes out to everyone on this journey. Take good care of yourself and keep positive if you can.”

“I WISH I had kept a journal, but going on walks or just getting outside helped my sanity. Also, once I finally started talking about my struggles openly, a weight was lifted off my shoulders. And the shots aren’t as daunting as you would expect. I agree with @aimi_mc, you kind of feel badass. I remember sitting in the bathroom for like 20 minutes psyching myself up for my trigger shot. Once I finally did it, I wondered why I was freaking out in the first place. I went through several rounds of IUI before deciding to do ivf. I ended up with two healthy embryos to transfer and was blessed with my beautiful son. I’m not going to lie…. just thinking about going through the process again (I don’t have any more embryos) makes my ovaries hurt, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. And I would journal.”

“Reflexology definitely helped me. And the shots really aren’t that bad (just try not to inject same places). They managed to get six eggs out of me and three were viable although it didn’t work, I did find myself pregnant the following month. I believe the hormones stimulated something in me which enabled me to fall pregnant. I have two left and would go through it all again if I have to. Praying for all those about to embark on this part of the journey.”

Keep a diary

“Diary must do a diary x just putting down on paper how you feel through the process and how your feeling is amazing x especially if you have to have more then 1 cycle it really helps you to be able to look back at your previous experience”

“Reflex and Acupuncture really help.”

“Don’t expect it to be straight forward and for a positive pregnancy test to make for a live birth. I thought once pregnant it would be straightforward!”

“The egg collection isn’t as bad as you think, prepare for time to recover after.”

“Regular couple time, and frank honesty. Regular alone time and walks, massage or yoga (something for the mind!) Yoga breathing helped no end with egg collection and implantation to relax…. oh and Podcasts as a distraction. Apply all of the above in the 2 week wait to distract you, talk to someone you trust (or that ideally has been through it too) and don’t be afraid to go to counselling, especially after failed rounds.”

“I had reflexology and made time to relax. My husband and I did the injections together too. He would draw them up and I would inject myself. I made sure work were aware what I was doing too.”

“Acupuncture was great and hypnotherapy helped when I was feeling hopeless, totally shifted my focus to a much brighter more positive one. Also the book The Power by Rhonda Byrne helped – it’s a quick read but again helped me psychologically. Oh and if you can, take time off work during cycles and do things you love as well as lots of 

“So many tips… self care + scheduling in something like a detox pedi or a visit to a coffee shop or something you find relaxing to look forward to (take day off work) during down regs and stims, make plans for TWW, aim to not rush around and book time off work where possible, know nutrition is so important and see a fertility nutritionist for guidance, acupuncture…know you can get through it.”

Communication is key

“Lots of time with your partner talking honestly about your emotions. Time to yourself Gentle walks and yoga . And if you need to cry , cry and let it all out. Most importantly, be very very kind to yourself.”

“I told a few close girlfriends and really explained the terms and what I would go through and they were so interested and helped me so much sometimes by just asking if my tummy was sore and I wanted to get ice cream or other small things-just that they cared and asked questions helped me.”

“Be kind to yourself and take one day at a time. Try to think positively, it’s a long journey but worth every tiny step you take.  I found acupuncture amazing for my anxiety and went to someone who specialises in acupuncture for fertility so I felt confident that the treatment was safe. I had a little seed that I used to press when I felt anxious which really helped. Look after yourself physically and get your other half to do any lifting and carrying! Talk about how you’re feeling and cry if you need to…. it’s an emotional journey so don’t try and hold it all in… take time off work to relax after egg collection and embryo transfer and get out every day… even if just for a gentle walk or cup of tea and cake! Thinking of everyone who is just starting or going through your journeys. Stay strong.”

“Shop around for your meds and ask for a split prescription if you need to. ASDA on the whole are great, but there are some drugs that you can get cheaper elsewhere. Your clinic will have some sort of pharmacy delivery service that they use but ask for a quote first. And check if your clinic will supply you with your sharps box, needles and syringes rather than paying out for them. It’s a bit of work but will save you loads if you are self funding. I find the difference in price for the same thing sickening to be honest. Injections really do become easier. It took me about 30 mins to work up to my first ever one! I don’t even think about it now. Take some time off work if you can. And @catchingrainbowsfertility have amazing resources. I don’t know what I would do without the lovely Lucy.”

From a male perspective you have to be strong for your wife/girlfriend/partner, it’s a journey you embark on together and I find I’m the optimistic one. Unfortunately we’ve failed on every transfer to date (three frozen and one fresh), its horrible but you have to accept it’s going to be part of the process, we did our first egg retrieval whilst dealing with the sudden death of my Dad, my wife had hyper stimulation so was really unwell afterwards & our embryos were frozen as a result. We’ve used our NHS funding (we were in the system when it was two rounds, the Scottish Government increased it to three but we’re not eligible for the third) so we’re taking a break, booked a nice summer holiday and will see where life takes us! I have so much admiration for my wife as and love her so much more for what she’s been through, we want a baby more than anything and can only hope that our time will come one way or another!”

“Exercise got me through some bad times on my IVF journey – it was half an hour when I could completely shut out IVF and focus on me. And looking for the funny side of things in what were sometimes very dark days. And this quote: “Courage doesn’t always roar – sometimes it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying I will try again tomorrow.” Tomorrow will be the end of our IVF journey as I inject myself for the last time following the birth of our beautiful son 10 days ago. There were times in the last 11 years when we never thought we’d ever have one child, let alone be blessed with two.. It has been a long hard journey but we’re so thankful we never gave up.”

“Telling our friends so we could talk about it and make it feel normal. They were great! It also meant we could laugh at all the crazy stuff you have to do. Oh and we got a kitten – an amazing distraction.”

“Singing! I joined a choir and each week I would sing my heart out and smile and think how lucky we are to live in a world with science!!! Fourth go lucky for us.”

“I’ve learned to be honest with how I am feeling and to talk to people. People in waiting rooms, people also having Intralipids when I had them. It really helped with the feeling “it’s just me who can’t make a baby” and also I have found it  has helped my friends learn how hard this journey is. Most said they wanted to help but didn’t know how, so now I ask for specifics, like soup or hugs when I need them!”

“I started writing a diary again when we found out we needed ivf. It was a great way to offload how I felt, it was also great to reflect on when going through future cycles. Now I have my two babies I will often still revisit it and realise how lucky I am.”

If you have any more tips that have helped ease the rollercoaster, whether it be having acupuncture, talking to a fertility coach, attending support groups, escaping to a tea shop in the middle of nowhere from time to time for some headspace, basically any tips you wish someone had given you before you started, then we would love to hear them. Email your tips to sara@ivfbabble.com

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