Debunking the Myth: Is IVF Really Painful?
When couples face challenges in conceiving naturally, IVF is often recommended as a viable solution. However, many people hesitate to pursue this option due to misconceptions about the pain and physical trauma involved in the IVF process.
In this blog, we aim to dispel these myths and shed light on the various stages of IVF, highlighting the mental and emotional aspects of the journey rather than physical pain.
We will also discuss strategies to overcome any discomfort or anxiety you may experience during the process with a caring and empathetic approach.
IVF Stages and Potential Discomfort
The first stage of IVF involves administering hormone injections to stimulate multiple egg development in the ovaries. These injections are typically administered for 9 to 15 days, depending on the patient’s response.
Since the injections are water-based, they are generally not painful. To put things in perspective, many people take daily insulin injections for diabetes management.
Therefore, taking 8 to 10 injections for a chance to conceive should be a manageable experience. We understand that the thought of injections might be daunting, but rest assured, our team is here to guide and support you through this process.
The ovum pick-up process is not considered painful, as it is performed under anaesthesia. Patients usually spend around 4 to 5 hours at the clinic for this procedure.
It does not involve surgery or incisions, but rather a small needle inserted through the vaginal wall to collect eggs from the ovaries. The process takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes, and most patients do not experience any discomfort.
However, some may experience a headache, nausea, or vomiting due to the anaesthesia. In cases where patients have numerous follicles in their ovaries, they may feel some abdominal pain or stretching.
In such situations, doctors may advise against strenuous exercise and recommend a frozen embryo transfer. Our compassionate healthcare team is dedicated to ensuring your comfort and addressing any concerns you may have during this stage.
Read More: Ovum Pick Up Procedure
The embryo transfer stage is not painful at all. In fact, this simple procedure doesn’t even require anaesthesia. It takes just 2 to 3 minutes to complete.
However, during the procedure, the patient’s urinary bladder must be filled, which might cause some temporary discomfort. Once the patient is allowed to empty their bladder, the discomfort subsides.
Patients can typically return home within 2 to 3 hours after the procedure. Our caring staff will be by your side, ensuring you feel at ease and well-informed throughout the entire process.
There is a common misconception that strict bed rest is required during the post-transfer period. This is not accurate. In fact, maintaining your daily routine can increase the chances of a successful IVF outcome.
Contrary to popular belief, daily oil-based progesterone injections are no longer deemed necessary for every patient. Progesterone gel and capsules administered vaginally have been shown to provide a better chance of success.
Blood thinner injections are also not required for everyone, only for patients with a history of multiple miscarriages, pregnancy failures, or those at risk for abortion.
At our IVF centre, we prioritise patient education and reassurance. We will provide you with clear and accurate information regarding post-transfer care, ensuring that you understand the best course of action for your specific situation.
The Psychological Aspect of IVF:
While the physical pain experienced during the IVF process is minimal, the mental and emotional challenges can be more significant. It is common for patients to feel stressed, wondering why they need IVF when others conceive naturally.
The IVF journey involves meeting doctors, taking injections, undergoing sonography, and blood tests, all of which can contribute to feelings of anxiety and discomfort. Comparisons to couples who have conceived naturally can amplify these emotions, as can the fear of IVF failure.
We understand that the emotional aspect of IVF can be overwhelming, which is why we place great emphasis on providing a supportive and nurturing environment. Our compassionate team is here to listen, empathise, and offer guidance at every stage of the journey.
However, it’s important to remember that many couples have successfully achieved pregnancy through IVF. Draw inspiration from their success stories and maintain a positive outlook throughout the process.
Surround yourself with a supportive network of friends, family, or support groups who can offer encouragement and understanding during this challenging time.
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
Being an complex fertility procedure, it as important to understand the process, possible risks and complications and tips for Success before going for the procedure.
Tips for Coping with IVF-Related Stress
- Open communication: Discuss your feelings and concerns with your partner, as well as your healthcare team. This can help alleviate anxiety and ensure that you both feel supported and understood.
- Stay informed: Educate yourself about the IVF process, as knowledge can help dispel fears and misconceptions. Don’t hesitate to ask questions or seek clarification from your healthcare team.
- Focus on self-care: Engage in activities that promote relaxation and well-being, such as yoga, meditation, or mindfulness practices. Prioritise a healthy lifestyle, including proper nutrition, exercise, and adequate sleep.
- Consider counselling: A mental health professional who specialises in fertility issues can provide valuable support and coping strategies. They can help you navigate the emotional aspects of IVF and address any relationship challenges that may arise during the process.
- Connect with others: Seek out support groups or online forums where you can connect with other individuals or couples going through similar experiences. Sharing your journey with others who understand can provide comfort and encouragement.
IVF is a journey that may seem daunting, but with the right mindset, support system, and compassionate care, you can navigate the process with minimal discomfort.
Understanding the various stages of IVF and debunking misconceptions can help reduce anxiety and facilitate a more positive experience.
Remember, our caring team is here to support and guide you every step of the way.
If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us. We’re always here to help, and we genuinely care about your well-being and the success of your IVF journey.
Stay positive, and never lose hope. Together, we can work towards achieving your dream of parenthood.
Dr. Supriya Puranik
Gynaecologist & IVF Specialist
Often known as the last glimmer of hope for people who have lost all hope for conceiving a child, Dr. Supriya Puranik is a leading gynaecologist, high risk obstetrician and Head of IVF & Gynaecology department at Ankura Hospital for Women & Children.