Fertility Network UK

Considering IVF - help please!

Hi all,

My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant since December 2015. In that time, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had my thyroid removed so it has been a stressful time. Hence, we’ve not particularly been stressing about not getting pregnant, until now!

We’ve had all the necessary tests, husbands sperm is ok, I’m working now I’ve had a blocked tube unblocked and still nothing.

We now qualify for NHS IVF.

My fertility is dropping though and whilst we previously wanted to keep trying after our stressful year, we don’t have much time left to get IVF started so it’s kind of now or never.

Thing is, I’ve only just got used to how I feel without a thyroid and on that medication and I’m terrified about how IVF will make me feel.

Can someone please explain the stages a bit and how each makes you feel to try and alleviate my concerns a bit.

Thanks so much

5 Replies

Sorry to hear you've had such a tough time of it. I can thoroughly recommend Robert Winston's Essential Fertility Guide as it gives a fantastic insight into the process in straight forward language and covers emotional aspects - fear, intrepidation etc for such a new alien process. I found it a god-send when first embarking on the whole experience as it really is an unknown time. Good luck x


Ok, there’s a difference between long and short protocol. I’ve only done long protocol so can only talk about that.

Drug wise, first you have downregulation drugs which put you into artificial menopause for around 2-3 weeks. I find this stage the hardest as I get physical side effects including night sweats which affect my sleep, and that in turn makes me grumpy and emotional. But it’s not for that long in the grand scheme of things. These drugs come in various forms but I’ve always done a daily injection which gets easier to administer as you get used to it.

Then, after an internal ultrasound (you’ll do quite a lot of these and again, you get used to them and they don’t last long), you start stimulation drugs for 1-2 weeks. I generally get pmt type symptoms on these, so my emotions are closer to the surface than normal.

Then, you’ll have egg collection. Most clinics do this under conscious sedation. I’ve had conscious sedation 4 times and never remembered anything about the process, in fact I found it a lovely sleep! Afterward you’ll feel like you have period cramps for a day or so and might be quite tired, but it’s nothing too bad.

You’ll then be on progesterone pessaries to maintain your lining before embryo transfer. For me, the progesterone gives me sore breasts and makes me short tempered. I think my temper isn’t helped by the fact this is a time of waiting though, and it’s hard not to be anxious. First you wait each day to find out how many embryos have been created then to see if they’ve survived. Most clinics transfer embryo/s back after 3-5 days, then you have to wait for two weeks (still on pessaries) before you take a pregnancy test to see if it has worked. This two week wait is hard. I’ve found with the whole process that keeping busy is crucial. It will all be over and done with in around six weeks, and at least you’d know you’ve tried. Xx


Hi Olivia

Im so sorry you’ve had a rough time recently and getting your head around ivf on top of it all must be quite daunting so you’re definitely in the right place for that.

I would recommend a book called ‘get a life, his and hers guide to ivf’. It goes through the process step by step and is written by a couple from both of their perspectives after having gone through it themselves.

I have had one cycle of ICSI myself and am currently in the middle of my second and to be honest the drugs really haven’t been as bad as I expected at all. I know everyone is very different and I don’t know if having medication for your thyroid as well would have any affect so it might be worth chatting to your fertility clinic about that, they are normally very good.

The process for me has been this:

Noresthisterone tablets for a week which made sure I had a bleed at the right time. My period was actually not as bad as my usual period with these tablets, less period pain.

Two days after starting those tablets I have a nasal spray (buserelin) for the down regs (which basically puts your body into like a temporary menopause) this slowly over time shows some slight side affects - I get thirsty and occasional hot flushes but nothing that stops me doing anything. I know some girls get headaches and occasional mild dizziness with this part.

Then after a few weeks and a blood test to check all is working, I started menopur injections which is to stimulate follicle growth. I’ve never had any affects with this but some girls get pains around the ovaries while they are stretching and growing (hopefully) more follicles than normal.

Then after a few scans to check the follicles I had to do a trigger injection of ovitrelle just before egg collection which again I didn’t find any side effects for.

The injections themselves also weren’t as bad as I thought and the needles are very small so hopefully this will be ok for you too.

I know my experience isn’t the same as everyone’s but I was like yo before I started the first round, anxious as to what the treatment may do to my hormones but it really wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought. I really hope it’s the same for you and although each clinic has a slightly different protocol, it should be similar in terms of what they are getting your body to do.

Good luck with everything, we are always here if you need to chat x


Hi Olivia, you have been through a terrible time. Can’t imagine how tough that has been. Just wanted to send you good wishes for the journey ahead. If you’ve been through what you have, you are certainly fit for IVF xx


Hi Olivia,

Sorry to hear about your struggles but well done you and your husband for getting through!

I understand your concern re IVF, I had them too. So I had 3 cycles - 1 Long, 1 short and 1 aborted long protocol.

The first stage is the down regs, which I found I got menopausal symptoms - temperature all over the place and a very short fuse. Second stage of stimulation I over stimulated so felt pretty crappy, bloated stomach and breathless, feeling sick etc.

Finally the egg removal is fine as is the embryo transplant a little uncomfortable but fine

All it all it isn’t the most pleasant experience but maximum 12 weeks and if it’s your only choice then I wouldn’t hestitate just ensure you have a supportive group around you

Good luck!!



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