Top tips for IVF egg collection: wear socks

Today was egg collection day, ahead of IVF.

I’m always cold. So my top tip is to pack socks. They were the one thing of my own I could have worn into the theatre today. Instead I had cold toes in blue polythene feet covers and the weird sensation of being without my tongue piercing and gel nails. It would have been nice to see my own stripey socks in the stirrups. Just to reassure me that those were my feet as the anaesthetist counted me out…

Roll back. I’m writing this blog because when I was looking for info about IVF, the internet served me:

  1. Ads for clinics
  2. The experiences of US sisters
  3. … or infertile sisters
[Tangent. During one of my recent appointments (oh so many appointments), my clinic asked me to be interviewed by an HFEA inspector. Like Ofsted for fertility clinics. She seemed surprised that I hadn’t been to the HFEA site to read up on my options. I told her that their SEO was off and they need to spend more cash to get prospective patients to look at their stuff.]

So I’m writing the blog I wanted to read. It won’t be impartial medical info (go to the HFEA for that and make the inspector happy). It’ll be impressionistic, and (I hope) actionable (pack socks!). It’ll be from a British perspective. It’s not an ad for a clinic.

And I’m not writing about infertility. TLDR: lesbian. I need extra help to have a baby cos no matter how hard the missus tries, she won’t get me pregnant.

Some of what I say may be helpful to the straight ladies though. And infertile sisters: you have my love & respect. I’ll certainly try to hide my jealousy that you can send hubby behind a curtain to knock out some swimmers for free. Our swimmers came in a stretch limo, Virgin Upper and a black cab (or at least I hope so given the transit cost!) all the way from the US.

So, my tips for egg collection day. Socks. A huge shawl for when the fire alarm goes off ten minutes after you’re out of theatre and you’re decanted onto an October London street in a backless gown. (Yes, this happened. I had disco legs, cramps & stood sobbing into the my gf’s shoulder. I blame the sedatives.).

Also: taxis, there and back. You’ve remortgaged to afford this, don’t be tight. I’ll get to tell our daughter or son about the crisp autumn day when they were conceived and how beautiful a sunny Green Park looked as we swooped up the Mall. At least, I hope I will.

Make a plan for lunch afterwards. Nil by mouth from midnight the night before = ravenous by midday, for me at least. Don’t make it yourself: order in (see don’t be tight, above) or at least enlist your gf to create something light but delicious. I knew I needed a Leon chicken aioli hot box for afterwards – and nice Mr Deliveroo obliged.

Turn up without makeup, jewellery, gel nails, piercings or (oddly) hairspray. Wear the stretchiest comfiest clothes you own (plus socks and shawl). Bring one book for you and one for your gf – she’ll be waiting about, and the WiFi is always crap. Bring a drink for the cab home.

And be prepared. Ask more questions of the nurse at your last scan. I wish I had. My timetable looked something like this:

  • Nine days’ meds ends Friday
  • Trigger injection Sat pm
  • Glorious injectionless Sunday, nil by mouth from midnight
  • 8.30am Monday clinic arrival, everything off and into gown
  • Forms, obs, ID bracelet, cannula into back of hand for the sedatives later (this was 100% the worst bit)
  • Loo then rectal pessaries (an antibiotic and pain relief). Never felt more glam.
  • Walk to theatre, stirrups, fanny out, mask, sedative into back of hand, wish I’d worn socks, drift off…
  • Wake up with the missus holding my hand in the recovery room, about 11am
  • Tea, biscuit, obs, fire alarm (hope they skip this bit for you), tea, obs, loo (you have to pee before they let you home), taxi about twelve-ish

Now I’m lying in bed at home, full of lovely Leon, with the cat (true lesbian stereotype) putting. Some spotting (sorry, TMI) but no pain to speak of. Just a dull headache. First progesterone pessary up my bottom (pro tip: lie down for half an hour after each one and wear a pantliner else you’ll get white wax in your knicks. Not the time to break out the Agent Provocateur.)

And after all that: eight eggs harvested. Beaming with delight.

Now to wait for the doc to call tomorrow morning. Then I’ll know how many were fertilised and when she wants to put them back. Return visit scheduled for either Thursday or Saturday. Cross your fingers for me. Seeya.

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