In the middle of my second round of IVF, I got MAD. Mad that I had spent thousands of dollars on expensive fertility medications, and yet I couldn’t buy a single product dedicated to help me organize them. My meds and supplies were scattered in an old hamper and paper bag, and I felt disorganized and out of control.
I decided I wanted to help make IVF a little bit easier. I talked with dozens of people going through treatment, collaborated with fertility professionals, listened to both the struggles that came along with IVF and the different ways people were learning to cope during the journey. From there, MyVitro was born: a complete line of organizers and accessories for people going through IVF who, like me, needed a bit more control of the chaos.
Here’s what I learned. If you are a Type A person like me, these tips will help you feel more in control of your IVF experience.
Lighten up your schedule. IVF will take up a lot of time, and the less you have on your schedule the better. IVF involves daily injections at home along with multiple blood draws and recurring visits to the clinic for ultrasounds. This is not the time for the extra project at work, attending every social invite or holding yourself to a time consuming hobby or fitness regimen. Keep your schedule light to leave room for all that this treatment entails.
Get organized. Getting organized will help you feel in control. Marie Kondo didn’t take over our lives by accident. Organize your medications in a way that you can see them easily and always know what you have on hand. Set up a designated area in your house where you will do your shots. Keep a calendar of medications and appointments (like you weren’t doing this already :)). Having your medication and supplies clearly organized will give you confidence and a sense of control. MyVitro makes an IVF Support Kit that has everything you need to keep organized and store your valuable IVF medication.
Practice, practice, practice. Nothing makes me feel ickier than starting something important that I don’t feel “good at” yet. Get comfortable with giving yourself (or your partner) shots. Your clinic will most likely have you attend an injection class, but it can be a lot of information to take in at once. Ask if you can take videos, and if not there are a number of videos on YouTube that can help you get familiar with your particular medication processes. Practice injecting into a stress ball or one of our injection trainers to get used to what it feels like to give a shot.
Understand the financial impact. Most insurance plans do not cover fertility testing, IUI or IVF. I hate surprises even when they’re good ones, so you can bet your bottom I don’t want to be surprised with a $15k bill from my clinic that I thought Insurance was going to cover. Check your health insurance policy, and also additional stand-alone benefits that might be offered directly through your employer. Resolve.org has some great resources for understanding your insurance benefits and talking to your employer about family planning.
Give in to Your Instinct to Double Check. Medication dosage doesn’t seem right? Double check. Insurance company denying you for something you thought was covered? Time for a phone call. Halfway through your cycle? A quick inventory of your meds will ensure you don’t have to call your nurse at 10 pm to see if they have any extra cetrotide like I did. Fertility treatment comes with so much pressure, don’t begrudge yourself the need to verify the details more than once. Even better, find a mentor to be there with you every step of the way.
While we can’t change the fact that we have to do IVF (or the fact that we are people who like to be in charge), hopefully these tips will help you feel in control of the parts you can control, and more confident overall during fertility treatment.