If you’re new to fertility treatments and you’ve opted for in vitro fertilization, you will quickly learn about the IVF 2 week wait. This critical period in the IVF process can be challenging for patients. In this article, we’re going to learn more about the 2-week wait and what it entails.
What is the 2 Week Wait in IVF?
When working with your doctor for in vitro fertilization, there is a 2 week waiting period between the procedure and confirming conception. The waiting period can certainly give way to feelings of anxiety and stress. Undeniably, it can be emotionally taxing to simply wait. You might get concerned with every symptom you feel during this time. And for some, it might feel like a race against the clock, as this could be your only chance to have a baby. Thus, this window of time is critical for taking care of yourself, including your mental health and overall wellness.
2 Week Wait with Fresh Embryo Transfer
When a fresh embryo transfer occurs, you will be administered an hCG trigger shot, which causes elevated hCG levels in the body for up to two weeks. It’s critical to avoid taking a preemptive pregnancy test during this time as it might result in a false positive. It’s natural to feel excited, anxious, overwhelmed, and impatient, but the 2 week wait is crucial to getting accurate results and avoiding the heartbreak of a false positive. Even if you do a home pregnancy test, it’s critical to wait for the actual blood test after 2 weeks to validate the true results of your IVF effort. We know of some patients who did a home pregnancy test and got a negative, simply stopped their meds in despair, thereby sealing their fate prematurely and unnecessarily. Do not ever stop your meds during the 2 week waiting period and wait for the official results from your IVF clinic.
hCG Trigger Shots
Regardless of the medication brand, the hCG trigger shots given during IVF treatments contain human chorionic gonadotropin. You may hear it referred to as Novarel, Ovidrel, or Pregnyl. hCG is known as the pregnancy hormone, but in the case of IVF, the shot works more like luteinizing hormone (LH) produced by the pituitary gland. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and LH work to grow and mature eggs, so the trigger shot helps the reproductive system ovulate and mature the eggs during the critical period.
2 Week Wait with Frozen Embryo Transfer
While a frozen embryo transfer can be just as effective and successful as a fresh one, there is no need for an hCG trigger shot. Without the elevated levels of hCG in the body, it might be tempting to take a pregnancy test before the end of the 2 week wait, but please avoid it to evade inaccurate results and potentially false hopes.
What Happens During the 2 Week Wait?
Between the procedure and testing to find out if you’re pregnant, plenty of side effects and symptoms can occur. Every person is different, and there are no apparent good or bad symptoms. Some of the most common symptoms include:
- Cramping or pelvic pain
- Light bleeding or spotting
- Feeling fatigued
- Tender and sore breasts
- Missed period
- Increased urination frequency
- Altered vaginal discharge
- No symptoms at all
It can be stressful to analyze each symptom that may arise, so it’s important to know that you should avoid reading too much into them. Premenstrual symptoms and early pregnancy symptoms can be indistinguishable, so as long as symptoms aren’t severe, you should try to relax as best as you can. If they are severe, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your doctor. Working with highly-trained professionals is your best defense against complications.
IVF Medications During the 2 Week Wait
During the 2 week wait, it’s often recommended that patients take estrogen and/or progesterone. Supplementing estrogen helps the uterine lining thicken and maintain integrity. Progesterone is given to women to produce the same hormone levels as they would in a naturally occurring pregnancy. Progesterone can be given as a vaginal insert or an injectable form, typically the option given to IVF patients. Once you’ve started taking these medications, don’t stop until advised by your doctor.
Should I Take a Home Pregnancy Test After an Embryo Transfer?
It can be challenging to keep yourself from taking a home pregnancy test after IVF embryo transfer, but it’s strongly recommended that you wait a full two weeks before you try. To get the most accurate results, you will need to wait. It can be stressful and emotional to do so, but necessary. Still, it is very common to get false results within this window. It can cause more emotional turmoil if you take a positive test, and it ends up being wrong.
What to Do During the 2 Week Wait
If you’re wondering what to do during the 2 week wait, self-care and self-love are critical. Here are some of our best suggestions for keeping yourself busy during the 2 week wait.
Give Your Body a Rest
It may feel like you want to keep yourself busy and occupy your time to avoid thinking about your possible pregnancy. Give your body rest, learn a new skill, read some new books, and just relax. Especially if you are feeling more symptoms, take it easy and let your body rest.
Avoid Sexual Intercourse
If you are prone to miscarriages or might have a high-risk pregnancy, it’s critical to avoid intercourse during the 2 week wait. While you can discuss it with your doctor, abstaining from sex for 2 weeks is recommended to avoid any issues.
Be Gentle with Yourself
It can be easy to slip into your emotions during this time, as it’s a poignant experience, and you’re not alone. It’s a lot to cope with, considering the hormonal changes, anticipation, and the idea that there could be a letdown. Be gentle with yourself and what you’re feeling, and simply do your best.
Protect your Mental Health
Protecting your mental health will mean different strategies for different people. It could include speaking with a therapist, leaning on your partner, limiting the number of people you’re telling about the potential pregnancy, and being mindful of your thoughts.
Find Positive and Healthy Distractions
Staying positive during the 2 week wait may help to ease the stress of the situation. If you can keep your mind busy with healthy distractions without dwelling on the waiting period, you may find the time goes a little faster.
Take Your Prescribed IVF Medications
Always take your medications as prescribed. Since these medications are a critical part of the IVF process, you will need to be diligent with taking them properly.
With the support of the best professionals around the world, ELITE IVF can support you through the IVF process, including the 2 week wait. We’re ready to help you try to create the family you’ve been dreaming of. Contact us today.