“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
The courage to change the things I can;
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
The now infamous phrase “two week wait” refers to the period of time between possible conception and being able to test for pregnancy, i.e. when your period might be due. It’s a tough time for any couple hoping to conceive, but the stress can be more pronounced in the immediate aftermath of fertility treatment. This is because in these circumstances the fear of failure and the hope of success is sometimes more acutely felt. Patients can feel that they have more to worry about: will the treatment work? What if it doesn’t? Can we afford to try again? Luckily, out in Cyprus at the Dogus IVF Clinic with Team Miracle you will be in the most relaxed circumstances, but there are a few other things which can help get you through a sometimes anxious wait.
After embryo transfer, patients can typically get very worried about the possibility of the procedure failing. This general fear is often manifested in:
a) A fear of the embryo “falling out”
b) Fear of partaking in any physical activity
c) A belief that bed rest is the most sensible option
It is important at this point to realise that physical activity will not affect the embryo implantation. In fact, bed rest does not improve IVF success rates. Repeated studies have shown that implantation is a biological process which the patient cannot influence.
Some things to remember:
- Don’t obsess over pregnancy symptoms, or the lack of. It’s very common to not experience any at all early on. If you feel that it’s not that simple, then set aside half an hour in the day when you can indulge yourself, or two half-hours, and spend that time researching, using internet support forums or whatever reassures you, but after that time put a firm stop to it.
- Keep busy so time doesn’t drag. This is where having your IVF treatment in Cyprus is a massive advantage. You’re away from home and mundane life; take the opportunity to perhaps explore the island, learn about its history and enjoy a foreign climate. It’s a very different environment to the home/work/school routine. It’s far better to keep occupied because this lowers your stress levels.
- Use relaxation techniques to feel calmer. Studies have shown that guided imagery can help lower stress and anxiety levels.
- Take the support that is offered; both from Team Miracle and your family or friends. They will be willing to help in any way that they can. And use your common sense. Don’t do anything in the days following the procedure that you will regret.
- Don’t worry unnecessarily about spotting or cramps. The medicines and procedures involved in IVF have quite an impact. Egg retrieval can cause slight cramping, as can embryo transfer. Cramping can also be caused by the fertility drugs administered to adjust oestrogen and progesterone levels. It’s important not to panic about spotting. This is thought to occur up to 42% of women going through the two week wait. Mild cramping and/or pelvic discomfort is very common. The only time to seek medical help is if you experience heavy bleeding, pain or severe cramps.
- Bizarrely, statistics from Australian research show that those women who had sexual intercourse prior to of embryo transfer had higher viability rates at 6-8 weeks post-transfer. Apart from the literal conception, it seems that semen has a positive effect on embryo implantation and development. However please note that Dr. Firdevs doesn’t advise having sexual intercourse or orgasms during the two week wait.
Apart from these points of advice, it is also important that you make your peace with the situation. Accept that fertility treatment is a stressful process and it will be a stressful time for you. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s perfectly normal. What you need to do is stop yourself from stressing about stress; two large research studies showed that stress has no impact on the outcome of IVF.
Listen to the advice of those around you. You will have been treated by a top specialist, Dr Firdevs is a leader in her field. Both she and Team Miracle have years of experience in successfully treating women; if you have any fears or worries then speak about them so they can reassure you.
And if failure is something that you have to consider, then do bear in mind that it is pointless to blame yourself. Some women fixate on issues that they think they may have caused, the most common one being whether they rested enough or did too much. However, before you go down this line of thought, you must think through the whole process. IVF embryos are no different to naturally conceived embryos. They have no way of knowing whether the preceding days have been spent in a fallopian tube or test tube; all embryos start from the same premise.
You will probably find your two week wait an anxious time. But if you think positively, keep calm and moderately active, lean on those around you for support and focus on a positive outcome then you will be doing the very best for you and your embryos.