Have you ever visited an IVF forum or Facebook group looking for information or reassurance, only to come away feeling even more confused and emotional?
And the next day, you find yourself doing the exact same thing? And again and again, for weeks on end?
I found myself in that crazy cycle a couple of years ago, while going through IVF. I was desperate to get to grips with the whys, whats, hows, whens and wheres of the IVF process – partly because I’m a control freak, but mainly so I could understand what was going on and confidently challenge doctors if I felt unsure about any treatment they were proposing. But there just weren’t any definitive sources that could explain everything to me in plain English – especially for people who live in the UK.
So in my spare time, I decided to do the research myself. I scoured medical journals, cobbled together incomplete information from various websites, spoke to doctors and specialists (to make sure I had my facts straight) and published my findings here, on The Duff.
It’s slowly turning into what I’d always wanted for myself: a definitive source of scientific facts and information about IVF (and the issues surrounding it), which can explain everything in plain English.
On this website, you’ll find…
- A detailed description of the IVF process from start to finish – so you’ll know exactly what to expect (and why).
- Explanations for what your hormone levels mean when it comes to your fertility and IVF treatment (including oestradiol levels, AMH levels, FSH levels and antral follicle count).
- An honest (and science-backed) look into what you can do to improve the quality and/or quantity of your eggs.
- An in-depth discussion of how age affects fertility – and what you can do to improve your chances of IVF success (even if you’re over the age of 35).
- Information about who’s eligible for NHS IVF treatment, as well as the true cost of private IVF treatment (and how to fund it) – and how to find the right private IVF clinic for your needs. (Also, here’s a list of the best private IVF clinics in the UK.)
- Not-so-great and thoroughly grrrr ways in which many clinics mislead you with their success rates.
- All your questions answered about the daunting egg-collection process (and tips on how to prevent/deal with OHSS).
- Up-to-date facts about fresh embryo transfer vs frozen embryo transfer.
- Definitions of all those similar-but-different words your doctors keep using: follicle, oocyte, egg and zygote and embryo, blastocyst and foetus.
- A delve into the myths/facts of pomegranate, pineapple, McDonald's chips, DHEA, CoQ10, acupuncture, exercise after transfer, and lots and lots more! (Plus: do “fertility diets” work?)
- A handy list of responses to “When are you going to have a baby?”!
- A list of 7 things no one tells you about IVF treatment – and what to do about them.
- More to come in future! Email me if there’s something in particular you’d like me to research. (And here's the full list of all the articles I currently have on the site.)
Keep reading… there's more below.
By the way, if you’re wondering about my own IVF treatment… it worked! There were bruises, heartache, a couple of potentially serious hospital admissions, and a whole lot of waiting and panicking. But – with additional help from the hefty dose of luck that’s involved in any BFP – we got there. And I really hope you do too.
Good luck and happy reading!