Before and during fertility treatment, patients are often faced with a lot of impressions and information. Sometimes, however, this can be highly confusing, giving rise to a large number of questions.
After asking around, I discussed the issues with Univ. Prof. Dr. Herbert Zech, a specialist in reproductive medicine and founder of the IVF centers of the same name. Below please find his answers to some frequently asked questions:
“What medical findings do I need from my gynecologist?”
H. Zech: In order to make the envisaged treatment as efficient as possible, it is essential to make any existing diagnostic findings and test results of both partners available to us. You will receive a letter giving detailed information on the required blood work and earlier diagnostic findings (if available). Of course, the required medical findings (incl. gyn. examination) may also be obtained on site at one of our IVF Centers.
“When it comes to the treatment schedule, what are the aspects to which I must pay particular attention?”
H. Zech: It is crucial to observe the requirements that we have provided you with. Based on your personal situation, the attending physician will determine with you the necessary treatments steps, such as, for instance, ovarian stimulation (hormonal stimulation of the ovaries) as well as the associated ultrasound scans.
“Is hospitalization required for egg retrieval?”
H. Zech: Oocyte collection is carried out at the IVF Center on an outpatient basis. The follicles are visualized by means of 3D ultrasound technology, followed by the transvaginal retrieval of the oocytes contained therein. For this a short anesthesia, that puts you in a sleep-like condition, is administered by an anesthesiologist. At the same time, your husband / partner has the task to provide his ejaculate. In the laboratory, the mature oocytes will then be inseminated with the selected sperm (IVF/ICSI/IMSI) and placed in the incubator for further embryonic development.
“When and how will the embryo be transferred to my womb?”
H. Zech: The transfer of the embryo is also done at the IVF Center. Using a thin, flexible catheter, the embryo is gently placed into the womb. This is done on the fifth day following egg retrieval which in “natural” conception corresponds to the time by which the embryo will have migrated from the Fallopian tube to the uterus to implant itself into the endometrium.
“How should I behave after my embryo transfer?”
H. Zech: After being transferred, the embryo should attach itself to the uterine wall. This process cannot be actively encouraged or even forced. At best, you can ensure appropriate lifestyle habits so as not to interfere with the process of implantation. A stressful departure after the embryo transfer as well as jerky movements (quick movements while lifting heavy loads) should be avoided. Long-haul flights, too, are not advisable. Moreover, unhealthy lifestyle habits, such as smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, could adversely affect the outcome.
“When can I take the pregnancy test and what happens next?”
H. Zech: You can take a urine pregnancy test two weeks after the embryo transfer. Please get in touch with us, no matter whether your test comes back positive or negative. Subsequently, we will discuss the further procedure with you, e.g. appointment for blood sample, further intake of medicines, next check-up etc. Please continue to take the prescribed medication as set out in your therapy plan. On no account should you stop taking the medicines on your own.
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