Most woman seeking infertility treatment when advised IVF would refuse to undergo the same due to fear of pain. During counselling, the couple would ask Is IVF treatment or procedure painful or not? To answer this question for ease of all, I put this together. During an IVF cycle, there can be several stages where one expects to experience pain.
The answer to the very common question, is IVF treatment painful? Or Does IVF Hurt? is that it might as well be to some extent. While undergoing a medical procedure, experiencing slight pain or discomfort is one such possibility. IVF isn't any different in this regard. However, while considering the possibility of getting pregnant and having a baby, the end result makes all the possible pain or risks worth taking.
The first part where one anticipates pain is as the women start their injections for the development of eggs. These are usually done with either needle with small bores or the newer injectable pen devices. Almost everyone dreads the first injection for fear of the unknown, but after the initial anxiety is over, most women report that there was minimal or no pain. Compare this to a diabetic on insulin who inject themselves with similar kinds of needles, sometimes even up to 3- 4 times a day.
The next step where one complaint of pain is as the eggs start to develop and the ovaries begin to enlarge, causing some lower abdomen pain and bloating. This is only when a very large number of eggs start to develop and the ovaries are overstimulating. It's where the doctors must use their discretion to use drugs judiciously to limit the number of eggs that grow and individualise the treatment.
This part most women would hate, under the fear that IVF is painful or is IVF transfer painful? But, with a well-controlled stimulation, many don’t even experience any pain but merely discomfort that they are able to cope with and lead a normal life and even continue to go to work. This discomfort can extend, only in a few, for about a week after the egg retrieval.
The third phase where woman expects pain is during the procedure of the egg retrieval itself. As the patients during counselling are made aware that the eggs are removed by piercing the ovaries through the vagina using a long thin needle, many women anticipate great pain. But, there is no pain during the procedure as it is done under anaesthesia.
In our centre, we have anaesthesiologists whom you would meet once before the procedure for a check-up to see that you are fit for anaesthesia. They would ensure that the time of retrieval you are pain-free and comfortable throughout the procedure. The anaesthesia used at our centre is for a short duration only and medicines used does not even slightly affect the eggs.
The next step, where usually the couple enquire if the woman can have pain is at the time of embryo transfer. Usually three to five days after the egg retrieval, the embryos are transferred back into the uterus. The transfer of the embryos is almost painless, but you may feel discomfort only during insertion of a vaginal speculum as you may have felt while taking a pap smear.
After the embryos have been transferred back into the uterus, you would begin on progesterone, which are either suppositories, gels or injections. The progesterone injections are an oil-based injection, and hence the needles used are a larger bore and therefore more painful. Some patients find it bearable, and others may complain of severe pain. The ones who cannot tolerate it at all can use tablets or vaginal gels without any effect on the outcome.
The top IVF specialists that include those at Medicover Fertility and others across the world have confirmed that it does cause slight pain or discomfort, but it isn’t that much as is thought to be.
The pregnancy journey is associated with a series of good and bad experiences that too involves the possibility of pain and discomfort. And as your pregnancy processes, it becomes difficult to carry out the day to day activities. The pain you may experience is completely normal and is quite common during pregnancy. At the end of it all, labour too, is a difficult phase in the journey.
But, once you get through it and have your baby in your lap, you will forget everything you went through to cherish the feeling of becoming parents. Having a baby especially after being infertile, makes the journey and all pain completely worth it.
So, in summary, there are various situations during an IVF procedure that one can expect pain, in actual most patients at the end would always inform that it was one of the procedures where they experienced minimal pain. It must also be noted that according to various studies and researches, it was found that the women who had undergone the treatment, found it to be far less painful in-fact minimal of what they thought to be before the surgery started. Moreover, during the surgery even it is natural to experience a little bit of pain, which is taken care of by the use of anaesthesia.
Medicover Fertility clinics have been helping people realise their dreams of parenthood. In fact, every 3 hours, a Medicover baby is born worldwide. It’s the skills and expertise of our IVF clinics in India and scientific teams, our advanced technology and equipment, individualised treatments, patient care and our protocols that have enabled us to achieve such high success rates.
Although, pain is always a possibility while undergoing a medical procedure, similarly, going through IVF is no different. However, maximum patients report that going through IVF is mildly uncomfortable rather than painful.
Every year more than 5 lakh IVF babies are born and most of them are healthy, just like normal one’s. It’s just that to increase the conception chances, the fertilization process is carried outside the body in the same way as it happens inside, in a normal pregnancy. The process is very natural, and so an IVF baby is a normal baby.
While preparing the body for IVF, its important to follow a healthy lifestyle like quitting to smoke and drink alcohol, doing mild exercises regularly, eating fertility enhancing foods, taking proper sleep etc.
Although, the patient can resume normal activities just after the treatment, but it is usually recommended to take 24 hours of rest before resuming the normal activity.