30 IVF Questions & Answers for First-Timers

Update: For anyone working through IVF not as a first-timer, please pop over and read my post on IVF Takeaways and Insights Five Years On.

I’m sure many couples feel absolutely dumbfounded when starting their IVF journeys, even more so if you’re undertaking an international IVF experience where there are more moving parts to get in sync. Until you’ve gone through it, it’s utterly foreign. Most of us don’t really understand the intricacies of how the process really works, and even when we do learn these things, there are still so many little questions about how to make it as successful as possible. At the beginning of my journey I started compiling my questions and jotting down answers as I slowly uncovered them. For those curious about this process or embarking on this journey, I hope this is helpful!

Basics + the Pre-IVF Process

30 IVF Questions & Answers

  1. How long is the IVF process from start to finish? This may vary from person to person, but ours was around 6 weeks from start to finish. That includes 3 weeks of preparation – involving hormonal birth control use – followed by about 10 days of injectables, then the week of the actual procedures (retrieval and transfer).

2. What medications will I need to procure? Depending on what your doctor prescribes, you’ll need birth control to start out, followed by a few different types of injectables: 1) one used for encouraging egg production and growth, 2) one used to help inhibit ovulation, 3) one used to ‘trigger’ ovulation, and then possibly 4) a final shot of progesterone following your transfer. In my case, I used Gonal-F for the first injectable for about 10 days, Orgalutran for the second injectable for about 5 days (this coincided with the latter half of Gonal-F, though taken about 12 hours apart), and Ovitrelle for the ‘trigger shot’ given 36 hours prior to retrieval time. Your doctor may prescribe different varieties of similar medications. After the retrieval, your doctor will prescribe progesterone, possibly including a shot to coincide with implantation time. Progesterone can be an oral or suppository form (some people use the injectable form instead), generally taken until 10 -12 weeks if you get a positive.

3. Why do I have to take birth control before ‘stimming’? ‘Stimming’ is the lingo for the whole injectable stimulation phase. You’ll see people talking in IVF jargon on forums and this is part of that. Birth control before seems to be done for two reasons: 1) to help prevent cysts from forming during the stimulation phase, and 2) to get you on the right timing for coordination of the next phases of IVF.

4. What tests do I need to do prior to the IVF process? You’ll need some blood tests and workups prior to the IVF process, and guess what? Your partner gets to participate, too this time. You’ll both need to submit tests to move forward. For the woman, it’ll likely look something like this: Blood tests for Hep B, Hep C, Syphilis, and HIV 1,2 Ag+Ab; microbiological tests from a swab test for chlamydia, gonorrhea, and trichomoniasis; plus hormonal tests like FSH, LH and TSH (possibly more depending on what’s recommended). Your guy’s test will look similar except he’ll be doing a sperm test vs. hormonal testing and will submit his microbiological tests through urine. It sounds daunting, but take it one step at a time. We did hormonal tests right off the bat during our first appointment, followed by blood tests that were required, then did the final tests that were required with a swab.

5. How will the hormones affect my body during the IVF process? Let’s be honest, no one can answer that because we all react differently. Someone who’s 28 will likely respond differently than someone at 42, and different meds may cause different reactions on top of the fact that we all have different reasons for pursuing IVF, which may play into how we respond. Plus, we’re all individuals so it’s really just hard to say. All of that being said (which is absolutely of no use), I think it’s worth mentioning that you’ll read a lot of extremes online with people who react terribly to hormones and scare the life out of you with their experience. I thought I would gain 10 pounds during the week of injections and our doctor warned me that the bloating I may experience could mean that my jeans may not button up by the end of the week. That wasn’t the case for me (thank the Lord). I actually responded pretty well to the drugs and had good results all around – a bit of bloating but nothing too noticeable (though I was glad to not be in a swimsuit). I wore my normal clothes all week despite having resigned myself to assuming I’d be stuck in sweats towards the end. The only time I felt substantial bloat – and could really see it – was following egg retrieval. As far as personality and mood, I felt nothing and my husband has confirmed I was pretty much myself throughout the injection phase! Of course, this could differ from person to person depending on how you react to your prescribed meds, but in general, I’d say not to stress too much because ultimately it’s not within your control. Take it one day at a time and show your body some understanding for having to carry you through this process.

6. Do I need to inject myself? Yes, or your partner needs to inject you. If your partner is not a fan of needles (like mine) you’re better off doing it yourself. Honestly? Once you learn how to administer them, they’re a breeze; the least intimidating part of this process. The Gonal-F shots (if you’re on that) are pens that are super easy to use and virtually painless. The Orgalutran needle is a touch thicker so you’ll feel it a bit more (I didn’t like these ones very much) but they’re nothing to worry about. It takes less than 30 seconds to administer any given shot. The Ovitrelle is essentially the same as Gonal-F in terms of needle size. All in all, don’t be nervous about the shots! It seems intimidating but your doctor or nurse will show you how to administer the shot and once you’ve done it a couple of times you’ll start feeling like a pro. I literally took mine to dinner with me and would inject in the bathroom!

7. Can I exercise during this process? I was terrified about not being able to exercise during this whole process. Fortunately we were going the international IVF route which meant we were exploring new cities on foot, getting in plenty of steps each day to help sub for the lack of gym going. Generally speaking, the first few days are probably fine for workouts but after reading every forum and talking to the doctor, it’s better to stick to things like walking and yoga. Your body will be working hard during this whole process and your ovaries in particular will be swollen and bigger than normal. Exercising too hard risks injuries to them including ovarian torsion. It’s rare, but probably not worth the risk.

9. What scans are needed during this process prior to egg retrieval? I had a total of three scans prior to my egg retrieval. The first was done in Anguilla, where I live, to check out my situation after being on birth control for three weeks. They’re looking for a few key things including a lack of cysts on your ovaries. Provided this scan goes as anticipated, you’re cleared for take off (the injectable portion can begin a few days after finishing birth control). Once you start your injectables you’ll likely have at least two more scans (I had two): the first will see how your follicles are beginning to develop and you’ll get an idea of how many they can see at that point. The next scan will be later the same week a few days before retrieval to see how the follicles are continuing to grow during the stimulation phase. If they’re where they expect them to be at that point, they’ll likely prescribe the ‘trigger shot’ for you to administer 24 – 48 hours later to trigger ovulation. Fortunately, I didn’t have any issues and my scans were all where they were expected to be so my experience was probably fairly ‘standard’ if there is such a thing. If you have more challenges, there may be more scans involved to ensure that you’re not overstimulated during the process.

The Egg Retrieval + Transfer

30 IVF Questions and Answers
Prepping for Egg Retrieval

10. Is the egg retrieval painful? Honestly, I never once even thought about the pain part of this process. I was far too consumed with worrying about how the hormones were going to affect me to worry about pain! I know some people do get squeamish though, so you’ll be happy to know you’ll probably be put out for the retrieval process. I remember them setting me up for my IV, taking me to the operating room, and giving me a run down of what was going to happen. The next memory I have is being awake with my doctor telling me that they were done with the retrieval – it’s as if that piece of time is totally gone from my memory. No pain at all.

11. Is the egg transfer painful? It’s not supposed to be painful. The transfer is always described as a quick procedure, kind of like a souped up annual exam. My experience did involve some pain but lest I frighten anyone too much, I think it may have been atypical. It involved my cervix, and a needle, and ugh, it wasn’t pleasant. I had an involuntary spasm on the table because it shocked me so much (I always think I have a high pain tolerance), followed by what felt like intense menstrual cramps for a few moments while my body was calming down. Again, I think that’s atypical since most people discuss it being a pretty swift and simple process. Mostly there’s the pressure that you’ll be familiar with from a normal annual appointment, plus some things that are a bit uncomfortable. You’re told to go in with a full bladder to make it easier for the doctors, and that’s part of the discomfort.

12. What should I expect during the day of the transfer? The transfer is a simpler procedure than the retrieval and requires 5- 10 minutes for the actual process. You’ll want to arrive early of course, and need to have a full bladder to make the process easier for the doctors (they suggest drinking 3 – 4 glasses of water in the hour or two leading up to the appointment). I had read all sorts of things about having to remove nail polish, make up + hair products being banned, etc., etc. When I asked my doctor, her advice was to avoid anything heavily perfumed in general, but nothing stricter than that. Following the procedure, you’ll stay laying down for 5- 10 minutes and then you’re released. As crazy as it feels and sounds, you’ll go about your day like normal (no heavy lifting, and don’t run a marathon). Some doctors prescribe bed rest for 24 – 48 hours but many say resuming normal activities afterwards is totally fine within reason. At the end of the day, the real advice seems to be to listen to your body. If you’re tired, rest. If you feel like going on a walk, do it.

13. How many eggs should I transfer? That was one of our questions and clearly a big decision for most couples going through the IVF process. If you’re young (defined as <35) and your embryos are good quality, your doctor will probably advise transferring a single embryo or blastocyst, especially if it’s your first time (that was the case with us). If you’ve been through multiple failed transfers, the conversation may be different. If you’re older, two embryos may be suggested during the first go around depending on embryo quality and your age. Our doctor advised us but allowed us to ultimately make the decision when armed with the information. Multiples are a higher risk pregnancy so most doctors seem to err on the side of caution to protect the safety of the mom and baby.

14. Can I work during the week of my IVF procedure? You can work during the week of your retrieval and transfer, but after going through it, I’d probably suggest taking the week off if you’re able. I felt the worst following the egg retrieval (I was fine for the most part leading up to that day). You will experience the most bloating and tenderness during that time – everyone on online forums mentioned this, and that was the case for me, too – and it can be uncomfortable to the touch. You could totally go to work if need be, but you’d probably be more comfortable being able to rest and take it easy for the days following the procedure. Some women could probably work the day of the transfer, but it’s probably best to take the day (or at least half day) off. When it comes down to it, you won’t know how your body will respond until you’re going through it, so it’s comforting to know that you don’t have to maintain your normal routine if your body is desperately needing rest.

International IVF

30 IVF Questions and Answers
Prepping for my first IVF-related visit our clinic in Estonia

15. Is it less expensive to do IVF internationally? That depends hugely on a) where you’re coming from, and b) what destinations you’re looking at for your international IVF treatments. Generally speaking, IVF is expensive in the United States and as that’s where the bulk of my readers are from (and where I’m from originally), I’m going to assume your starting point is the US. For many, it requires a substantial amount of budgeting and finance talk to sort out how to move forward with IVF, and that’s compounded by the fact that medicines are more expensive in the US, too. In the US, it’s not uncommon to budget around $20,000 for an IVF cycle. At the IVF clinic in Barbados, for example, which is highly reputed, you’re looking at about $6000 for IVF or $7000 for IVF with ICSI. At Nova Vita in Tallinn, the clinic that we used, prices were a fraction of that. I should mention that pricing had nothing to do with us discovering our clinic. It was total serendipity thanks to a well-timed Christmas trip that had us visiting Tallinn. We absolutely adored the staff and experience there and chose to pursue IVF with them because of that. I think there can be a bit of a stigma attached to the international IVF process for Americans looking for treatments, assuming it’s a lesser product or an option for those that can’t afford treatment in the US. We were astounded by the people we worked with in Estonia and would recommend them to anyone!

I should mention that insurance may not cover IVF (likely won’t). I was excited when our insurance started covering bariatric surgery as I hoped that would mean more and more surgeries previously considered ‘elective’ were being reconsidered. Not the case with IVF. In fact, if your insurance is like ours anything done that has to do with the IVF process (even an ultrasound) won’t be covered by insurance. No meds, no scans, nothing. Plan on being out-of-pocket because that’s likely what will happen — hopefully there are strides made on this front to help aspiring families who do not have the budget to make IVF a reality but as of now it still seems to be a challenge.

16. Is the quality of the procedure as good internationally? This piggy backs on what I mentioned above. The question is less of which country you’re choosing and more about which clinic you’re choosing. Not all clinics in the US are created equal and the same can be said for clinics worldwide. Do your research and dialogue with the institution you’re looking to work with. We exchanged emails, had Skype calls with an administrator and our doctor, and had great communication channels since we couldn’t be with them face-to-face all the time. From my personal take on this, I’d say if you don’t feel as though you have a good communication channel with your specialist, it’s not worth it. There are many days that you’ll have questions about the process, the meds you’re taking, if you’re doing things right, etc., etc. and you need a team that is responsive to help get you through as stress-free as possible.

17. How do I go about securing my medications? Being in the Caribbean, this was a bit of a challenge as it required prep work and special orders. During our Skype call, our doctor provide a run down of what I’d be going through with meds and followed up with an email detailing exactly what I’d need. I was able to share that with a nearby pharmacist and special order the medications that were prescribed. The medication costs are generally separate from your IVF costs and the cost is not negligible. Expect to dole out thousands of dollars for the required shots you’ll need. This was a shock for us because the pricing we received varied SO hugely it was unbelievable. As an example, for one 450 IU pen of Gonal-F in Anguilla, we were quoted around $600 (maybe more), plus 21% duty (don’t even get me started on how unethical I think it is to charge duty on medications). That same medication in St. Maarten was about $300 per pen, no duty involved. That same medication in Estonia was around €110, no duty involved. You guys, this is the same medication, same labeling, used the exact same way and prices varied that considerably. We were shocked buying our meds in Estonia, realizing what a value they were – we had no idea and hadn’t expected to see savings in that regard.

18. How do I travel with medication? This was my biggest fear. Gonal-F in particular is a finicky med that has to be kept cold when you travel. If you’re like us, heading on a flight for 18+ hours, that’s a concern. I bought Insulpak’s insulated travel bag which was a lifesaver. You’ll insert a frozen gel pack inside (provided with the pack) and the front displays the temp. Even after 15+ hours, my meds never were warmer than 60 degrees or so. In terms of travel, I called TSA and airports to find out the best way to proceed with this gel pack and needles so it wouldn’t pose an issue. In our Caribbean airport, the people could seem to care less when I fed it through the scanner and no one said anything about it. In Europe, I pulled the pack out and ran it through separately and was open with TSA about what it was and about carrying meds that required refrigeration. They examined the case by hand but didn’t make any issue of it. Generally speaking, everyone was very accommodating and it was much less of an issue than I expected from the outset. At hotels, nearly every hotel room had a mini fridge I could use, and staff helped us out by re-freezing my gel pack in their freezers overnight before we’d depart. Moral of the story: people are happy to help if you ask so don’t be shy about sharing what you need!

19. When should I get to my destination for the IVF process? This was a debate for us as first timers going through the IVF process. You guys, it’s kind of scary the first time you do it! You don’t really know what to expect and you’re not sure how your body will react. For that reason, I chose to go fairly early. I flew out the day that I started my injections. That being said, the main issue is that I live on a small island where resources are limited. There aren’t doctors here versed in this process who would be able to tell me if things were progressing normally or not (if you live in the US, you may be able to use your OB/GYN for scans and monitoring in the beginning part of the injection phase). I had concerns about overstimulating – what if my body was going haywire? Who would I go to for help? For that reason specifically, we flew over very early so we could be with my doctor at Nova Vita for monitoring at the destination. I wouldn’t have done it any other way – there was so much comfort in having candid conversations with her, learning about the process, and knowing that I was safe and in good hands should anything go awry (there’s always a risk that your body won’t react well and the process can be cancelled part way through). My honest suggestion after having gone through it would be to be at your destination for the week of your scans leading up to the egg retrieval and transfer week. That means you’ll need at least two weeks away, probably more like two and a half. Having your go-to doctor see how you’re reacting and progressing is important and so key for peace of mind.

20. Can I travel immediately following the egg transfer? We were about to embark on a long journey after my egg transfer so of course I was concerned about flying after such a big procedure. It seems as though most doctors agree that flying is safe early on. Most forums suggest at least 24 hours to allow your body to rest if need be, and we chose to wait for a Monday flight after a Friday transfer (three days) so I could take things slowly. I’d say wait at least 48 hours. Remember that heavy lifting is an absolute no-no after the transfer so your partner will need to step in and help with luggage. My husband ended up taking care of all luggage so I was responsible for only my purse and we ended up checking bags that could have easily been carry-ons just to avoid extra lifting.

In Tallinn, Easter 2018
In Tallinn, during our IVF journey – making the most of our time away!

21. Will I have the energy to enjoy my travels during this time away? Okay guys, there’s no shame in enjoying your destination if you’re going to be away! Being in a new destination will keep your mind occupied and help build something fun into a time that is rather stressful for many couples. I had planned on being dead tired every day, with no energy to explore. I made dinner reservations at like 6PM before we left assuming I would never make it to a normal dining hour. I was amazed at how much better I reacted than expected. Don’t underestimate your body but take it one day at a time. We ended up have a great time exploring Helsinki, Estonia, and Latvia during our time away and I was totally fine walking for hours every day and going out to dinners at our normal dining time (around 8PM). I had a few days where I was moving a bit more slowly but walking felt good, even if it was at a slower pace. I had a couple of days that I needed a mid-day nap and I indulged in those when my body was needing them. Don’t go in expecting the worst, know your body is capable of more than you’re probably giving it credit for, but do have some grace with yourself if you’re tired and sluggish. Each day is a new day and may bring a different perspective so embrace it.

Helpful Hints + Questions for During and After the IVF Process

30 IVF Questions & Answers

22. Can I take a bath during the IVF stimulation process? Saunas? Hot tubs? I’m so not a bath girl but for some reason I was on a major bath-loving stint for like 2 weeks leading up to the treatment. Plus, we were in Finland and Estonia where sauna culture is SUCH a thing! Here’s the scoop I got from my doc: a bath or even a sauna is okay during the stimulation phase but all of that is absolutely off-limits after your retrieval. I chose to skip the sauna but did take a couple of baths (nothing scalding) leading up to the retrieval.

23. What should I pack (clothing-wise) for this process? Is this superficial? Maybe, but it’s more of a practical question I suppose. I packed a pair of stretchy leggings along with a maxi dress and maxi skirt that weren’t too tight around the mid-section. Again, I was fortunate in this so was able to fit into my jeans the whole time, which is not what I had expected. Some people do experience substantial bloat though where jeans are uncomfortable. Pack a few things that give and will allow you to be comfortable if your body is a bit tender. You may not need them (hallelujah!) but if you do, you’ll be happy to have something comfy to throw on.

24. Is it safe to drink coffee? Anyone else with me on needing their morning cup? This was one of my first questions after the retrieval. Leading up to the retrieval – no worries. After the retrieval – no worries. Beginning the day of the transfer, the general thought is to treat your body as if you’re pregnant. In terms of caffeine, they generally say to limit yourself to 200mg per day, which is about a standard cup of coffee. There are many studies linking excessive caffeine consumption to miscarriages so it’s not worth overdoing it. That being said, I scrapped it altogether and started drinking decaf beginning the day of the transfer. I’ve had some headaches since but nothing unbearable. Some days when my headaches are really bad (hormones exacerbate the headaches, ugh), I’ll opt for half-caf to help fight off the pain but nothing more.

25. Is it safe to consume alcohol leading up to the egg retrieval? Same as above. I had a glass of wine most nights we went out to dinner leading up to the transfer day. Even after retrieval I had a glass of wine with dinner. As of the day of transfer, those boozy brunches and evening glasses of wine are a no-go until you take your pregnancy test. If it’s positive, you’ll be booze free for the next 8 – 9 months! 🙂

26. Can I/should I exercise? Again, one of my major questions (still something I’m battling with!). There’s a risk of OHSS (ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome) following retrieval and transfer. You’re not in the clear just because the transfer is done, so the general suggestion is to keep it low-key for a couple of weeks. My doctor okayed walking, yoga (to an extent), stretching, etc., but said no to weights immediately following until a pregnancy test confirmed – or not – a pregnancy. If you do get a positive, it sounds like resuming your normal workouts is generally okay. For me, that means resuming my normal barre workouts plus cardio in the gym, but no HIIT or anything that involves jumping. Some modifications may need to be made, but definitely worth discussing with your doctor if you’re someone who works out intensely regularly. My workouts are regular (usually 4 – 5 days per week) but I’d consider them moderate (I’m not training for a marathon) so there’s no foreseen issues in resuming a healthy regimen again after we get a yay or nay. Right now, in the two-week wait, I’ve been sticking to stretching/yoga + walking on the treadmill at an incline for 30 – 40 minutes a day.

27. Should I take any supplements to help with this process? Folic acid is recommended for anyone thinking about getting pregnant and that’s the same here. Start taking folic acid prior to starting IVF and continue through the process. You’ll also end up taking progesterone following your egg retrieval and will continue that until week 10 or 12 if the pregnancy happens.

28. Is there anything else I can do to increase my chances of success? Don’t we all ask this? How do we give ourselves the best shot? There’s the obvious: if you smoke, stop. If you drink often, time to cut back and prepare to stop when your transfer happens. If your body weight is too low or too high, work on getting yourself healthy. The one piece of information that I continued to read over and over – this surprised me – was about acupuncture. While there’s no direct evidence showing that acupuncture helps with implantation, there seems to be some anecdotal evidence and many people who swear there’s a connection. Some people relate that to reducing stress and helping the process go more smoothly, but for some women, it can help with reproductive issues, making your body more receptive to the transfer. Most women who’ve gone this route share having acupuncture regularly leading up to the transfer day, then having acupuncture immediately following transfer as well. I didn’t do this, but did reach out to providers to try to schedule something but was unsuccessful in trying to coordinate (the one downside of doing international IVF is that your knowledge of local providers will be a bit limited). No one in Anguilla was able to assist me leading up to this process either, otherwise I would have gladly done weeks of acupuncture if it increased my chances!

29. When will I found out if IVF was successful for us? It depends on the day of your transfer. Depending on your eggs, your doctor and your personal preferences, you’ll likely either do a day 3 transfer (an embryo) or a day 5 transfer (a blastocyst). We actually did a day 4 transfer, which is more rare (they’re called ‘morulas’ at this stage) and I’ve read about a range of transfer days from day 2 – day 6. That being said, days 3 and 5 are the most common. The earlier you transfer, the longer you wait to find your results. Simple enough. Essentially the day of ‘conception’ is the day of retrieval. Generally the wait is between 12 and 14 days until you can get a blood test. Doctors suggest getting a blood pregnancy test, trying not to be too tempted to do a test at home (we’re waiting until our exact day to go in for testing). One of the presumed issues is all the hormones that have been in your body, potentially causing a false positive early on or the flip, getting a negative from testing too early and causing undue stress. The waiting period is stressful because there’s nothing you can really do to speed it up or help the process along, so plan on occupying yourself with something! We’ve stayed busy with work, and have tried to have some things planned in the evenings occasionally to keep our minds busy. Idle mind = way too much time for Google!

30. My main take aways as a newbie to this process? There are two things I’d say that I’ve learned about this process that I think are important: 1) It’s not as intimidating as it seems from the outset. Really, when you start investigating this whole world of IVF it’s astoundingly intimidating. There’s so much jargon, there are horror stories, and conflicting information. There are worries about injections and what they’ll do to your body. There’s worry that at the end of this all, it won’t work. We all have those fears – you’re not alone in them if you’re going through this – but when you take it one step at a time and break it down, it’s not as scary as it may seem. Finding the right doctor is key. You’ll want someone you can communicate with easily to help you define your timeline. Once you know your dates and understand each phase, it’s a matter of taking it one phase at a time until you’re finally there. 2) I can’t stress this enough: if you’re in a relationship while going through this, make sure your relationship is strong. Infertility issues tear people apart all the time, but on the flip side it can make your relationship super strong and make you appreciate your partner more than ever. I know I couldn’t have gone through this without Scott’s support through each phase (each day tormenting myself with questions and Google, only for him to help pull me back down to earth). Now, in the two-week wait phase, it’s been more important than ever to have a great partner to talk with. There’s a lot anxiety when you’re waiting for your results, and of course, the reality is that it may not go as we hope. We don’t know what our results are yet but we keep reminding ourselves that if this doesn’t stick, then it wasn’t meant to be this time around. It’s nothing we did that made this not work; it’s simply the reality that there can be chromosomal abnormalities or issues with implantation. IF that’s the case, that baby wasn’t meant to be and we can only hope that the next time is our time. Of course we’re praying and hoping over here that it’s a success but having someone to share either a) the happiness of success or b) the emotions of dealing with an unsuccessful IVF process is important. You don’t want to go through it alone, and at the end of the day, this isn’t just our process as women because we’ve physically been the ones going through this; it’s our process as a couple because it’s the beginning of a shared journey.

The one thing I’ll add in case this is helpful are some numbers, as I think I had a somewhat ideal experience; better than we expected from the outset. Generally, they shoot for somewhere between 10 and 15 eggs for retrieval (not too many as you don’t want to be overstimulated). I had 16 eggs retrieved. Of those 16, 12 were fertilized. We were updated on the status twice between retrieval and transfer day to give us an idea of how many were fertilized and then how many made it to day 3 successfully. We had 10 embryos make it to day 3. Of those, one was transferred on day 4 and 8 morulas were able to be frozen for future use and are currently residing in Tallinn.

Okay, it’s a lot to take in! This is not a typical travel related post for me – except for the international part of the IVF process – but I hope that for women out there doing research and preparing to embark on this journey find some help in reading this. I know I was scouring the internet for resources and there are a million forums out there to dig through. Reading first-hand experiences gave me some comfort in better understanding what I was about to go through, so I hope that this helps for someone out there! This is probably obvious, but I’ll note it anyway, I’m not a doctor so you should consult your doctor on questions that involve your personal concerns and any issues your body is experiencing. Have any questions? Feel free to leave me a comment below or you can email me directly – I’m happy to share my personal experience!

Shannon Kircher, The Wanderlust Effect

For anyone interested, our international IVF process was undertaken at Nova Vita Clinic in Tallinn, Estonia. I can’t speak highly enough about our experience and the team we worked with there. I highly recommend them and am happy to connect anyone who is interested in chatting with a contact there to learn more! 

More about Shannon Kircher

Shannon Kircher is the founder and editor of The Wanderlust Effect. Founded in 2009, she has continued to document her international escapes as an expat in Europe and the Caribbean. Additionally, Shannon is the founder of Compass & Vine, a luxury boutique travel design firm, and is the Director of Marketing for the Frangipani Beach Resort. Shannon holds an MSc in Social Policy and Development from the London School of Economics and is a current candidate for WSET Level 3 in Wines & Spirits.