In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is one of the most popular and rewarding fertility treatments which helps in childbirth. If you have turned to IVF for the first time, naturally, you will have many doubts. One of the most common questions most females ask is this – “ Is IVF a painful process?”.
Pain is perceived differently by different people. For example, for some women, egg extraction and embryo implantation can cause minor pain, whereas, for some others, it could be painless.
IVF is also an emotionally overwhelming journey, and you will need to prepare your mind, body, and soul in unison. However, the reward you get for IVF success is immeasurable happiness.
IVF is a complex process involving multiple steps. Understanding the IVF process in detail will help you prepare your mind for it and have realistic expectations.
On the second or third day of the period, the female partner is injected with Ovulation stimulation medication to release eggs timely. The injection helps release multiple eggs from ovaries, ensuring higher chances of IVF success.
The female partner may experience minor cramps, sensations like ant biting, or other painful symptoms after external hormonal stimulation.
The female partner undergoes regular ultrasounds to monitor follicular maturation. Then, 36 hours before retrieval, an HCG injection or “trigger shot” is directly injected into the ovaries to expedite egg maturation and release eggs easily from the follicle.
Next, before egg retrieval, local anesthesia is given to numb the pain sensations. Then, the egg is retrieved via a special catheter. This process may take some time and cause pain or discomfort to the female partner.
However, egg retrieval can be a smooth process for many women, but for some, it can be painful during and after egg extraction. The female partner can experience cramping or spotting after egg retrieval due to scarring inside the uterus. But the IVF specialist takes special care to subdue these symptoms.
The sperm sample is also collected through ejaculation or TESE. Testicular sperm extraction or TESE is done if the male partner has azoospermia (low sperm count) or testicular blockage. The sperms are extracted under local anesthesia with a small incision or puncture in the scrotum.
Since it is done under local anesthesia, the male partner will not feel any pain. However, later, it can cause mild to moderate pain, discomfort, or swelling in the testicular region for some time. The male partner may be prescribed analgesic medications to numb paining sensations.
Fertilization And Embryo Preparation
Next, the sperms and eggs are fertilized and incubated (embryo matured) in the lab. It is a completely lab-based process whose result depends significantly on many factors, including lab expertise.
Preimplantation Genetic Testing is embryo testing done to identify and eliminate defective embryos. It is also a lab-based process.
Before implantation, the female partner’s womb is prepared for conceiving. A controlled dosage of progesterone injections is given, due to which the endometrial wall becomes thicker and more fertile to conceive the embryo. The embryo burrows in the endometrial wall and implants.
Just before implantation, local anesthesia is given to numb paining sensation during implantation which can be time taking and invasive procedure. During implantation, the embryo is loaded with the catheter and placed in the uterine cavity. The female can feel some pain and discomfort while inserting the catheter via the cervix.
After the procedure, the female can feel cramping due to possible scarring of the endometrial wall, and by-passing cervix with a catheter. The intensity of pain may vary from one female partner to another but some pain is usually expected after implantation.
A pregnancy test is taken 14-15 days after implantation. The female partner can feel cramping, which is considered a good sign of pregnancy because the embryo burrows and docks in the endometrial lining.
If the question is direct,” is IVF a painful process?” then yes, it is painful to some extent. The pain will vary from person to person, depending on many factors.
We have tried to describe what the pain will be like at each step of the process to make you aware that going through IVF is not a cakewalk, and it might trouble you either with pain or with other symptoms with ovulation medications. But, when you measure the procedural pain to the happiness you can get with the procedure’s success- it is immeasurable.
The physical pain is already described, but some might also hurt emotionally if the IVF fails. We encourage you to be optimistic and try again because in many cases, pregnancy is confirmed in the second or third cycle.
Also, some people ask, “Is IVF safe?” which is yes. IVF is a very safe and well-established ART-based procedure that has helped many barren couples have children and still serves the purpose.
Dr. Ramit Kamate is a highly qualified and skilled Infertility specialist to solve your infertility issues. Here is what patients say about him.
Visit Nakshatra Clinic to discuss your fertility issues, IUI, or IVF procedures.