The IVF Protocol (And Other Paperwork)

Protocol, such an official term. What’s a protocol, you ask? The actual format differs from clinic to clinic, but at ACRM it’s basically a very detailed, day-by-day task list to get you from the start of your IVF cycle, through stimulation meds to the egg retrieval phase of IVF. (After egg retrieval, you receive an additional set of protocols to get you through embryo transfer and the beta pregnancy test.)

The protocol includes things you should be doing (i.e. scheduling a financial consult, paying your fees), to things you should be taking (i.e. birth control, baby aspirin, stim meds, trigger shots, etc.). It’s immersive and overwhelming. It was my IVF Bible for the weeks before egg retrieval – I literally referred to it several times a day and had copies on both my phone and work computer, as well as the master in my IVF binder. (More on the binder in a later post!)

My protocol was delivered through email by Katrina, my ACRM nurse, along with about 10,000 other documents to read, review, and sign. Just kidding, only 7. Here’s a list:

  1. My IVF protocol
  2. My medication list (the fertility drug list: Follistim, Menopur, Cetrotide, Novarel, Lupron, Progesterone… and the list goes on)
  3. Injection training instructions – 15 pages!! I videotaped myself scrolling through it to Snapchat a friend… maybe I’ll post it someday!
  4. More injection training instructions
  5. Injection training consent form – just to say you’ve read the instructions and all is crystal clear (ha, ha)
  6. “One Baby at a Time is Best” consent form – this is to agree to transfer in only one embryo at a time to minimize risks that come from a multiple pregnancy
  7. Disposition of embryos consent form – this one was very interesting, and deserves its own post. The question was, should we be able to freeze any embryos during the IVF process, what do we plan to do with them in the event of divorce or one/both of our deaths?
  8. IVF process and risks informed consent form

Did I already mention that this was overwhelming, AND exciting!? I remember being in a work meeting when I received these eight attachments in two emails, back-to-back… and it felt like the world stopped for a second. I thought, “Ahh! This is it!” … and proceeded to end the meeting as quickly as possible so that I could peruse the documents to my heart’s content.

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