What is assisted hatching?

Assisted hatching is an optional extra procedure used in IVF where a small hole is made in the shell (or ‘zona’) of a Day 3 embryo. This is supposed to help (in some cases) the embryo ‘hatch’ out of its shell and transform itself into a blastocyst (usually on Day 5). Is it publicly funded? Should we ask about it? Are there any risks? A few thoughts and some links to a really good site. […]

Conflicting expert opinions – how do I know who’s right?

So, you finally plucked up the courage to go for a second opinion, and guess what – now you have two or more well-qualified and plausible experts with compelling arguments telling you to do the exact opposite. Who should you trust? Who’s more credible? And, can’t we just rely on the scientific literature to give us the answers? […]

We did IVF but had heaps of empty follicles – help!

Some of us do IVF, go for those scans and see hardly any follicles after all those injections. Others are relieved to see a healthy crop developing as they go through their cycles. Unfortunately, the number of follicles (or “follies”) doesn’t necessarily equate to the number of eggs collected. And for some women, a huge […]

Can I get travel insurance with an IVF pregnancy?

So you’ve been through (or, are about to go through) the white knuckle ride of IVF cycles and all you desperately need at this point (apart from a 40-week pregnancy) is a nice, relaxing break overseas on some tropical island. But you have a cycle coming up and there’s a slight chance that this one […]

When and how should I seek a second opinion?

Suppose you had a friend who was grappling with a cancer diagnosis and kept wondering whether his/her specialist had really considered all the possible treatment angles that might work. Suppose he or she had been receiving some treatment but there hadn’t really been any sign of progress. What would you advise? Probably a second opinion, right? For some unknown reason, fertility patients seem to struggle with this notion that it’s somehow disloyal to seek a second opinion. Yes, it is awkward. But actually, it’s just good common sense if there’s any little voice inside your head saying “maybe there’s a better way …” If you think you might want to get a second opinion on your case, here’s what to do … […]

We’ve had multiple losses – what should we be asking about?

“We seem to have no trouble getting pregnant, but we’ve had several first trimester losses.” Or, “We put back good-looking embryos every time, but they just don’t stick.” If this sounds like you, here are a few ideas you might want to discuss with your doctor.

Miscarriages can be caused by any one or more […]

Choosing a good acupuncturist

There’s some good evidence that acupuncture can enhance your odds whether you are ttc naturally or using ART (IUI, IVF). But how on earth do you choose a GOOD acupuncturist? Here are a few tips to help you, including: * How to tell if your acupuncturist is NOT a good choice * The scoop on NZ and other acupuncture qualifications and credentials * A list of recommended acupuncturists from around the country * Questions to ask a prospective acupuncturist before agreeing to work with them […]

2-day, 3-day or blast transfer?

When you do IVF, it is possible to transfer your embryos * on Day 2 after egg collection (usually 4-cell embryos), * on Day 3 after egg collection (usually 8-cell embryos) or * on Day 5 (after the embryos have reached blastocyst stage). Also, leftover embryos can be frozen on any of these days too. What are your options, what should you consider when deciding, and how/when should you talk to your doctor, nurse, embryologist about all this? […]

Our IVF/IUI/TI cycle just failed … What should we be asking at the review?

After all that anxiety, fear, hope and expectation, a failed cycle is just devastating. You’re booked for a review appointment with your specialist – but what should you be asking about now? The most important question, of course, is WHY your cycle failed. There could be many possible explanations, some of which are just guesses and some of which are backed by concrete evidence or could be investigated further. […]

New and “untested” treatments

“My doctor talked about the ethics of infertility treatment and how some clinics will try (and charge for) all sorts of unproven treatment where often there was no medical reason for a particular patient to require that unproven treatment.” The unproven treatment issue is a really interesting one because most medical professionals consider “proven” to mean something supported by multiple randomised controlled trials. The problem is that cutting-edge ideas are new and haven’t had the chance to be sufficiently trialled (or, in some cases, don’t lend themselves to such randomised designs for ethical and/or practical reasons). So, should all the new ideas be ignored until they are considered “proven”? […]