10 Thoughtful Gifts for Women Going Through IVF
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- A calming candle: Project 62 Lavender + Eucalyptus Candle
- An acupressure mat: ProsourceFit Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set
- A humorous mug: ‘I Like My Eggs Fertilized’ Mug
- A meal subscription service: Freshly
- Bath salts: Dr Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Therapeutic Soak
- Comfy socks: TeeHee Socks
- A good book (and a good laugh): Hilariously Infertile: One Woman’s Inappropriate Quest to Help Women Laugh Through Infertility
- A heating pad: Sunbeam Heating Pad
- A fertility caddy: MyVitro Fertility Caddy
- Decorative bandages: Welly Waterproof Bravery Badges
Odds are you know someone who is going, or has gone, through in vitro fertilization (IVF) — an incredibly invasive and all-encompassing procedure that’s part of an already long journey to conceive a child.
Each IVF cycle generally takes about 2 weeks and requires daily injections, frequent ultrasounds, blood work visits with a fertility specialist… yeah, it’s tough.
“The process of IVF, while significantly improving efficiency to pregnancy, can be fraught with physical and mental stress, anxiety, and uncertainty,” says Anate Brauer, MD, reproductive endocrinologist and IVF director at Shady Grove Fertility in New York City.
She says that many women experience a lot of abdominal pain as a result of the larger ovaries. They are often asked to stop exercising, which can have a significant impact.
Managing these side effects alone can be very taxing.
Egg retrieval is a short surgery where the eggs are retrieved. The patient must take a day off on this day, which can be extremely stressed as questions about work and social event absences mount.
“The experience of undergoing inseminated woman is not easy and can affect nearly every aspect of a person’s life.”
One of the best things you can do is offer yourself as an outlet of support for a friend or loved one going through IVF.
“It is a beautiful thing when an IVF patient has a strong support system consisting of a partner, family members, and/or friends that they can lean on during the trials and tribulations of the process,” says Dr. Mark Trolice, director of The IVF Center and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine.
And while you can’t take away the stress, anxiety and frustration that often comes along with the IVF experience, you can send a care package full of products that can be helpful during this difficult time in your friend’s life. We’ve got ideas to get you started.
- $ = under $10
- $$ = $10–$20
- $$$ = over $20
A calming candle
Project 62 Lavender + Eucalyptus Candle
After a long day of medical treatments, it’s nice to come home to a peaceful environment made more relaxing by candlelight. Not only does this lidded, three-wick candle smell ah-may-zing, but it’s also scented with lavender, which has been linked to a reduction in anxiety and depression, among other things.
“The candle flickering light will help ease the stress of the day, and the stylish jar will make a nice addition to your friend’s living room or bedroom decor.”
An acupressure mat
ProsourceFit Acupressure Mat and Pillow Set
These cushioned mats, which work similarly to an acupressure massage, can help relieve the aches and pains associated with IVF treatments, Trolice notes.
“The mat has spiky pressure points on it. Reviewers praise it. One describes it as evil, but effective, while another says it’s a great relief.”
To use, you simply lay back on the pressure points to help release tight muscles. It’s a great gift, but it couldn’t hurt to get your friend something else more obviously comforting, too.
A humorous mug
‘I Like My Eggs Fertilized’ Mug
The experience of undergoing inseminated woman is not for the faint of heart, and the whole process can feel very serious.
It is a great idea to give your friend a mug that will make them smile and lift their spirits.
A meal subscription service
“It’s not easy to get a fuss-free dinner on the table after a long day of work, treatments, and social commitments. Freshly can be used in that situation.”
Each week, your friend will receive fresh, chef-cooked meals that can be heated and served in 3 minutes. Unlike meal kits, they only have to microwave and enjoy.
Dr Teal’s Pure Epsom Salt Therapeutic Soak
A bath at the end of a long day can help relieve some of the pain and inflammation that your friend may be feeling from injections. Adding salts to a bath can be a stress-reducing activity.
There’s no evidence that the body can actually absorb enough magnesium from Epsom salts to make an impact, but the smell is nice, and the silky sensation of the water will have them feeling more relaxed in no time.
These socks are super soft and comfortable.
“The pack comes with two pairs of shoes that don’t have to be cinched around the ankle to slip on and off. They are a great add-in for a gift basket or a cozy gift.”
A good book (and a good laugh)
Hilariously Infertile: One Woman’s Inappropriate Quest to Help Women Laugh Through Infertility
The title of the book suggests that it is a self-deprecating take on the struggles that only those who have gone through infertility will understand. It dives into the harsh realities of the experience while finding humor in the scenarios that people are trying to conceive.
This read is sure to remind your friend that they are not alone.
A heating pad
Sunbeam Heating Pad
One of the best at-home remedies for the pain that your friend might be experiencing after egg retrieval surgery is a heating pad — and ideally one large enough to wrap around their entire stomach and backside. This one is extra large and heats in seconds so your friend can experience instant warming relief.
A fertility caddy
MyVitro Fertility Caddy
It is nice to have control over how you organize your medication when you are undergoing fertility treatments. That is what the fertility caddy was designed to do.
It has a large bottom section and two fold-out trays so your friend can store their medication safely and see it when they need it. Marie Kondo, move on.
Welly Waterproof Bravery Badges
This is a fun way to support your friend while they are undergoing IVF. They will have something to smile about, instead of covering the injection sites with a beige bandage, you will know you thought of them.
Most couples or individuals are very unsuccessful in their attempts at instument.
Sending a gift is a wonderful idea, but it is important to be aware of who you are buying for.
A funny book may bring joy to your sarcastic friend, but it may not be the best gift for your sensitive sister. Maybe someone like her would appreciate a set of candles or bath salts.
Chances are you know what the basics of IVF are.
You are probably not familiar with some elements. Here are some key facts about the process of inseminated women.
The five stages of IVF
Ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, sperm retrieval, fertilization of the egg, and transfer are the five stages of in-vivo.
- Ovarian stimulation. This preliminary stage of an IVF cycle involves taking prescription medications that a person injects into their lower abdomen on a daily basis. This is to stimulate their ovaries to produce several follicles, or eggs, as opposed to a single egg that’s produced during a typical menstrual cycle.
- Egg retrieval. The person will be monitored via vaginal ultrasound to make sure their eggs have grown to the right size. Once they’ve grown enough, an egg retrieval appointment will be scheduled. People are given what’s called a “trigger shot” via subcutaneous injection about 36 hours before the retrieval. During the procedure the person is sedated, and the doctor uses fine needle aspiration to carefully remove the eggs. Retrieval generally takes 20 to 30 minutes.
- Sperm retrieval. If the person is using their partner’s sperm, this will be collected via semen sample the morning of the egg retrieval.
- Fertilization. During this process, the sperm and eggs are placed in a petri dish in the laboratory and left to incubate overnight. After about 20 hours, the medical team determines whether fertilization occurred. If fertilization was successful, the fertilized egg will be given up to 6 days to develop.
- Embryo transfer. If the fertilized egg developed successfully, an embryo transfer will be scheduled. Most people will take special hormones to help thicken their uterine lining beforehand. During this procedure, the doctor places a catheter through the cervix into the uterus via guided vaginal ultrasound, and the embryo(s) are placed through. If there are any additional embryos that were fertilized but not used, they can be frozen for future transfers.
How long does IVF take?
A single cycle of IVF can take up to 4 weeks. Depending on how a person reacts to the medications and processes, it can take longer.
Hormonal changes during IVF treatment
“Gonadotropins, a hormone that stimulates the growth of the follicle, is one of the hormones that is given to a person during an inseminated woman’s cycle.”
The hormones can have side effects that can be physical and emotional. It is not easy to determine if the changes in emotions are related to stress or hormones.
It can be isolating when you are on the journey of inseminated humans. Let your friends know that you are there for them by giving them a gift or by lending an ear. It will probably mean more than you know.