FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

How do I start an IVF cycle?

FAQ's How do I start an IVF cycle? Your first step is to request a consultation. We will contact you to schedule a consultation with one of our Fertility Specialists. You do not need a referral letter for this appointment. It is advisable that you fax or bring a copy of any previous medical records, which are relevant to your fertility. After your consultation with the consultant, if an IVF cycle has been decided as the treatment most suitable for you, you will have a consultation with a Clinical Nurse Coordinator. At this consultation our nurse will give you a full overview and orientation of the details and procedures involved in an IVF cycle. Our nurse will also give you a step-by-step outline of what to expect during your treatment and any additional tests required.

What routine testing is required prior to IVF at Barbados Fertility Centre?

All couples undergoing IVF at BFC require pre-cycle testing. You can contact us for a general list of these tests. The list appropriate to you will be available after your initial consultation. To schedule a consultation, please complete this form.

What are the side effects of medications used in IVF?

In general, the IVF medications used to prepare the uterus and to stimulate the ovaries only have temporary symptoms such as abdominal bloating, minor headaches, hot flushes and mood swings. The medications are not known to carry any long-term risks of cancer of the ovary, unless there is a family history of ovarian cancer. The most serious side effect would be ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

How many eggs should I expect to get?

Your in-cycle monitoring ultrasound scans will be able to give you an accurate count of how many follicles are developing. However, not every follicle always contains an egg. Usually about 80% of follicles yield an egg. The number of eggs collected is dependant upon each patient's response, but on average, we normally obtain10 per retrieval.

Are the procedures involved in IVF painful?

The pre-IVF cycle lab work tests include drawing of blood for various tests and an evaluation of the cavity of the uterus called a saline infusion sonogram (SIS). The sonogram can be done in your gynecologist's office and you should experience minimal discomfort. You will also have injectable fertility medications, which are administered subcutaneously with a short needle. Discomfort should be tolerable. The egg retrieval is performed through the vagina with ultrasound and a fine needle. Patients at Barbados Fertility Centre are asleep during this procedure. The procedure is known as conscious sedation. This is not a general anesthetic, but patients are not awake and they have no pain. Patients wake up very quickly after the egg retrieval, which usually lasts 15-30 minutes. The embryo transfer procedure is similar to a Pap smear or IUI procedure and is generally performed with minimal discomfort.

What activity restrictions should I follow after my embryo transfer?

Once you are discharged, we recommend our patients rest the day of the embryo transfer procedure. Normal activities can be resumed the day after. We do not recommend any high-impact activities or over-exertion until the pregnancy test. We also advise patients to avoid any hot tubs/jacuzzis or hot baths during this time. Sexual intercourse can resume at any time depending on the female patient’s level of comfort after the egg retrieval.

I am on the birth control pill (BCP) and spotting - is this normal?

Yes, breakthrough bleeding is one of the most common side-effects of the pill. If you are having any bleeding or spotting and are concerned, phone your nurse coordinator. However, it is nothing to be worried about as the medication is still having the desired effect. You still need to continue the pill every day until directed by your clinic to discontinue.

Can my endometriosis affect my fertility or IVF cycle?

Endometriosis is a medical condition where cells that usually remain confined to the cavity of the uterus, grow outside of the uterus usually on or in the ovaries and also on the surface of the pelvic cavity between the uterus and the rectum. Endometriosis can cause pelvic pain and may also decrease the chances of natural conception, as it can affect tubal function and ovulation. Patients who require IVF and who have endometriosis should still have the same chances of a successful outcome as patients of the same age without endometriosis.

What types of treatments are offered at Barbados Fertility Centre?

We offer a complete range of fertility treatments from IVF and embryo freezing to our customized Healthy Body/Mind Program. To learn more, visit our Treatments page.

What about alternative treatments like acupuncture?

Acupuncture and Reflexology, administered by an experienced practitioner who is aware of your medical diagnoses and treatment plan, can facilitate relaxation as well as optimize ovarian response and implantation. We encourage our patients to seek assistance in these areas. Herbal medicines can be helpful but also potentially dangerous. We ask our couples to review any herbal medication with us prior to starting a course. They need to be dispensed under the guidance of an experienced practitioner.