Can I Have Sex During IVF?
In-Vitro Fertilization allows couples with infertility issues to embrace parenthood. The IVF treatment is a multi-step process. During each phase of the cycle, a set of different restrictions and guidelines are recommended which the couples are expected to follow to witness the success of the procedure. However, there is often a lot of dust around the impact of IVF on the sex life of couples. In this article we clear your doubts and answer the question, ‘can you have sex while doing IVF’.
IVF is one of the most popular assisted reproductive techniques. It involves the collection of semen and ova from both intended parents and in-vitro fertilization of the eggs and sperm. Following that, the healthy embryos are transferred into the uterus of the mother, which if implanted result in pregnancy.
Before your IVF cycle starts, you and your partner will be examined to analyze the quality of eggs and sperm. In addition to that, your doctor will also check if your ovaries and uterus are physically capable of coping with the procedure. Based on these findings, a course of IVF treatment is prescribed.
Your IVF cycle begins with the stimulation of the ovaries through hormone injections. This is done to facilitate the maturation of several follicles at a time so that multiple eggs can be extracted for the procedure. It is because not all eggs will have superior quality or succeed in the fertilization process to give an embryo.
The next step in the IVF treatment process is egg retrieval where multiple eggs are collected from your ovary, just prior to ovulation. Men usually donate their semen the same day and primarily do that through masturbation. If infertility is due to a lower sperm count, then semen can be collected by a slightly invasive procedure.
The eggs and sperms are mixed to fertilize in a Petri dish. Or, a single, good-quality sperm might be injected into a single ovum in case the quality of the sperm is an issue. If fertilization is successful, then after 4-5 days, the desired number of growing embryos are transferred to the mother’s uterus.
Two weeks after the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test confirms the success of the IVF.
Is Sex During IVF Unsafe?
Sex is considered to be an important part of relationships. However, certain fertility treatment procedures often impose restrictions on the time and frequency of intercourse. While some enjoy taking the risk and carry on with their regular schedule for intercourse only to suffer later due to consequent complications, some others get too afraid to switch back to normalcy that their relationship suffers a setback.
IVF is no different. You will often hear advice to abstain from sex during the treatment. In addition to that, many women undergoing the procedure also reveal that their sex drive plummets during the treatment.
Therefore, let us understand why sex during IVF is taboo and if it is necessary to absolutely keep it at bay until your baby comes out. For that, we will walk you through the different stages of an IVF cycle and try to give you an insight into how your sex life might change during that.
Stimulation Of Ovaries
The first step in IVF is stimulating the ovaries through hormones. This leads to enlarged ovaries. During the simulation process, the aim is to cause more than one follicle to mature which often makes the ovaries cystic.
The enlarged ovaries make it uncomfortable for most women to have sex. In addition to that, there is the fear of ovarian torsion or a cyst getting rupture. However, if you feel comfortable, then you can have intercourse, but make sure to use a condom. It is because, in case you experience unexpected, early ovulation, that might result in multiple pregnancies which can be harmful.
Egg and Semen Retrieval
Men are advised to abstain from sex at least 2-3 days prior to donating the sperm in order to maintain appreciable quality and quantity. After semen collection, they are free to engage in sexual activities as per their choice. However, for women, the story is a little different. Even after egg retrieval, the ovaries are still enlarged and tender.
So, they themselves might not feel comfortable for sex. Moreover, intercourse is discouraged for two weeks after that so that the resulting contractions do not interfere with the initial stages of implantation. As the risk of infection after egg retrieval also increases, it is better to stick to the restriction.
The most important part of the answer to ‘can you have sex while doing IVF’ lies in this section. After your in-vitro fertilization is successful, one or more healthy embryos will be released into your uterus and are allowed to get implanted. Doctors recommend against sex for at least two weeks post embryo transfer.
It is because the contractions of the uterus during intercourse will hamper implantation and might lead to a failed IVF. However, once a pregnancy test confirms the success of the procedure, you can have sex as per your convenience.
Despite the lockdown on intercourse, it is important for couples to try and stay intimate. Intimacy is not just measured in terms of sex. There are other ways through which closeness can be experienced. IVF is both physically as well as mentally challenging. With tonnes of injections, procedures and the anxiety about the consequence, the period of treatment might be too hard on the couples.
Therefore, it is important to be each other’s support and help each other sail through the tough time. Express your vulnerabilities and comfort your partner in a way that is convenient and safe for them. Most importantly, try to fit yourself in their shoes and understand why they are feeling a certain way.
Hope you got the answer to ‘ can you have sex while doing IVF.’ Keep in touch with your doctor for queries and try not to go off track with the advice. Have patience and that will certainly reap results.