The Mommyish Definitive Guide To Infertility: Injectable Medications and Intrauterine Insemination

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woman giving injectionYou’ve been trying for what feels like forever to get pregnant. You’ve met with doctors and specialists, probably argued with your insurance company at least once, and are on a first name basis with the gals in the blood lab. You’ve been told you have infertility. You’ve tried your luck with oral medications and still- not pregnant. Your doctor says the next course of action would be to try injectable medications and if that doesn’t work, an intrauterine insemination, or IUI. You figure you’ve come this far, why stop now. Here’s what you need to know about taking the next steps down the fertility treatment rabbit hole.

Do I need to do anything to prepare for taking the injectable medications?

Just the facts

Your doctor or a nurse will show you how to inject the medications, from filling the syringe to how and where to give the injection. Some medications need to be refrigerated. Like oral fertility medications, the timing can be particular so bear your work schedule and possible traffic in mind when deciding what time of day to do your injections. You may decide to have your partner or someone else perform the injection for you. When discussing the medication, be sure to ask your doctor if the office accepts discarded needles for disposal. If not, the pharmacy may have needle receptacles available for purchase.

The real deal

Before you even schedule the appointment to learn how to administer your injections, take time to grieve and be frustrated with this process. Maybe you need to take a couple months off from treatment or perhaps, like me, you need to have one really sad and bad night of ugly crying to come to terms with your situation. Whatever you have to do to wrap your head around it, do it and don’t feel bad about it. Your feelings of it being unfair, being jealous, or even feeling rage when you read or hear about kids being abused when you are trying so hard to have a baby- all of these feelings are common, and more importantly, they are valid.

If you are reading this in order to support someone you know going through infertility treatments, here’s the best way I know to describe what it’s like: most medical issues, you get the diagnosis like an earthquake. Total devastation all at once, and then you try to pick up the pieces. With infertility, its more like standing in the surf. Each wave is a separate month, and every time a month goes by without a pregnancy is like getting hit with the pain all over again.

As for the injections, most couples dealing with infertility love their doctors, but if you ever want to see a doctor squirm, or perhaps put a stuck-up med student in their place, ask them to show you exactly where on your body the injection goes and enjoy the blank look of horror when they can’t answer you. Nurses administer injections far more often than doctors and will have better pointers for you- like pinching the skin of your stomach before the injection to reduce pain.

My fertility clinic didn’t offer a service for disposal of used needles and with the cost of my medications, there was no way I was shelling out money for a plastic sharps container. I ended up using an empty laundry detergent container that we sealed with duct tape and took to the hazardous waste dump when full. Be forewarned that it can be tricky to find a place that will take used sharps and there may be a fee to dispose of them- like you haven’t spent enough already.

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