We know what you’re probably thinking: I’ve been waiting to start IVF for how long? I’ve already put in so much time, money, and effort…I won’t make a mistake. But, we also know that we’re human, and things happen. With IVF, there are so many moving parts, and even the most Type-A fertility patient can make a mistake. 

What are some common IVF medication errors?

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most common errors fertility patients with their IVF medications, so that, hopefully, you can keep them in mind and prevent them from happening to you!  

1. Panicking

If you’re scared of needles, then IVF is probably your own personal nightmare, and we really, truly feel for you. But everyone panics over IVF shots, not just you. And the anticipation is worse than the actual shot itself, we promise. 

If you’re feeling queasy at the thought of giving yourself an injection, try leaning into your partner or a loved one during this time. Putting your partner on injection duty is actually a great way to get them involved and will help you feel like less of the burden is on your shoulders.

Lastly, Rescripted is here for you every step of the way. You can view our full library of injection training videos here. Remember, these medications are designed with your safety in mind, and anything that could go awry is fixable with a call to your doctor, nurse, or fertility pharmacist. 

2. Not refrigerating the meds that need to be kept cold

Getting that first big box of IVF meds can be daunting. It’s a completely normal reaction, when receiving your meds, to put the box in a spare room until you actually need it. But there are certain IVF meds that need to be refrigerated, so please don’t do this! Instead, open the box, make sure it includes everything that was prescribed to you, and refrigerate the meds that need to be kept cold. Everything else, you can throw in a corner until the big IVF-start date comes around.

3. Not taking your medication at the recommended time every day

Once you’re in the thick of IVF, remembering to take your daily medications on time is crucial for optimal success. When you receive your protocol from your doctor, write down exactly when you should be taking each medication, double, and then triple-check. 

Take it from us: getting organized will be one of your superpowers during the IVF process. With Rescripted’s medication management tools, you can set medication text reminders to your phone, which is really helpful when you have a million different things you have to remember every day. 

4. Running out of supplies (or worse, medication)

When it comes to fertility treatments, there is a lot to keep track of, and it’s easier than you think to overlook running low on supplies. If you reach for your daily injection and realize that you’ve run out of needles (or worse, medication), there are a few options available to you. 

First, most fertility specialty pharmacies–like Rescripted Rx–have 24/7 pharmacist support, so start by giving them a call. They might be able to get the medication out to you same-day, or at least with next-day air shipping.

Be sure to also call your fertility clinic and ask what it will mean for your cycle if you have to skip one dose of medication. Most likely, all will be fine, but there might be follow-up steps you need to take to get back on track, so be sure to consult with your doctor before moving forward

If it’s the supplies that you’ve run out of, simply call your clinic and ask if they can provide some supplies to hold you over until you’re able to get more from your pharmacy.

5. Bending the injection needle

If you're an IVF newbie, it's important to note that the needles used to administer IVF medication are typically very thin. Because of this, you might accidentally bend the needle when putting it in the vial of medication. If this happens, try extracting the needle from the vial. If that’s not working, then try to disconnect it from the syringe. Once again, don’t panic; this is usually a pretty easy fix. And when all else fails, call your nurse or fertility pharmacist. 

6. Getting air in the needle

Something you'll want to avoid during IVF is getting air in the needle prior to injecting the medication. If you do make this mistake, the easiest fix for it is to make sure you are not inserting the needle so deeply that the tip is going above the level of liquid in the vial. If you keep it under the liquid level, it should ensure that you are pulling that into the syringe.  

If the problem persists, you might not have a full seal between the needle and the syringe, or there might be a small crack in the syringe. Extract the needle and syringe from the vial and try again with a new needle on a new syringe. 

7. Forgetting to take your trigger shot at the exact right time

The egg retrieval procedure is always scheduled 35 hours after the first trigger shot, which usually contains Lupron or HCG. The trigger shot stimulates both the final maturation of the eggs and your ovulation, so timing is very important. 

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If life gets in the way and you can’t get to your trigger shot at the exact right time, contact your clinic. There might be a way to squeeze you in for egg retrieval later in the day to make up for the lost time. After all, your doctors are on your side and want to see you achieve your goal of a healthy baby at the end of all of this. 

8. Eating or drinking before egg retrieval

The egg retrieval process is done under anesthesia or conscious sedation. Before the procedure, your clinic will advise you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your retrieval. Please heed these instructions! While minimally invasive, egg retrieval is a surgical procedure, and certain precautions need to be taken.

If you do accidentally eat or drink before your egg retrieval, there is the option to do the procedure without conscious anesthesia, but nobody wants to do that! So, set friendly reminders, write notes for yourself, and do whatever you need to do to remember the pre-op instructions so you can set yourself up for as much success as possible. 

9. Googling

Google will make every IVF mistake feel like the end of the world. If you do slip up during the IVF process, please don’t ask the internet what that could mean for your cycle. Instead, inform your doctor or nurse about the error, and ask them what your next steps should be. Self-diagnosing is never good for your mental health, so try to avoid it at all costs! 

10. Not preparing

The IVF process will test your limits: physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. One of the best things you can do prior to starting IVF is to prepare yourself as much as possible. Prepare your finances. Be ready for the tidal wave of physical changes that will happen to your body, the onslaught of emotions that will undoubtedly arise, and the mental stamina it will take to make it through a cycle. Get yourself organized. Those are the best ways to avoid mistakes and increase your chances of a big fat positive.

Set yourself up for IVF success

While not all of the items on this list were directly related to your IVF medications, the truth is that the IVF process is more than just injections. It’s a complete overhaul of your daily life, and that increases the margin for error. However, if you can prepare yourself, get organized, stick to a schedule, and put the rest of your faith and trust in your care team, you will get through this unscathed, we promise. As always, Rescripted is here to support you. 

Brighid Flynn is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia where she lives with her husband and puppy. She is just beginning her journey toward motherhood.