Whether you are traveling across your state or across the world for IVF, it is likely you will be flying with medications. And that can prove to be challenging – but nothing you can’t handle, as long as you plan ahead.
First, make sure that you have enough medication in your carry on bag to last for several days. After all, airlines do lose luggage – and it isn’t fun (and certainly adds to unwelcome stress) if you have to try to to replace medication that is lost somewhere between Cleveland and Paris in your luggage. Of course, it can often be replaced, but not without a lot of stress and hassle – so save yourself from that potential stress!
Since you will be traveling with medications that may have special handling (needles, swabs, temperature requirements, etc.) make sure you also plan ahead for this. Check with your pharmacy for special cooling packs designed for air travel if you have to keep medication chilled. According to the TSA, gels or frozen liquids to keep medications chilled are okay, so you might be fine with a small cooler and frozen gel pack or limited amounts of dry ice, depending on how far and long you are traveling. It is also okay to carry more than the 3oz. maximum of liquid or gel if it is medically necessary. The full TSA guidelines can be found here: http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/specialneeds/editorial_1059.shtm
It is usually also a good idea to keep the original boxes or bottles that the medication came in (with your prescription written on it if possible). Additionally, I recommend getting a letter from your IVF clinic or pharmacy listing the medications you are carrying for your personal use and the medical necessity that they are in your carry on luggage. You may never need it, but better to have it than not if you are asked.
And don’t forget, if you do put any medication in your checked luggage, make sure it is not something that needs to be at a stable temperature. The heat or cold in luggage holds of an airplane (boiling hot in summer or actually freezing in winter) may be well outside of the recommended guidelines for your medications – so be sure you know in advance whether it will potentially impact any of your medications–usually the liquids and gels are most susceptible.
Another important thing to consider is adjusting your medication schedule for your new time zone. This might not be a big deal if you are only one time zone away, but when it is a 6 or 8 or 10 hour time zone difference from your home to the clinic destination, you need to be able to adjust the timing of when you take the medication to stay on schedule and keep the medication levels in your body stabilized. Sometimes, you can adjust by one hour per day until you are on a reasonable dosing schedule. Sometimes it is easier to just start your medication timing based on your destination time zone. It is always a good idea to discuss this with your clinic so you have a solid plan and understand whether it is important to take a medication at a specific time, or within some time parameters (such as within one hour before or after your regularly scheduled time).
One last word of advice….if you happen to be traveling with the medication Crinone (which comes in an applicator) and need to insert a dose while you are in midair, be aware that altitude can have a funny impact on those applicators and you might be surprised by the “eruption” of gel when you twist off the cap. Just imagine what happens to those yogurt cups and salad dressing packets that always seem to explode on your clothes during a flight….well, you get the idea. Better to be prepared than surprised!