5 Ways to Cope with In Vitro Fertilization
For many couples, learning that In vitro fertilization (IVF) might be their only option for having a biological child can be considered a huge blow. According to the RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, infertility is a major life crisis for one in eight couples. Many insurance policies do not cover the cost of IVF; therefore, a couple might have to shell out anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000 for each IVF cycle, with no guarantee of success. It can be easy for a couple going through these different procedures to become disheartened and frustrated due to the exhaustion of thousands of dollars, many up and down emotions, and the all-too-real possibility of a negative end result. Couples may also find themselves going through IVF several times before they succeed. If you are, or someone you know is undergoing IVF, here is a list of five suggestions that can help alleviate the tension and provide some comfort while on this journey.
- Find an enjoyable “me-time” hobby. Once you start IVF, the number of subcutaneous and intramuscular injections, doctor’s appointments, and sonograms can seem like another full-time job constantly invading your mind. As hard as it is, try to get your mind off of thinking about IVF by finding an enjoyable hobby. Whether it’s reading, watching a movie, photography, cooking, or just enjoying a bi-monthly spa treatment, these hobbies can help ease the worry and stress that you may have while waiting for the many blood test results or sonograms you have every few days to monitor your reactions to the daily fertility medications.
- Build a Support Group. IVF is not only physically draining, but emotionally draining as well. Ask your fertility clinic if they have a patient mentoring program, or a group counseling session, that allows you and your partner to speak with others who have undergone IVF, or other infertility procedures. Or, find a friend who has also gone through infertility and is willing to listen and be open about their infertility experiences. If talking face to face with someone is too hard, visit the website: www.resolve.org. RESOLVE is the National Infertility Association, which has a number of infertility resources as well as online community support groups. There are many online support groups with thousands of members who are willing to talk.
- Find Ways to Give Back. While finding extra time amidst IVF and other life responsibilities may be hard, there is something almost miraculous that emotionally occurs when you give back to the community, while suffering through problems. Try volunteering at a local girls/boys group, a hospital with terminally ill children, or a soup kitchen. When you serve others who have problems, you begin to feel a little better about your own situation and it may provide an escape from the all-consuming IVF procedure.
- Have a weekly “date” night with your partner and try not discussing IVF. Couples who undergo IVF together will often deal with lots of financial and emotional stress together as well. The once wonderful and exciting dream of becoming pregnant becomes more and more distant as couples realize that the dream may not be as easily attainable as first thought. However, by adding at least one date night a week with your partner, and by trying to not talk about IVF on that night, you allow yourself time to talk about other things that sometimes get neglected.
- Be educated about IVF procedures. Sometimes, one of the frustrations for patients undergoing IVF is not having a full understanding of the entire procedure and the effects the different medications can have on them, or their partner. By asking your Reproductive Endocrinologist, and by doing your own research, you can feel more confident and knowledgeable when you go to your appointments. It also allows you to understand the many blood test results and information your nurses and doctors give you throughout the IVF process.
Finally, if you feel that managing your stress due to infertility has become too much, it is important to seek out help. Please call your doctor and explain your feelings to him/her so they can provide you with the help you need.