IVF treatment is undoubtedly one of the most stressful processes that a person can endure. Not only are you battling (self-injected) medication side effects and making consistent trips to the IVF clinic for monitoring, but you’re doing it all while harnessing emotional, mental, physical, and financial stress. It’s not uncommon to feel out of control when you’re going through IVF treatment, but studies have found that high stress levels can impact both fertility and embryo implantation.
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to stay in control while going through IVF treatment:
- Choose the right clinic. Before choosing a clinic for your IVF treatment, try visiting two or more in your area if you can. Select a clinic that treats you respectfully and takes the time to address your questions and concerns. You may also want to consider each clinic’s success rates, but be sure to look for specific rates (based on your age, diagnosis, etc.) rather than overall success rates, which can be misleading. Don’t settle for a clinic that makes you feel uncomfortable, unimportant, or intimidated. You will be spending a fair amount of time at your IVF clinic, so you want to make each experience as stress-free as possible.
- Be your own advocate. IVF has become a fairly routine procedure, so most patients receive very similar instructions throughout their IVF treatment. If you have additional questions about anything, speak up! Your care team isn’t with you 24/7 and no one understands your body better than you, so it’s up to you to relay your questions and concerns to your care team. Notice a weird side effect from one of your medications? Send your nursing team a message about it. Read about something online that you want to learn more about? Mention it to your doctor at your next visit. Make sure that you understand exactly what is going on throughout your treatment. Don’t miss out on any chances to optimize your IVF treatment. You’ve worked too hard to settle for less than the best!
- Use your resources. From informational articles to counseling services to monetary grants, you can find a resource for just about anything when it comes to IVF. Want to compare donor egg banks or surrogacy agencies? There’s a website for that. Worried about paying for IVF? Numerous grants are available that help pay for fertility treatment. These (mostly free) resources may be able to relieve some of your stress and anxiety and can help you better prepare for the next steps in your IVF journey. There is no limit when it comes to resourceful help, so stock up on as much of it as you can!
- Do your research. IVF is a very complex process, and the amount of information can be overwhelming. Of course, you can always ask your care team if you have questions throughout your treatment. Otherwise, you can do some research on your own to answer some of your questions. Want more information about ICSI? Hundreds of IVF professionals and clinics have wonderful articles and videos about ICSI on their websites. Not sure if PGT is right for you? Check out some of the studies that compare success rates when using PGT. As always, use your judgment when doing your research. Try to stick with professional websites and legitimate research studies to ensure that you’re getting the most accurate information available. Knowledge is power, especially when it comes to your health.
- Find a support group. The value of any supportive community cannot be understated, and the IVF community is one of the best out there. This strong, empowering community has risen tremendously over the past few years since it’s become more socially acceptable to talk about IVF. As it turns out, IVF and infertility are a lot more common than we once thought. There are many groups out there, and you can join as many as you would like. Most members of these groups have been through IVF treatment, so they can offer support and advice from their experiences. Most importantly, these groups will remind you that you are not alone on your IVF journey. Joining a support group or two can alleviate some of the emotional and mental stress associated with IVF treatment.
- Remember to take care of yourself. It can be easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of IVF treatment. Between monitoring appointments, medication reminders, and your other day-to-day tasks, it can be difficult to set aside time for yourself. But it’s extremely important to maintain self-care throughout your IVF treatment. Aside from your usual self-care, you can take daily walks, go to the gym, read a book, have lunch with a friend, or indulge in a spa treatment. If you can, try to stick to a healthy diet and drink a lot of water throughout your treatment. This will help you physically feel better, which can also boost your mental and emotional health, as well.
Now you have a useful set of tools that can help you stay in control while going through IVF treatment. My final piece of advice is this: when you feel overwhelmed, step back for a moment, take a few breaths, and refocus on why you’re doing IVF treatment. I have no doubt that you’ve got this!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Hi! I’m Jessica. I’m 30 years old and have been an embryologist since 2018. I’ve wanted to be an embryologist since I was in high school because the concept of IVF has always fascinated me. I completed my BS at the University of Pittsburgh, and then my MS at Colorado State University. I love my job and helping people build their families, and I also love educating people about IVF and infertility. In my free time, I love traveling and spending time with my husband, daughter, and dogs!
My blog domain is www.ExplainingIVF.com.