The In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedure is a definite boon for couples who have been unsuccessful in having children the normal way. However, it’s also a source of constant stress for women, on account of the daily needles they need to endure; and the anxiety and suspense about whether the procedure will work for them or not.
Since insurance companies do not provide cover for IVF, it can prove to be a very expensive proposition. Patients who are undergoing IVF treatment do a certain amount of research on the internet. Based on what they read, they tend to harbour doubts about the side effects of the medications themselves , even though the they are natural hormones.
Debunking Some Myths
Most women will blame these hormones for their emotional swings during their IVF cycle. However, a study done in Human Reproduction showed that women who are undergoing IVF treatment and who displayed neurotic tendencies prior to their treatment, will continue to be that way while the cycle is in progress. Similarly, those who had no such symptoms , did not develop them during the course of the cycle. In simple words- the hormones are not to blame !
Let's take a look at some myths which are well- nothing but myths:
Myth- All “infertility” medications have similar effects
Fact: There is a significant difference between oral medications used for intrauterine insemination (IUI) treatments and the injectible medications used in an IVF procedure.
Myth: Hormones always make women “crazy.”
Fact: It's convenient for men to label women as being "emotionally labile" because of the IVF medications, because they contain mysterious hormones, which act in strange ways. While some of the medications may cause PMS, it's unfair to generalise and blame the medications for the mood swings. In any case, the hormones get excreted promptly and do not have any long term side effects. They can have good effects as well and a lot of women find that their libido increases during the IVF cycle .
Myth: IVF drugs are to blame for all emotional symptoms during the treatment
Fact: It’s very difficult to ascertain what the IVF medications are doing, compared to the emotional burden that a patient carries. A number of patients complain of emotional difficulties while the treatment is in progress. However, in most cases this emotional stress is related to their worry about the cycle not working. Some patients are also affected by needle phobia. I have found that proper counselling at the outset helps in calming these unfound fears that patients have.
Myth: It’s difficult for others to understand what you are going through and this stress will be endless
Fact: This process can be likened to running a marathon. You train hard and walk miles every day till you finally run the marathon; but when you win, all the hard work pays off. It’s true that all those daily shots and monitoring can get overwhelming at times, but remember that millions of IVF patients have done this before , and have become pregnant . The payoff is well worth the effort ! As doctors, we understand what a patient goes through and are always here to counsel and support you.
Myth: There is nothing that can be done about the emotional stress during your cycle - you just have to grin and bear it.
Fact- In most cases, emotional stresses during your cycle are a result of interpersonal as well as external factors. Counselling is one way of getting relief. You can also talk to someone who has been through IVF, or with a close friend.
It’s important to keep in mind that IVF is a proven treatment , and that millions of babies have been born as a result of IVF. A positive frame of mind will help you cope better. When taking the shot, if you remind yourself that each injection brings you closer to the baby you dream of, you'll be able to handle the ups and downs of the cycle with much more equanimity.
Still worried about the side effects of the IVF hormones ? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/malpaniform.htm so that I can guide you better !