Friday, March 20, 2015

What I wish I knew before starting fertility treatments

A new post from an expert IVF patient !

As a " struggling to conceive woman " at 31, when I was contemplating fertility treatment , unfortunately I spoke to only quick success stories before heading to a clinic. Women, who I knew had twins with first attempt IVFs or conceived by simple flushing of tubes or IUIs or just taking clomid. This made me sure that like these women, I just needed a nudge to speed things along. After all, unexplained infertility with a 30-day cycle and perfect sperm count for DH, meant that we would get there with just a slight push, didn’t it?

However today I know that for my case and a lot of others, fertility treatments are a journey. Some end up as being long-winded convoluted dark holes with twists and turns, while others are short tunnels with the light right there . You never know which journey you will be embarking on - all you can do is hope that you ride with be short and sweet !

Here's my list of top 10 things I wish someone had told me before I stepped into a clinic--

1-    You never know how long this road is. Be in for the long haul- this could take a while. I remember reading a blog of a 10X IVF survivor and thinking she must be crazy! But I realize now, that it’s hard to stop as long as you have eggs and no insurmountable issue and you don’t want to give up…
2-    Choose a doctor that has his eye on the goal and doesn’t make baseless diagnoses- I remember my first doctor refused to go ahead with my FET as my TSH level was 4.1 in his test and his accepted level was 4. He referred me to an endocrinologist and after giving a detailed medical history and retaking the test, the level was 2.2! So I almost cancelled a cycle based on the clinics error…
3-    Choose a clinic with a fantastic embryology lab that knows how to get the best possible embryos. The lil cells need to stick and make the 37 week long journey- so you need the best.
4-    Research- make yourself smart about the procedure, be realistic about your chances of success and keep asking questions- you are paying the doctor for his services. You need to make sure you get the best possible care.
5-    Keep impeccable records- From your first blood report to your last ultrasound- it is all relevant. Keep images of your embryos and scans- hopefully you’ll never need it again but if you do…
6-    Remember that a Positive HCG  is a brilliant start but not the end- after 12 weeks you can breathe so much easier and then share your news happily and fearlessly.
7-    Don’t forget your partner Men suffer as well- they just do it differently. In all your self-pity and self-focus, remember infertility is a couples problem and you need to lean on each other through it all.
8-    Find something spiritual to focus on- Hope and persistence is something you will need time and again. Find it in whatever form you can and lean on it as much as you need to.
9-    Find a way to put your problems into perspective. Volunteer at homeless shelters, orphanages, women’s shelters, in war zones- figure out that even though it feels larger than life today, in the large scheme of things infertility is not the worst that can happen to a human being.
10-    Learn to be kind to yourself- guilt, beating up on yourself and hopelessness are emotions you can well do without.

Lastly, stay positive. I write this on week 5 with one embryo working towards developing in my uterus. Speak to a variety of people- first-time success stories, 3-year success and 10-year stories and remember that one way or the other- all their stories end with a beautiful baby!

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