Tuesday, February 17, 2009

How to Cope With an IVF Cycle

There are two groups of people – those who have been through the fertility treatment mill and those who haven’t. And the ones who belong to the second group will just never understand the agony, pain, stress and anxiety of those who belong to the first. Wanting a baby is one thing, but putting yourself through a medical process that lasts at least a month, one that’s invasive and painful at times, and one that takes up a whole load of your time, money and emotional energy, is a totally different thing.

Couples who have tasted infertility during their marriage turn to IVF when they discover that their other options are limited. And when they do, they are hardly aware of what they are getting themselves into. Yes, the doctors in the team are kind and courteous, they understand and empathize with you, and they explain the whole procedure so that you know what’s happening at every stage of the procedure. But what they don’t, or rather can’t, tell you is how you’re bound to feel, how your emotions are going to go for a roller coaster ride, and how you’re supposed to deal with the hodgepodge of feelings you’re bound to go through. If you’re thinking of going in for an IVF cycle, here’s what you need to do:

  • Surround yourself with people who love you: IVF is a very stressful procedure, so make sure you have the support and love of people who are close to you – friends and family members who understand your feelings and are willing to put up with your occasional tantrums and moodiness.
  • Pamper yourself: You’re bound to feel frustrated with the long drawn out procedure that entails a host of injections, interminable waiting periods at hospitals, innumerable scans, a few surgical procedures, and then the waiting around for the final news. You can prevent feelings of suffocation (from all the inactivity) and frustration from taking a toll on you by doing the things that you like and by pampering yourself.
  • Eat sensibly: Moodiness, stress and inactivity tend to make you eat more than you normally do. You tend to sit around the house and stuff yourself with junk food that’s loaded with fat and calories. Besides adding on the pounds, these foods are not conducive to a pregnancy. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, wholegrain products, low fat dairy products, and lean meats (if you’re a non vegetarian). Also, drink plenty of water and get enough rest.
  • Don’t give in to the frustration: You can do this by being ready for anything the treatment throws at you – arm yourself with a book or a video game in preparation for the long waiting periods at hospitals, make friends with the other couples who are there (without being intrusive), and try and stay cheerful through it all.
  • Be prepared: I don’t want to sound negative, but it’s best to be prepared to hear bad news at the end of the cycle. IVF cycles have only a 30 percent chance of success, and you’re bound to take the news of failure better if you’re prepared. Remember though, that it’s not the end of the world and that you can try again in a few months when your body has recovered enough.


This post was contributed by Holly McCarthy, who writes on the subject of nursing colleges. She invites your feedback at hollymccarthy12 at gmail dot com

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