Monday, April 30, 2012

A tip to help infertile patients make better decisions

When you are infertile, it can sometimes be very hard to make decisions as to what your next course of action should be , especially when your IVF cycle fails. There are always many options , but because this is such an emotionally charged issue, it becomes very difficult to think through this logically. Should you just repeat the IVF cycle again ? or should you change your doctor ? or consider using donor eggs ? or surrogacy ? Or should we just forget about all this , and adopt a baby instead ? Having so many choices often leads to paralysis by analysis. The problem becomes even more acute when the husband and wife don't see eye to eye , and would rather adopt different solutions , because they have differing worldviews.

When you're stuck and don't know what to do next, it can be helpful to find a counselor who can walk you through your options and help you come to the right decision for yourself. A good counselor will never tell you what to do – she will help you find the answer within your own heart.

However, finding skilled counselors can be extremely hard - and another way of addressing this problem is to treat it as a business problem. You need to step out of your own body and pretend that this is a problem which is affecting someone else - perhaps a friend , who is confused , and needs to know what to do next, and has come to you for advise. You can then stop using your heart and start using your head. You need to approach this dispassionately and objectively , as a business problem , for which you can create a decision matrix and order your choices so as to maximize your gains.

While it may seem extremely heartless to take this approach, this is actually a far more efficient way ; and will help you to make the right decision much faster.

Here's another tip which will help you listen to what your heart is telling you - try tossing a coin ! Now I'm not suggesting that you let the result of the coin toss determine your future course of action ! No – this is far too important a matter to be left up to such a random event. My point is that while the coin is in the air, you will find yourself hoping that it comes up heads , rather than tails – or vice versa ! If you find yourself clearly preferring one side to another, this clearly means that your heart knows what’s right for you. It is telling you what to do next – and this simple trick is a useful way of being able to listen to your gut feel !

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  1. Anonymous10:29 AM

    Dear Dr,

    Something similar which I wrote sometime ago :

    How to tackle infertility blues?

    1) Kill your self-pity
    Self-pity is a good emotional lubricant when facing any adverse event in life. It helps to cry your eyes out. We all get some comfort after a nice crying spell. But on the long run it ruins your ability to fight-back the crisis. If you dwell on self-pity your development comes to a halt. ‘Why me?’ is the first question you ask yourself when you realize that your baby-making machinery has a defect. Once you come out of the ‘why me?’ stage and start thinking clearly you can find so many solutions which will help you to deal with your infertility effectively. So kill your self-pity in order to get a better view of the infertility crisis and to tackle it in a better way!

    2) Knowledge is power!
    Educate yourself about your condition. It will help you to come out of self-pity and see your infertility in a rational way. More you know about your condition lesser will be your pains. Remember, no one cares about you as much as you do, not even your doctor. In the field of infertility there are a wide variety of treatment options and each doctor will have his/her own style of approaching a problem. Only when you educate yourself you can actively participate in the decision making processes of your treatment which will give you immense satisfaction and will also spare you from unnecessary infertility tests and therapies. This means you can save more money and time which in turn might help you to reach your target (baby!) quicker.There is so much information about infertility on net. Infertility bulletin boards are full of knowledgeable ladies who can offer you emotional as well as intellectual support. Read blogs which are written by infertility specialists which will give you authentic information.

    3) Remove 'The God Factor’ from your infertility
    Just like flu, just like heart problem, just like cancer, infertility is also a medical condition. God doesn’t make you infertile. God doesn’t want you to be infertile. Infertility is not God's curse. Please realize that praying to God and not taking proper medical treatment will not give you a baby; which you crave for! I have seen people going form temple to temple instead of going to a doctor. In infertility time is also one of the most important factors. Go to temple but also find a good doctor. After all, God can help you only when you help yourself. When you think ‘why God did this to me’ then it is also a source of major unhappiness. Again it will make you go into the self-pity mode. Remember that ‘The God Factor’ is a soothing medicine for your mind which in turn can help you feel better physically. When I say remove "The God Factor", I am not asking you to be nihilistic, I just ask you to be moderate and rational! Spirituality is not a cure for your infertility but it will help you to remain sane even if your attempts of conceiving a baby doesn't work as expected!

  2. Anonymous10:29 AM

    4) Socialize
    Do not retract into your shell. Be with the company of good friends who will understand you and offer emotional support. When you socialize you will realize that people come in all different varieties and colours. Some might hurt you, some might offer their sympathy, some will empathize with you, some don’t care and few people can inspire you too! What people think of your infertility is their problem and not yours. As Bertrand Russell said, ‘A dog will bark more loudly and bite more readily when people are afraid of him than when they treat him with contempt, and the human herd has something of this same characteristic. If you show that you are afraid of them, you give promise of good hunting, whereas if you show indifference, they begin to doubt their own power and therefore tend to let you alone’. Do not give undue importance to people’s comments or thinking. Be bold to face the world and try to imbibe inspiration from the people you meet. Ultimately you will realize that everyone has their own journey filled with hope and desperation. You are never alone!

    5) Try not to hide your infertility
    You do not have to tell everyone about your infertility history. But be honest when your friends and relatives ask ‘aren’t you ready for kids yet?’ Tell them that you have problem with your ‘fertility apparatus’ and hopefully it will be mended soon . I have personally experienced that this kind of frank answers make people behave themselves. This also stops them from pestering you with further questions so that you do not have to panic each and every time you meet them.

    6) Forgive unreasonable people
    People are often unreasonable. Forgive them anyway. This will not teach them anything but will help you to safe-guard your happiness and peace of mind. Forgiving doesn’t mean that you have to be docile all the time. If their words and actions hurt you never be afraid to tell them to mind their own business. Anger not expressed at the right time can cause damage too!

    7) Stay way from superstition (and also from superstitious people!)
    Fear is the major causative factor for superstitious beliefs and such beliefs will in turn keep you in fear’s grip all the time. Never get caught in that cycle. I find people’s attitude is infectious too. Avoid people with low self-esteem and superstitious beliefs. Not only they can reduce your confidence levels but can hurt you too. To tackle infertility you need lots of self-confidence. Never loose it to superstitious beliefs!

    8) Count your fortunes
    Some people undergo much more horrible suffering in this world than you can imagine. Infertility hurts but it is not going to kill you anyway. What doesn't kill you; will only make you stronger! Be thankful for your blessings. Try to help people who are not as fortunate as you are. It will keep you happy and appreciate who you are!

  3. Anonymous10:31 AM

    9) Get out of abusive relationships
    It is impossible to fight infertility alone. When your spouse does not support you and is abusive then there is no point in going through this exhaustive journey. Your partner must provide you with an emotional cocoon where you can get all the support from. He has to also safe guard you from spiteful in-laws (if you are not fortunate enough!). If he is abusive himself the only way to escape from mental stress is to quit the relationship. It is good for both your physical and emotional health.

    10) Be selfish and pamper yourself
    You are the person who is undergoing lots of stress physically and mentally. Love and pamper yourself. Never carry others problem in your mind. Your mother or mother-in-law’s problem of not being able to have a grandchild is something which they have to deal with. Be selfish to the core! Sometimes it is wise to be selfish.

    I think if infertile couples follow this they can be rational enough to take good decissions!

  4. Anonymous11:16 AM

    Drrrrr, (how to make an angry smiley!) sometimes I do expect a few words of appreciation!!!! Is the above article nice?

  5. Your comments are far better than my original post - which is why I am going to copy and paste them and put them up as a new article on my website ( with your kind
    permission !)

    I wish all my patients were as thoughtful and articulate as you are !

  6. Anonymous3:19 PM

    Dear Dr,

    I am on cloud 9 :)))THANK YOU!

    Dr, you do not know how much your writing has changed me as a person!People really see a new person in me-everyone appreciates me. I have not cried thinking about my infertility and I am no more afraid of that. I sleep well. All in all I am much more rational, happy, optimistic to the core :)I owe a lot to you! You (your writings!) are a source of great inspiration to me. If I have written well then all the credit goes to you and your blog :))) I learned a lot from you.

    Thanks a lot! and I like you so much :)

  7. Anonymous7:26 PM

    I did see the article in your website. Thats very, very kind of you! Thank you!


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