Friday, July 20, 2012

Is IVF treatment stressful ?

The general perception seems to be that IVF is an extremely stressful treatment . Being infertile is stressful , so it seems logical to jump to the conclusion that going through infertility treatment must be much more so – after all, so much rides on the outcome of the IVF treatment cycle !

However, an IVF treatment cycle can actually be a very positive experience . If patients follow certain guidelines, they are likely to have happy memories of the IVF treatment , irrespective of what the outcome is ! The trick is to have realistic expectations from the treatment.

Remember that IVF treatment gives infertile patients their best shot at getting pregnant , so that if you do an IVF cycle, you have peace of mind that you did your best so that you have no regrets later on in your life. Also, IVF treatment is elective treatment , which you take by choice - no one is forcing you to do this. Doing IVF allows you to exercise your own free will and decide – Yes, this is what I want to do , because it maximize my chances of having a baby. This can be an empowering experience , and you can look forward to it , because you're trying to control what is happening to you, rather than just being a passive victim of either a low sperm count or blocked tubes. In one sense , you're trying to write your own destiny , with the help of medical technology – what more can a human being do ?

Equally importantly , there is no medical risk involved in the IVF treatment, when it’s done properly. Unfortunately, there are still lots of myths and misconceptions that the hormone injections used in IVF make you fat; or increase the risk of breast cancer . You should do your homework , rather than listen to these old wife’s tales. The IVF hormonal injections are natural hormones, which allow us to rescue the eggs which would have died anyway. They get excreted in the urine promptly, and do not have any long term consequences. Being armed with information therapy can provide a lot of positive energy when you're doing your treatment.

The biggest problem is that IVF patients often have not been counseled properly , as a result of which they often have very unrealistic expectations of success rates . Patients need to understand that the outcome of an IVF cycle is always uncertain , simply because human reproduction is an inefficient. enterprise – both in the bedroom, for fertile couples, and in the clinic, for infertile couples. No matter how good your doctor , once the embryo has been transferred into the uterus, we cannot control whether the embryo will implant or not. While it can be hard to come to terms with this uncertainty , once you factor this in , you realize that all that you ( and your doctor) can do during the IVF treatment is your best – and the rest is out of your hands. This is exactly what the Gita advises – do your duty , without expecting any reward in return. This kind of philosophical approach towards IVF treatment will help to make the cycle itself much easier to cope with , so that it’s easier to cope with the IVF emotional roller coaster ride.

One major advantage of IVF treatment is it helps you get in touch with other infertile couples . A major problem with being infertile is that you often feel isolated and ostracized . It seems that everyone else - office workers , friends, colleagues and relatives - is  having babies. However, when you go to an IVF clinic , you get a chance to connect with lots of other infertile couples . It gives you a chance to network with them, and this provides invaluable emotional support . You realize that you are not crazy – and that there are many others who are in exactly the same boat you are in – you are not a freak.

Going through an IVF cycle can also create bonding between the husband and wife . It’s when he sees his wife taking the IVF shots daily, that some husbands finally understand the depth of the emotional desire and the strength of the biological craving which a woman has , when she wants to have a baby. When he sees that his wife is willing to go through so much trouble in order to have a baby , he becomes much more empathetic , and has a much better understanding of her feelings – something which helps to make the marriage even stronger.

If :

You decide to do IVF treatment because you choose to do so of you own free will, for purely selfish reasons;
You have realistic expectations ; and
have been counseled properly ,
You will find that an IVF treatment can actually be a very positive experience , rather than being a negative stressful one.

It’s up to you ! If you take an active role , so that you are in control of your life, rather than thinking of yourself as a passive victim , you are likely to be happy with your IVF treatment – and getting pregnant is then just the icing on the cake !

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