Managing The Stress Of IVF

IVF (in vitro fertilization) has changed the face of fertility treatment and blessed many couples with happy, healthy families, but the treatment is not without its challenges. Patients who have undergone the procedure rated IVF as the most stressful fertility treatment of all. Perhaps even more telling is the fact that IVF patients have rated the procedure as more stressful than such major life events as separation, divorce, or the death of a relative.

High Stress

One reason that IVF ends up generating such a high stress rating is that most couples end up entering an IVF program only after long years of fruitless tests and treatment which have already taken a high emotional toll. Also, IVF is a kind of crap shoot in which the odds aren't that great and a lot is at stake. Just as a gambler goes into a game with high hopes, a couple may enter into IVF with unrealistic expectations. Some couples, or perhaps half a couple, may be sure IVF is going to do the trick, while another couple (or spouse) is sure they're in for a let down once again, but they just have to try this one last treatment. Couples have already invested so much in making this fertility thing work. It's hard to accept that they may have reached the end of the road in every sense, be it physical, emotional, or monetary.

But say you've decided to go ahead with IVF in spite of the fact that you may be inviting more heartache. It makes sense to take some time first to heal and steel your emotions, learn as much as you can, and adopt a systematic approach to the procedure. Starting off on the right foot is the best way to stave off anxiety and stress.

Educational Programs

You will want to read articles on the topic of IVF and perhaps look into whether your health center has any educational programs on the topic which you and your partner might attend.  There will be decisions to make along the way. Information gathering will help you see your way clear to the decisions that are right for you.

Another step you might take to prepare yourself for the ordeal ahead is to speak to other couples who have already gone through IVF. If possible, speak not just with couples who have had positive outcomes, but also with those who have been let down. Get your close friends behind you as a sort of fall-back support system before you begin. You will want to be as ready as possible to accept that IVF may not work for you.

Reassess your relationship as a couple before you begin IVF since by now, the long hard road of infertility has certainly had its effects on the two of you. Feelings of failure, isolation, and distress are quite natural. Agree, as a couple, to discuss IVF for a set amount of time every day, perhaps 20 minutes or so. Getting into the habit of discussing the issues is how you'll find your comfort zone for communication.

Difficult Path

You should consider some short-term counseling before you embark on the difficult path that is IVF. Strengthening yourselves as a couple leaves you in a good place for coping with whatever outcome comes your way.

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