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13 Things No One Tells You About Your Infertility Treatment

Deciding to embark on treatments for infertility can be a daunting task. It is a highly emotional process for many people, with many unknown variables present from the outset. Although there is a loving and supportive community of people who are experiencing infertility, there are still numerous questions that surround all steps of the procedures, not all of which can be answered before treatment is underway. In the spirit of community building, a number of women have shared the biggest things they wished they had known before beginning their fertility treatments.

1.     Vet your doctor

It is important to do your research on a potential doctor for your fertility treatment. The doctor you choose will be spearheading one of the most important medical procedures you may ever have. Before you start researching, make a list of all of the things you desire in a competent physician. Imagine what their ideal bedside manner would look like, or how knowledgeable they are on the topics involving infertility.

2.     You will live at the clinic

It probably goes without saying, but be prepared to spend a whole lot of time at the clinic! Between all of the hormone injections, ultrasounds, and bloodwork, you can be in the clinic every two to three days for up to a month. Although the appointments are typically quick and painless, there will definitely be a lot of them, so you should make friends with the front office staff!

3.     It is expensive

Even people who are not undergoing infertility treatment are well are of the extreme cost associated with in-vitro fertilization and other hormonal treatments that are offered. The average cost for just one (one!) cycle of IVF was $12,000, which does not include the expense of the medications involved (which can tack on up to an additional $3,000). Although insurance companies don’t always cover the full cost of treatments, they may cover part of it. Grants and refund programs are also available for patients who need it.

4.     Be patient

Patience—one of the biggest virtues, and something you will sorely need when undergoing procedures for infertility. The road could, and likely will be, a long one, so it is important to stay calm and remain focused. IVF success rates are consistently high, and there is a strong possibility that one day it will all work out as long as you stay patient and trust the process.

5.     Maintain trust with healthcare staff

The healthcare staff at your chosen clinic will be with you every step of the way throughout your journey. The front office staff, nurses, and doctors are all there to support you during your treatment. Maintaining trust with them is the cornerstone of your treatment.

Glasses on top of a large, open book.
Fertility treatment is a life-changing journey, but it is not without its stressors! Image courtesy of ivfbabble.com.

6.     Physical effects

There are many, many physical side effects that you will experience during infertility treatment. As a result of the hormone injections, numerous women have reported feeling moody and bloated during their IVF process, and some have even commented that they looked pregnant due to their swollen ovaries.

7.     Do not be afraid of the shots

Most people are uncomfortable with shots performed by a nurse at the doctor’s office, let alone having to inject themselves at home. But many women have reassured people of this fear. According to one woman, the needles are very small and the nurses are very effective at teaching you the proper way to do them!

8.     Be honest if you are struggling

Infertility treatment is rarely easy for anyone. The anxiety around your procedures can be compounded by constant inquisition about when you are going to have children. You are by no means  required to disclose your struggles to people who make tactless comments about your family, but being open and honest with people who are aware of the challenges you face can certainly make you feel less alone in the long-term.

9.     Seek support

In the same vein of honesty, many women suggest seeking the help of support groups if you find yourself becoming frustrated with the infertility treatment process. While talking to a trusted family member or a therapist can certainly be beneficial, there is a different kind of mutual understanding and sympathy when you speak to women who have been (or are currently) in your shoes. Many cities have IVF support groups that you can seek out in order to find your haven.

10.  Look into genetic testing

Although this can add quite the expense to the already hefty cost of infertility treatments, it may be something worth looking into. One woman from South Carolina suggests that women over age 35 undergoing IVF consider completing genetic testing, as it can identify the most viable and chromosomally normal eggs that have the best chance of making it to full term. This can be quite a cost, and is not necessary for treatment, but identifying the embryos with the best chance of leading to a healthy baby can save a lot of heartache.

11.  Communicate

Communication with your partner is probably the biggest key to maintaining a positive outlook and better emotional health. The infertility treatment process is affecting both of you, and they are also experiencing many emotions that they may be unfamiliar with. Keeping open lines of communication with your partner can help you both remain on the same page amidst all of the treatments and procedures and retrievals you must undergo.

12.  Know the risks

Although not as positive or fulfilling to read about, it is imperative that you know the risks of IVF and other fertility treatments. At the end of the day, in-vitro fertilization is a medical procedure that carries its own risks. While the success rate is consistently high, educating yourself about potential negative prospects will help your mindset in the long run.

13.  Stay hopeful!

Getting pregnant as a result of in-vitro fertilization can certainly have its downsides. However, it is important to remember that many women have gotten pregnant successfully from infertility treatment and go on to have healthy, intact families. Even if the process seems like it is taking forever, or you have faced several unsuccessful attempts, you must remember that there is always hope for you and your future family!

A pregnant woman holds the letters "IVF" over her stomach.
Despite the challenges, conceiving a family through IVF is very possible! Image courtesy of timesofindia.com.


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