Some Tips For The Best IVF Experience: More couples than ever before are finding challenges in the path to conception. For most of these couples, the potential benefits of IVF fertility treatment far outweigh any ordeals that the treatment may present.

But that doesn’t mean that IVF is easy. Particularly for the female partner, who absorbs the physical impact of this fertility procedure, it can be hard to cope.

IVF has the potential to be an emotionally, physically, and financially demanding time. Thus, patients need to consider thoughtful preparation before beginning the process in order to give yourself the best experience possible. If you are about to begin a cycle, here are some tips to help get ready for IVF:

Gather information and plan ahead. Good decision-making involves being well informed about your body, the IVF process, and your treatment program. The more you know and understand about the process, the less stress you may feel. A book I highly recommend for my fertility patients attending my acupuncture clinic is Zita West’s Guide to Fertility and Assisted Conception.

Tend to your relationships. A struggle with infertility may have taken a toll on how you are feeling about yourself, your relationship with your partner and others. You will want to be in a good place emotionally and have your relationship on solid ground before starting an IVF cycle. Facilitate communication with your partner by setting a limited amount of time to talk about IVF, such as 20 minutes a day, and then putting infertility talk aside. Discuss ahead of time your expectations of each other during the cycle. For example, whether you want to be together at appointments, on the day of the pregnancy test, and when you are expecting a call from the doctor.

Garner your support. Friends and family can be your best support or they can be your worst. Decide in advance who you will tell about the procedure by identifying who will give you the support you need. In addition, look outside your usual support network to those who truly understand other infertility patients. The internet also is a ready source of infertility support and information, through various websites and chat rooms. A great deal of healing can come from others who understand.shutterstock_48719776

Identify your stresses and your coping mechanisms. Each person experiences stress in different ways, so it is helpful to identify where yours may come from. Is it keeping appointments, or the injections, or simply the anticipation? Know your own and your partner’s styles for dealing with stress and what has helped in the past. Meditation or yoga classes, acupuncture for de-stressing, listening to relaxation tapes and other mind/body techniques used regularly can help in handling these feelings and dealing with treatment procedures.

Decide what you have control over and what you don’t. To help eliminate any unnecessary stress, you will want to make you life as simple as possible during the cycle. This is not a time to make important decisions or changes in your life, such as a move or job change. If at all possible, avoid major undertakings at work that can add stress to your life. You do have control over the choices you make in your daily life while how the treatment course progresses is usually out of your hands.

Anticipate problem areas. Plan for possible changes and difficult times during your cycle, such as the waiting period after transfer and the day you will get the results. Expect the unexpected, as changes are frequently made in the cycle because of everyone’s unique medical situation. There are possibilities for a setback at every step of the cycle, from a poor response to medication to no fertilization after retrieval.

Prepare for the waiting. The 10-14 day waiting period between transfer and receiving the pregnancy test results is often described as the most difficult part of the cycle. Having had daily contact with your medical support staff during monitoring and retrieval, you suddenly are on your own after transfer and just have to wait. You need to think about how to fill your time. Acupuncture at this stage is influential in helping you to relax and be at ease with the waiting period. To allow some time to deal with what you learn, you may want to consider “fibbing” to family and friends by telling them the results are due a few days later than reality. This will give you breathing space and time to adjust to the news before dealing with others.

Posted by Niall O’Leary

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Niall O'Leary