The IVF journey
Discovering and coming to terms with the notion that you are unable to naturally conceive can be stressful, and can leave you feeling angry, depressed and anxious. It can also put additional stress on relationships, intimacy and your connection with others.
Over time, as this stress continues, it can take its toll and cause you to feel distressed or unable to take much more. For example, women carefully monitor and plan around every cycle and, with each unsuccessful cycle, are left feeling distressed and disappointed.
It is so frustrating – you feel like your life is on hold. Every cycle waiting for the window of opportunity to come, revolving your life plans around trying to conceive and then waiting in hope that you have fallen pregnant. Then, with each failed attempt, you have to muster up the hope and optimism that you will be successful next time. It is exhausting – physically, mentally, emotionally and on your relationship.
Similarly, it can affect men in instances where the fertility issues rests with them – which occurs in up to forty percent of cases.
I felt devastated. I felt ashamed and like I had failed. I always considered it my role as a man and as a husband to be a father. But I had to look at it like any other physical condition and get the help we needed.
These feelings are often compounded by feelings of pressure from family, friends and others. Many people describe experiencing stigma at being unable to conceive – further adding to feelings of disappointment and grief that you may experience at this time.
Understandably, you may find it difficult to talk about what you are going through with others and even being around others who have recently become pregnant or had a baby can be very hard. This is completely understandable, so don’t be hard on yourself.
Coping with IVF
The process of going through IVF for months, and even years, can take its toll, as you may experience hopes and disappointments whilst managing the implications on your emotions, your body, your relationship and your finances.
As a result, it can be useful to consider and continually review how many cycles you are prepared to go through. From a very practical perspective, this includes assessing how much money you can afford to invest.
You pay a fortune and put your life on hold for something that has a very good chance of not working. And yet you do it.
Also, as you try to find a delicate balance of trying to remain positive and hopeful whilst persevering with IVF, it is important to remain aware of your emotional state along the way.
Whilst many couples hope that IVF will solve their problems with infertility, for some, IVF marks the beginning of a process of understanding about their specific needs and what is most likely to be effective for them given their individual circumstances.
The pages below can provide you, and your partner, with valuable information and support, in what can be a stressful and vulnerable time.