Advice for IVF Patients

by Stephanie Fry

Since The IVF Journal was released in March I’ve done my fair share of interviews. My latest, by Keiko Zoll at The Infertility Voice is definitely one of my favorites.

The excerpt below includes some advice, from the interview and the book. Visit the following link to read the entire interview. While you are there make sure to look around Keiko’s site – it is truly an amazing resource for infertility patients.

advice for ivf patiets

From my interview with the Infertility Voice

» KZ: Now that you’ve successfully gone through IVF, what advice do you have for infertility patients still on their family building journeys? What advice do you have for folks considering IVF as an option for them?

SF: Get educated, get involved and get support. This may seem like basic stuff but the reality is that for the majority of patients, IVF is uncharted territory. We don’t learn about it in health class or from our mothers. It is usually unexpected and unplanned. It is really important to recognize and honor that.

» KZ: Can you give us a sneak peak at some of what we can expect from The IVF Journal?

SF: Below are a few the pieces of advice from the book that I think are important for patients going through any kind of infertility treatment. The book also includes more IVF-specific advice on everything from prepping for a cycle, to scheduling issues, preparing for results, dealing with the Two Week Wait and coping with multiple cycles or long term IVF treatment.

Here’s some advice to whet your whistle:

  • Understand Your Treatment. The unknown is scary. The feeling that you are in the dark about your treatment can add greatly to the stress of an IVF cycle. Instead of fixating on “what-ifs” and “maybes” in a worrisome, stressful way, you can choose to focus on your cycle in a positive, productive manner, by making an effort to understand your diagnosis, treatment, and all possible outcomes before you begin your cycle. Understanding the phases of your treatment demystifies the cycle process and boosts your confidence as you move through your cycle. Being prepared for all possible outcomes means that you will be ready to handle anything that comes your way—good or bad.
  • Do What Feels Right. As you go through IVF treatment you are likely to come across loads of different types of tips, advice, and complementary therapy options. As you encounter and consider these things, always remember that while there are plenty of experts out there, there is only one expert on you. Make sure you listen to your heart and your body throughout the entire process. Whether it is a new diet, a new mind- body technique, advice on how much you should exercise, or what vitamins to take, if something you are doing doesn’t feel right, honor that feeling. Know that while it may have worked great for someone else, that doesn’t mean it is right for you.
  • Don’t Plan – Prepare. Because there are so many variables in IVF, you simply will not be able to plan the exact timing, outcome, or experience of an IVF cycle—but you should always be prepared for one. The old adage of “hope for the best, plan for the worst, and expect the unexpected” will come in handy here. Your journey will be easier if you get comfortable with the fact that you can’t control what is going to happen during the cycle, as it is impossible to have everything figured out ahead of time. What you can control is how you prepare for a cycle. Arming yourself with facts, information, systems, options, and ideas before you get started allows you to better cope with any and all eventualities.
  • Anticipate Tough Moments. Before you start your cycle, have a discussion with your doctor, partner, or other important people in your life about the possible reactions to the process, medications, procedures, and stress. Not everyone will be adversely affected by these things, but it never hurts to recognize and anticipate your physical and emotional responses. The fact is that you may be a little (or a lot) exhausted, short-tempered, cranky, or on edge. If you discuss this possibility, as well as potential causes and solutions beforehand, a tense moment can be more easily diffused with a gentle reminder that you knew tough moments might occur and are just a reaction to stress, medications, and exhaustion—or a combination of all three!