Many factors contribute to stress during IVF treatment and hence it’s an important topic to discuss about. These stresses include emotional stress, strain caused between relationships, financial cost involved, and the time it takes for the entire process, the loss of work, side effects of the medications used and other concerns regarding this process.
These stresses can be managed easily during the IVF treatment journey if the following steps are followed, before, during and after IVF.
Before Starting IVF Treatment:
Before IVF treatment starts one must complete all the prerequisites as advised by the doctor in order to avoid any mishaps during the treatment. It is understood that there are a lot of different emotions when a couple is going through infertility, they may feel nervous as well as excited. In order to calm yourself down it is important that you ask your doctor any questions you may have before starting the treatment.
Here is a list of the common concerns:
- Money: Most couples are concerned about the cost of IVF treatment, it is advisable to discuss the payment options, total payment and any additional costs beforehand, managing your finances before the treatment commences is how to handle this stress. Because IVF is an expensive procedure, this stress should be taken care of by talking to your doctor as well as the concerned administrative department of your Infertility Center. Most often the additional costs that a couple is asked to pay for is freezing and storage of eggs, sperms or embryos. Besides freezing if the embryo transfer is to be done under general anesthesia then it costs additional charges. Also if the current cycle gets unsuccessful due to any reason, then payment may be needed if the couple wants to go for additional cycles.
- Time: Second most common concern is the time it takes for the complete IVF treatment process. Some couples come from out of country, some are working individuals and some have more kids to manage, so their concern is the total time required. IVF treatment can take around two weeks to up to one month, along with that when treatment is commenced, you will be asked to come in to the clinic every day for almost two weeks. This is required because every alternate day, blood test and scan is required to keep track of the follicle size and hormone levels. These two factors tell us about the ovarian response of the female, if we get the desired response it indicates that the cycle is going well. Before beginning one should keep this schedule in mind to avoid any undesired circumstances.
During IVF Treatment:
Once treatment starts a couple goes through multiple phases, emotionally, physically as well as mentally, especially if it’s the first cycle they are going through. Handling them is easy if the female has a strong support system.
- Personal relationship: It’s important to choose who to share your treatment details with, not everyone has to know you are going through IVF treatment. Best way to handle this is by choosing your husband as your partner to share the treatment details with given that your husband and you have a strong relationship. Strong enough to handle the pressure caused by this treatment, which requires time and commitment by your partner. For those patients who don’t feel comfortable with anybody else, they can share with their doctors.
- Avoid Stressors: During treatment it is advisable to avoid stressors in life, as well as any major lifestyle changes. These include changing your job or shifting houses or traveling plans etc. Stress cannot always be avoided so it’s better to stay prepared for something unexpected, so that nothing comes as a surprise to you.
- Stress relieving tips: A light exercise is advised to patients, regular yoga, any hobby that the patient must have should be taken up to release stress, meditations, health spa and staying humorous should be practiced.
After IVF Treatment:
Once the process of embryo transfer has taken place the most stressful period starts. This period takes its toll on most couples because this is the time when the fate of their pregnancy is being decided. It is better to decide what to do during this time beforehand, plan a schedule for yourself in such a way that you don’t sit idle during the waiting period. Of course strenuous activities won’t be advised during this time since your embryo has been transferred and so you need to be careful.
IVF Treatment Result:
If Positive: First pregnancy test is performed after 2 weeks of embryo transfer, if it is positive you will still be monitored closely and get regular pregnancy tests in the initial period and then will be asked to come for a scan.
If Negative: In this case don’t count it as a failed cycle, instead the infertility team would have a better idea of what protocol to follow and what changes to make in the following cycles. In this case you can meet your consultant without fee and plan your next cycle of IVF.
By- Dr. Alvina Arslan Meer
ART Coordinator (MBBS) and Online Counselor