When it comes to IVF you can never be too prepared. In this episode of The Egg Whisperer Show, I share with you the five key areas I ask my patients to consider.
1. Be Clear on Why You’re Considering IVF.
Ask yourself these questions.
- Why are you doing IVF?
- What are the fertility factors that are playing a role in your case?
- Is there something else you can do to improve your chances?
Let me give you an example. If sperm is the factor in your fertility struggles, then there are lifestyle factors that your male partner may be able to change in order to improve and enhance the quality of sperm.
Find out what you can do to set yourself up for the healthiest pregnancy. I want my patients to understand all ways to optimize their chances at conception before pursuing IVF. Do IVF only after fully understanding your fertility diagnosis through the TUSHY method.
2. Realize Your Relationships May Change
This is something I ask my patients to think about before, during, and after IVF.
I want to tell you a bit about the story of Dr. Mimi Lee. She’s a wonderful woman who went through IVF with someone she was engaged with. They later married, but when their relationship changed it included a dispute over the future of her embryos. Things did not end well for Dr. Lee’s desire to keep her embryos after divorce. I don’t want to see the same for you.
If you’re divorcing and want a second child, then you may not get that second child. Much of this depends on the agreement set in place of what to do with your embryos should your relationship status change. For some couples that may include not using the embryos.
I want everyone to please understand that your IVF consent forms are legal documents. If you are having any doubts in your relationship then this is particularly important to keep in mind. I would encourage you to seek counseling and possibly to even include a lawyer in discussing and reviewing the IVF consent forms. This may seem like overkill, but it is preparation for a potentially sticky situation later. More importantly, if you feel like your relationship is on shaky ground, then please consider holding off on going through the cycle until you’re in a better place.
Are you uncertain if your relationship will last? In this case, I encourage my patients to consider doing two IVF cycles. One of these cycles will be just for them to freeze their eggs vs. embryos which include their partner’s DNA.
3. Develop a Plan for Unused Embryos
When you’re going through IVF this is likely the last thing you want to think or talk about.
When I meet patients I always ask them two questions.
- What do you think the problem is on why you’re not getting pregnant?
- How many kids do you want?
Most people look at me like I have two heads with this second question. They often express to me how happy they’d be with just one child. But I know that when patients go through IVF, many times there are extra embryos.
How you feel about those extra embryos changes over time, especially as you become a parent and realize what those embryos mean to you.
My counsel? Talk with your partner about how you’ll handle these extra embryos before going through IVF. Would you donate them to another family? To science? Would you discard them?
There have been embryos transferred born after 20 years being frozen. Suffice to say, embryos do not experience freezer burn. At the same time, the decision to discard an embryo is irreversible. Be mindful and carefully consider your decision.
4. Know That Pregnancy Isn’t Always Easy
When you’ve had a really hard struggle, most of us feel really guilty about complaining about pregnancy. But the reality is that pregnancy isn’t always enjoyable for people. I like to think that all of my patients look gorgeous pregnant, but my patients don’t always feel the same. For that reason, the depression or anxiety that people may have during treatment may carry over into pregnancy. It’s also why I think it’s really important to consider who’s on your team. Who will be your support? Consider a fertility therapist. Make sure your relationship with your partner is healthy, and if not, meet with a therapist. There are many books about how to cope with anxiety and depression in pregnancy. Read more here: https://www.draimee.org/how-to-deal-with-pregnancy-anxiety-after-a-miscarriage-or-infertility
If you are feeling guilty about not loving every minute of pregnancy then I can tell you, you are not alone. It does get better. Sometimes it doesn’t for some people and sometimes those feelings don’t go away after you deliver. I’m here to tell you that it’s okay.
5. Understand that Your Feelings May Linger
The feelings you had when you had a hard time getting pregnant can sometimes continue during pregnancy, after pregnancy, and beyond.
Even if you’ve gone through IVF and it doesn’t work the trauma of the treatment can continue.
If you were successful with your IVF cycle you may still feel pain in your heart when you hear other people announce their pregnancies. Even if it’s a close friend. You can be happy, but you may also carry with you painful memories of how difficult your journey was to get pregnant. This is okay. You can have conflicting emotions and experience them both at once. You are normal. I want you to know that you’re not alone if you’re feeling any of this.
There are five things I like for my patients to consider before, during, after IVF. There is no such thing as being over-prepared when it comes to this procedure or any aspect of preparing for your family.
- Be 100% clear on why you’re doing IVF.
2. Make sure your relationships are solid.
3. Have a plan for what to do with unused embryos.
4. Pregnancy isn’t always a fun ride — and that doesn’t mean you’re any less grateful for being pregnant. You can experience conflicting emotions and know that this is normal.
5. The trauma from failed treatments (even those that work) is real.
Work your feelings out. Talk to a therapist and as always I hope that you are able to talk to your doctor about this and any other questions or concerns you have.
You can also catch more of me and topics like this through the Egg Whisperer Show. The episodes are live-streamed on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter and on Wednesdays at 7 PM PST. Subscribe to the podcast too!