Every fertility patient needs these 5 things.
1.TEAM: Find your team. Think about everyone you need in your huddle to help you reach your goals. Grab a piece of paper right now and write down who you need on your roster to make this as easy and enjoyable a process as possible. Don’t just think about your main huddle, think about who you need on your cheering squad too. For example: Do you have PCOS? Make sure your team includes: a personal trainer, nutritionist, acupuncturist and fertility doctor.
2.TRY: Having sex probably feels like a chore by now and depending on how long you’ve been trying, you might be skipping sex for months at a time. Sex on demand isn’t fun or sexy. You aren’t tearing each other’s clothes off like in soap operas, but try to get your groove back. See a sex therapist if needed. I know it sounds funny to think after being a fertility patient that you could possibly get pregnant naturally, but sometimes the impossible happens.
3.TRANSPARENCY: Be honest with yourself about your diagnosis. If you’re over 40, your fertility issues are at least partially age related. Fertility isn’t skin deep, you “can’t put botox in your ovary,” and there’s no such thing as having the ovaries of a 25 year old. If the sperm counts are low, then see a urologist, do extra testing and start supplements and make sure you’re living your healthiest life ever. Is your BMI over 30? Then do what you can to reduce weight, exercise and eat healthy.
If you don’t know what your fertility factors are, then meet with a fertility specialist who will list them for you, offer you treatment options, and guidance around what you can do to make things even better. I want my patients to get pregnant without my help and when you do need my help, you are starting treatment having done everything possible to optimize your chances.
4.THERAPY: There is no doubt about it, being a fertility patient can make a sane person feel crazy. You can start to become obsessive about checking ovulation, timing of intercourse and testing for pregnancy. The medications can make you feel depressed, emotional and even manic. I strongly recommend seeing a therapist during treatment not only to help you during this very tough time but to support you in your intimate, personal and work relationships. Talk to your doctor about therapists that specialize in fertility in your area.
5.TREATMENT: Find a treatment that feels right for you and give it your all. Make sure you know what you’re taking, why you’re taking it, the expected side effects and pregnancy rates. Go into your treatment cycles fully informed so you feel as much in control as possible. If you don’t know how to ask questions, if you just ask “why?” you’ll be in the know. If your treatment isn’t successful, follow-up immediately with why and what your doctor thinks they learned from the treatment and see if they can offer you any alternatives to make things even better. If you’re a patient of mine and if for example we did a fertility pill IUI cycle that didn’t work, we’d talk about how many eggs you ovulated, whether it was the number expected, how the sperm quality looked, whether we should add a double IUI, low dose fertility shots or do the exact same thing again. I want everyone with fertility issues to be supported and cared for. If you have the 5 “T’s” then you’ll be able to go through this journey more prepared and relaxed.