It is often a shock to couples when they realise the emotional, physical and financial burden that going on a fertility treatment can have on them, and also the chemistry of their relationship.
I have written in the past on the toil fertility treatments, and the TTC journey in general, can have on a marriage, and how some of these couple have been able to overcome these challenges or are managing the resulting strain.
Sometimes, the route to solving the problem is even more painful than the problem itself, so it takes a strong back and mind to go on the journey without breaking into pieces, before the bundle of joy arrives.
This post is about preparing your mind, if you are just thinking about embarking on fertility treatment, or are already in it. You don’t have to find out for yourself, you can learn from other people’s experiences and come better prepared to the treadmill of fertility treatments. These tips will help you get prepared and manage your expectations:
Consult a fertility doctor
First of all, before a couple starts to think that they might have challenges with fertility, medical experts say, they need to have been trying for a period of 6 months to 1 year. By this time, you
and your spouse would have been able to determine that, yes, there is a problem somewhere.
While some couples will wait out the year, some do not have that patience, especially if they are advanced in age, as the chances of getting pregnant dwindle each year, with the odds of miscarriage increasing.
So, for a start, you need to go see
a fertility doctor. You can opt for a regular doctor, but to make the journey shorter, it is best to find a good fertility clinic to find out what could be wrong. As this is a something that affects the couple, it is a good idea for both partners to go, so from the onset, they are on the same page.
During your first visit to the doctor, routine tests will be carried out to evaluate the most important aspects of fertility; eggs, sperm, structures such as fallopian tubes and the uterus, as well as hormone levels of one or both partners. The results of these tests will assist your doctor in formulating the best treatment plan that will provide you with the optimal chances of pregnant, carrying to term, and having the baby.
You might also want to tell the doctor the whole truth about your medical history. It will help you in the long run.
Know your fertility treatments
Before the results of your tests come out, the doctor will most likely educate you about the possible treatments available. While you might want to pull out the big guns and go for assisted reproduction like IVF, it is worthwhile to be aware of less expensive options, such as fertility drugs or even surgery.
But that was the very option that Mariam*, a 33 three year old mom choose. She had been dealing with infertility since she got married two years before. When they started fertility treatment last year, she had already made up her mind to go for IVF. The only thing that delayed her was the time it was taking her and her husband to scrimp and save for it. It took a lot of convincing for her to agree to try the ovulation inducing drug, Clomid, before starting IVF. In the end, she agreed and got pregnant the very first cycle on the drug.
Remember, there are lots of choices in fertility treatments, thanks to innovative technology. The least invasive treatments might be a good place to start, especially if you are on a budget. While doing that, you can save up for the big ones, if you have not gotten pregnant by then.
Some of you already know how drugs like Clomid have changed the stories of women dealing with ovulation issues, mainly brought about by hormonal imbalance and Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).
Other treatment options available include Surgery, especially if there is the issue of blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, fibroids and other structural problems with reproductive organs. Minor laparoscopic surgery can help diagnose the problem, or clear any obstructions preventing conception. Sometimes, surgery can be more extensive and require an incision in your abdomen.
Before you embark of these treatments, you should know that it does not come cheap. IVF treatment in Nigeria costs, on the average, about a million naira, for a single cycle…and there are no guarantees. If you are cycling abroad, that too comes with its own financial implications.
For this, you need to be prepared, work out your financial plan, and see how you will be able to fund your treatment(s), and care for the babies when they do come.
Your emotional state during fertility treatment goes a long way in determining if you will continue with the treatment, and, more importantly, if the treatments will be successful. To be honest, infertility brings with it lots of emotional challenge; self blame, self pity, and all the emotions in between, but when you start treatment, it becomes a different ball game, because you will often hope against hope that the first treatment will work. If it fails, you go onto the next one, and the one after that. Even when it becomes more like a routine, after a while, a part of your heart can’t help but get lost in the process.
So, whatever you do, find a support system like The Fertile Chick, or other forums and support groups, to see you through this process. Most importantly, it is important to cleave to your partner at this critical time, and be open to healing together.
I hope I have been able to help you as begin your fertility treatment. God’s peed as you proceed.
Join the conversation with any of our TTC and Pregnancy Groups here.