08 December 2008
Emotionally and Physically Preparing for IVF
Your Emotional Preparedness:
There are many complex emotions that you will be encountering as you are anticipating your IVF cycle. If you are using donor eggs, donor sperm, or a surrogate, the emotions that you have will be even more splintered, as you also must consider the weight of genetics in this equation.
Before you proceed with IVF, you will want to speak with a psychotherapist that is trained in infertility. There are some very natural concerns that you will have and feelings that you will be confronted with. Your therapist can give you gentle guidance as you navigate through these new features, in your pursuit of pregnancy.
Some emotions that you can expect to have are:
• Loss or mourning over lost pregnancies, cycles that failed before and possibly even the loss of your ovaries. If you are having IVF, there is a strong likelihood that you have encountered a great loss to get there. It is natural that you will feel grief, as you are anticipating your cycle.
• Fear of not being a "real" parent is another very normal emotion that you may experience as you are preparing for your IVF cycle. Your child will not be any less than your child, and you will be no less their mother. You'll still be the one they turn to, when they fall off their first bike. You're just like any other pregnant woman, only you will have fought harder to get there.
- Being afraid that it won't work after all of the time, money and emotions that you've invested in the procedure is natural. The truth is, it may not work and you need to understand that prior to moving forward. Your counselor will help guide you in this matter.
- You may feel scared that you will let down your donor, if they are a friend or family member. You may feel as though you are personally disappointing someone, who went through an enormous quest to help you, if the cycle fails. It's important to know that you have no control over the outcome and they have been counseled in the possibilities of a failed cycle, prior to the retrieval.
Don't be concerned if you start to question the decision to utilize IVF, donor eggs or sperm. When you are faced with a huge decision it's not unusual to falter now and then. This is a big step and it takes some getting used to.
Finally, after all of these concerns and emotions, you may also feel something you haven't felt in a long time; you may feel hope. Donor eggs may not be a certainty and IVF may not be 100% successful; but you can permit yourself to enjoy a dash of hope, in your anticipation.
Your Physical Preparedness:
As your cycle approaches, there are a few things that you can do to prepare yourself. It goes without say that you should limit your caffeine intake, eliminate smoking, and drinking alcohol. Light to moderate exercise is beneficial to both your emotional and physical well-being, which ultimately is good for your reproductive health. Consult your doctor before you start a new fitness plan and it's important to remember that a rigorous routine should be omitted.
Remember that you're not just preparing for IVF, you're preparing for a pregnancy. It's recommended that women who are attempting pregnancy begin taking folic acid, prior to conception and you may want to include prenatal vitamins, in your daily routine. This will create the best environment for your fetus.
A diet that is high in leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, calcium as well as protein, is optimal for your pregnancy. You may want to talk to your doctor or nutritionist about foods that would be most beneficial to you, during your pregnancy, or even to help you build a pre-pregnancy meal plan, to prepare you for conception. Do not begin any restrictive diets, such as low-calorie or low-carbohydrate. Though it's not ideal to be overweight in pregnancy, this is not the time to start a weight loss plan.
The month prior to your transfer your doctor may ask you to participate in a mock cycle, to show that you and your donor respond properly to your respective hormone therapies. The endometrium used to be accessed via biopsy, but this technology did not prove itself reliable. Today you will most likely have an ultrasound about 10-12 days into your estrogen-enhanced cycle to measure your endometrius.
You may need to start birth control pills to regulate your cycle so that you can synchronize with your donor's. You may also be asked to use a gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist, which inhibits the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge; so that your own cycle does not get canceled and the uterine lining is ready for the implanted embryo.
You may still feel unprepared when it is time to begin your cycle, but that is completely normal as well. You may never feel completely prepared. The important part is that you have made your decision and are headed toward the next step in your pursuit to have your child.
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