Keep your calm during fertility treatment with these 5 tips

Published on: 19 January 2022, 12:35 pm IST

Give your mental health some much-needed TLC during your fertility treatment, instead of taking undue stress which will lead to other complications.

infertility terms
Don't lose hope. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Those who haven’t gone through a fertility treatment may never understand the mental health impact it can have on those who have. While mental health has become a focal point for many in the past year, the stigma and silence continue, especially on the path to parenthood.

In times of stress, it’s easy to overlook your mental health, but paying attention to your emotional well-being will ensure that you thrive throughout fertility treatment. At times, many aspects of infertility are outside of even your doctor’s control. This can lead to self-blame, feelings of ineffectiveness, and comparing yourself to everybody else.

IVF
A fertility treatment needs you to be strong. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Importance of good mental health during fertility treatment

Negative thinking can lead to more stress and magnify unfavourable circumstances. Anxiety is another common mental health issue experienced by those facing fertility challenges. Fertility treatment can take a mental toll on your well-being. Trying to balance relationships, work and everyday realities is not simple and can be very overwhelming at times.

A number of studies have found that the incidence of depression in infertile couples presenting for treatment is quite high. These symptoms may interfere with fertility even more and ability to tolerate the ongoing treatment. These issues need to be properly addressed in an infertile couple.

Stress and anxiety can create distance between partners. They need to be counselled that by sharing the emotional burden and talking together, we can close the gap.

Mental health counselling during fertility treatment

In India, where people still do not talk openly about IVF due to taboos associated with infertility and assisted reproductive techniques, the role of the treating counselor becomes very important to refute misconceptions and boost the confidence of couple undergoing infertility treatment.

In a nutshell, psychological issues are a majorly ignored concern during fertility treatment. It should be properly addressed and counselled in order to get the best result from the commencing treatment.

ivf and mental health
There’s no harm in seeking a counselor’s help. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

The journey of trying and struggling to conceive is itself stressful, but at the same time, the process of seeking assisted reproductive treatment itself has a psychological impact. The process of undergoing treatment is itself linked to stress, depression and anxiety, particularly for those people who undergo multiple treatment cycles.

It’s nothing new to understand that social and psychological factors can have great impact on the outcomes of the fertility treatments.

A variety of studies have looked at stress and mood as predictors of success in assisted reproduction. The majority have found that distress is associated with lower pregnancy rates in fertility treatments like IVF.

Ways to combat mental health issues during fertility treatment:

1. Change the negative narrative to a positive one:

Imagine yourself in “pre-parenthood” rather than in a state of infertility. With ever-evolving technology, so many options are available now for treatment and family building (IUI, IVF, genetic testing, donor egg, donor sperm, surrogacy, gestational carriers, adoption, foster care), that if you want to experience parenting, there will be a way.

2. Expect emotional bouts to recur and subside:

The initial shock may subside after a few days, but the emotional pain can ebb and flow, over and over. Observe them with patience rather than alarm, and be conscious about how those feelings are impacting you, while try maintaining calm at the same time.

ivf and mental health
You’ve got to keep trying. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

3. Dwell on the potential future:

Remind yourself that you had the problem before you had the
diagnosis. The diagnosis just marked the beginning of treatment to try to make the problem better!

4. Communicate:

Besides everything, one must be open to communicate and share everything with your partner, as stress and anxiety can create distance between you and your partner. By sharing the emotional burden and setting time aside to reflect and talk together, you can close that gap. It is important to accept that both men and women are emotionally affected by infertility. So, both partners need to share, support and listen to each other.

5. Calm the mind

Practice mindfulness techniques. With all the complex thoughts racing through your mind, daily mindfulness activities can help keep you in the present moment,
even if you only do it for 5 minutes a day. Never shy away from seeking support from others, particularly others in a similar position, can remind you that you are not alone, as this can be difficult to discuss with your friends or family who have not had the same experiences as you. Remain positive and calm all through your fertility journey.

Dr Rita Bakshi Dr Rita Bakshi

Dr Rita Bakshi, Founder, RISAA IVF 

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