When you are faced with changing infertility treatment, you may be feeling some anxiety. Uncertainty over what to do and how to proceed can throw you into a feeling of disequilibrium and you may struggle to achieve a sense of balance again.
It’s important to remember that these are normal feelings. You may be coming from a place of trying for years on your own, from unsuccessful treatments, or a pregnancy loss, and experiencing a sense of grief and loss; therefore it is hard to feel excitement or place hope in the future and a chance of success with another path.
Additionally, starting or changing infertility treatments may involve more advanced options, like in vitro fertilization (IVF), or a different way to build a family, such as using an egg donor or sperm donor, and may require some emotional adjustment on your part.
Tips for Starting or Changing Infertility Treatment
Here are some tips to help if you’re faced with the decision to start a new or change your current infertility treatment plan:
Give yourself time to grieve.
Perhaps you recently had a pregnancy loss or your doctor has just told you that she doesn’t think your current treatment will be successful and that it is time to reconsider. You need time to process this information and pay attention to your emotions before choosing a new path. We all feel more comfortable when we have a plan, but changing infertility treatment just to fill the emptiness inside will not be helpful to you in the long run. Our feelings ultimately catch up with us if we don’t give ourselves the chance to deal with them at the time.
Sit down with your spouse, partner, or a trusted friend.
Evaluate the pros and cons of changing infertility treatment. What costs—financial, logistical, physical, and emotional—will be involved? Will it be a good fit for both you and your partner?
Set a timeframe for making the decision.
While you do want to give yourself time to grieve, you don’t want to be “stuck” with indecision. You can always reevaluate your timeframe depending on how your decision making process is going.
Enlist the help of your medical team, and seek counseling when needed.
Your medical team will always be there for you and willing to guide you in this process. Seeking counseling can also give you a safe, unrushed space to work through the important decision of changing your treatment plan and come to a resolution.
Keep in mind the saying that “this too shall pass.”
You will feel better and back in equilibrium once you have made a careful, well-thought-out decision.
If you are struggling with the decision to start a new or change infertility treatment plans and need additional support, Shady Grove Fertility’s support groups can be an invaluable tool as you surround yourself with others who are in your shoes. Individual or couple counseling is also available. For more information about our support groups or to schedule an appointment, please contact our New Patient Center at 877-971-7755.
About the Author:
Patricia Sachs, LCSW-C, has worked with individuals, couples, children, and families in hospital, university, and private practice settings. She has been on the counseling staff at Shady Grove Fertility since 1991, and her special interests include counseling patients undergoing IVF, treatment for secondary infertility, as well as those using donor gametes. She recently co-authored, with Carol Toll, LCSW-C, the chapter ‘Counseling recipients of anonymous donor gametes’ in Fertility Counseling: Clinical Guide and Case Studies, edited by Sharon Covington, MSW, LCSW-C, and has also published research on the demographics of anonymous egg donors. Mrs. Sachs sees patients in the Rockville and Waldorf, MD, offices.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in October 2017 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness as of August 2018.