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Safeguarding Mental Health while undergoing Fertility Treatments

--------------written by Dr. Rita Bakshi, Founder, RISAA IVF Parenthood is one of the most remarkable transformations in the life of both men and women. When couples are trying and not getting pregnant after trying for a

————–written by Dr. Rita Bakshi, Founder, RISAA IVF

Parenthood is one of the most remarkable transformations in the life of both men and women. When couples are trying and not getting pregnant after trying for a long time, it can be heartbreaking and frustrating. Majority of couples who are affected with infertility have high levels of psychological discomfort. A feeling of being depressed, anxious, stressed, frustrated, and irritated is noticed in these couples.  Though many people with fertility problems can have a child after treatment, such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF). While undergoing such treatments, anxiety about whether the treatment will work can also affect a person’s mental health. Waiting for tests, results, and treatments, especially, waiting more anxiously about bringing a new life into the world. There is a lot of waiting while undergoing fertility treatments. It may appear that life has come to a halt while you are waiting for the good things to happen. When a round of reproductive treatments fails, for example, women and couples may suffer intense feelings of sadness. Anxiety is a natural feeling while undergoing fertility treatment. Rather a range of emotions and mental discomfort may pop up especially if you’re taking medication that can affect your hormones.

Those who haven’t gone through infertility treatment may never understand the mental health impact it can have on those who have undergone the treatment. 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. Negative thinking can lead to more stress and magnify unfavourable circumstances.

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

Let us have a glance at the simple ways of combating mental health during fertility treatment:

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.

Involve in the hobbies you enjoy. Gather information about the treatment and talk to doctors and specialists. Also, talk to those who are undergoing similar experiences.  Support groups and educational sessions can help to minimize feelings of loneliness. It also provides opportunities to learn and share information with others who are going through infertility.

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 males and females are emotionally affected by infertility, so both partners need to share, support, and listen to each other.

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.  You are not alone. You can discuss your feelings with your friends or family whom you can trust.

Remain Positive and Calm all through your fertility journey.

Several studies have found that stress and anxiety can be triggers for hormonal imbalances and decline in fertility as well. 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.

In a nutshell, psychological issues are a major ignored concern during fertility treatment, which should be properly addressed and counselled to get the best result from the commencing treatment. It is always recommended to get a fertility consultation before planning to start a family because it will help you understand where you stand and things that need to be worked on. You must also do all the things that keep you healthy, while undergoing fertility treatment, like concentrating on the things you enjoy doing.  Try to continue living your life around the treatment so that regardless of the outcome.


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