If you and your partner have struggled for years to conceive a baby, you know just how frustrating and emotionally draining infertility can be. Making the decision to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) can give you both the hope and reassurance you need to continue trying for a baby — as long as you understand what to expect along the way.
Although IVF is often successful, the process can be stressful, isolating, and psychologically exhausting for many couples — the very thing that comes so naturally and easily to most others requires medical intervention, multiple rounds of treatments, and enormous dedication.
Fertility treatment can be particularly hard on women, as they’re the ones who undergo the most invasive IVF procedures and often carry the most stress, both physically and emotionally.
Here at Innovation Fertility Preservation and IVF in Harrison, New York and Manhattan, NYC, we know that having a supportive partner can go a long way in making the IVF process more relaxing and manageable for women. Read on to learn a few simple ways you can help your partner through the stress of IVF:
Be there in every possible way
One of the most important things you can do to help ease the stress of IVF is to make sure your wife or partner knows she’s not on her own.
Going with her to every doctor’s appointment, even when your presence isn’t necessarily required, is a great place to start. In addition to holding her hand and being part of the experience, it’ll give you an opportunity to learn a lot more about the treatment as well as any medicines she has to take.
When your partner wants to share her feelings or simply vent, listen with empathy so she knows you care. Frequent doctor visits, daily injections, follicle observation, and constant hope for success can make IVF an all-consuming process. While your partner doesn’t expect you to change the process or fix her emotions, she does want to know you’re ready to listen anytime she needs to talk.
Sometimes, simply being present in the moment is all you need to do to let her know that you’re in the process together. When the going gets rough, take a break from your phone, turn off the TV, and focus on your partner — hug her often and give her a shoulder to cry on when she needs one.
Make an effort to help out at home
If your relationship follows the societal norm on housework, chances are your partner usually takes care of the lion’s share of household chores.
Even if you take pride in pulling your weight when it comes to going grocery shopping, preparing meals, washing dishes, doing laundry, and paying the bills, there’s probably plenty of other tasks you can fit on your plate.
Taking on as much of the daily to-do list as you possible can be an easy way to help ease your partner’s stress during fertility treatments. Between the stress and physical effects of IVF, your partner may be feeling less energetic than usual.
A little effort on your part can make a big difference: Make grocery lists, get the shopping done, plan meals, help out with the laundry, and clean the things you normally don't clean (even if that means scrubbing a toilet or two).
At the end of the day, your partner will appreciate the help and be grateful that she has a partner who takes responsibility for making daily life during IVF run as smoothly as possible.
Find ways to help her unwind
With something as consuming as IVF, it’s essential to find simple strategies and practical activities that can help both you and your partner relax and alleviate stress.
So much of the stresses brought on by IVF come from worry, including ongoing worries about the expense of the treatment and whether or not it will be successful.
Exercise is an excellent way to relieve stress because it releases feel-good endorphins that make it easier to cope with stresses big and small. Walking outdoors is an ideal choice because it’s low impact, you can do it together, and spending time outside can be therapeutic.
Encouraging your partner to try yoga, tai chi, or meditation can help her be more mindful of both her body and her thoughts so she can learn how to control or release her worries more effectively. Just remember that women who are trying to become pregnant should avoid hot yoga.
Scheduling a weekly or bi-weekly massage, acupuncture treatment, pedicure, or dinner out can also be beneficial — what you choose to do depends on your partner’s interests and needs.
If IVF becomes more challenging than you and your partner ever anticipated, remember that the Kutluk Oktay, MD, PhD and the team at Innovation Fertility Preservation and IVF is always here to help.
Call our Harrison, New York office or our office in Manhattan to learn more, or make an appointment today using our convenient online booking tool.