Video: When should I change my fertility treatment approach?


Hi, I’m Lisa Stack, CNY Fertility Support Coordinator, and I wanted to supplement to my weekly article, Words of Support and Encouragement with a video this week to help convey some of the ideas that I was talking about.  Often in our webinars and our support groups we hear the concern that patients aren’t exactly sure when to switch to the next level of treatment.  You may be doing IUIs, or you have done a number of IUIs, or tried intercourse with Clomid or whatever cycle it may be, and now you’ve reached a point where after doing a few of the cycles, one of the practitioners has suggested that you move onto IVF or an IUI injectable cycle, or something a little more invasive than you are used to.  While that decision can be a little challenging and kind of scary, there are good benefits to it as well.  The challenge comes when you are trying to discern whether it’s time to switch, a lot of emotions can arise.
A lot of our patients say that they feel anxiety, grief; a lot of those same original emotions that come from the diagnosis of infertility come up again.  What you’re doing is you’re delving a little further into the topic; you’re further acknowledging that you need some help to conceive.  You’re also further acknowledging that what you’re doing hasn’t necessarily been enough or been right in those cycles.  It’s OK to revisit those feelings of grief and those very basic emotions of anxiety, depression, and stress, just lack of confidence and unknowing, is very common to revisit those.
What you can do is when you’re approached with the idea or when you’re coming to the idea yourself of going onto the next step and you’re feeling those concerns and you’re wondering, “Maybe I should do another couple cycles of IUI, what I have been doing, to start to feel more confident, more ready to switch?”; you can place yourself in that situation.  If you’re discerning between IUI and IVF, place yourself in the situation of doing an IVF cycle.  How would you feel?  Would you be anxious?  Would you be excited?  Would you feel hope?  Would you feel like you didn’t do enough IUIs… maybe there’s still some opportunity there?  Try to really meditate on that for a few moments.  Write down your emotions, maybe see what your partner is feeling, if you’re in a relationship with a partner that’s going through this with you.   Just really try to place yourself in that position.  Try to recreate what that would be like.  Really just get in touch with those emotions.  Also, do the same thing with the IUIs.  If you were to continue doing another IUI cycle or two or three or however many, reassess those emotions as well.  Do you feel like you’re stuck in the same kind of cycle, repeating it over and over again?  Do you feel comfortable that you’re working towards a positive goal and that you’re confident that the treatment is right for you?
Assess your emotions in both areas and really look at them and see which one makes me feel most comfortable?  Which one makes me feel less anxious and less stressed?  Which one makes me feel like I’m moving most towards my goal?  That can be a good gauge for you to decide which way to go, and while this method isn’t foolproof, it isn’t 100 percent; it can give you a little bit of an idea as to when you’re going to make that decision or as you move towards it.  Also, know that you don’t have to make the decision immediately.  It’s always OK to take a break as long as you check with the physicians.  You don’t ever have to feel bad about that or that you’re missing time because it can help.  It can be beneficial sometimes the body, the mind, and the spirit need take a break.  Just take your time discerning what the next step is.
If you ever want to talk to us, you can.  You can always make a follow-up appointment if you want to just get into the office, have a practitioner open your chart up and reassess where you are, take a look at your previous cycles, and where you are physically and mentally right now, maybe come up with a new plan.  You could always call or e-mail me, I’m always able and willing to go through your options with you on more of an emotional level and just kind of help you talk through it and relay back what you’re saying.  It always helps to have a third person just to give you their perspective and just to hear what you’re saying and listen to you and give you some good advice.  So, please, feel free to contact us.  If you are feeling those emotions that you’re stuck between two decisions or protocols; don’t worry, you’re not alone.  There’s always someone here to give you support.