What Do You Tell Your Family And Friends?
So a little bit about the week that has been for me – we have finished another round of Year 12 exams this week in our home, which is always a little stressful. Keeping the household quiet, stress free, full of food, healthy snacks and ensuring hydration, meant we sailed through quite easily. My son in Year 8 also had exams, although the pressure at this stage is not as great and he seems to be taking it all in his stride anyway. The best part for my youngest son, is that not much expected of you in school when you are 8 years of age and in Year 3, so life is one big play date with his friends in the street.
Ok so let’s jump straight in to discuss the difficult question of – just what do you tell your family and friends when you are having fertility treatment?
The first thing people realise when they find out that they require assistance to achieve pregnancy, is that they are not alone. 1 in 6 couples, approximately 15% of the population are in exactly the same situation. In fact we all know someone in our circle of family and friends who has been having fertility treatment at any given time, it is very common.
So who should you tell and when do you tell them? This all depends on who is living close by and how many friends you have to lean upon.
Telling your family that you are undergoing fertility treatment is difficult for some people, as they view their fertility issues, especially when related to the act of intercourse to be a highly intimate conversation. Sex is a natural part of life however discussing this with your parents may seem like a completely inappropriate subject. If this is the case then I would suggest that you do not tell your family about the treatment.
Culturally some families place a great deal of importance on having children so this can add to the stress of not being able to achieve a pregnancy. In these instances again it may be wiser to wait until you are pregnant and well into your second trimester before you discuss the issue with them.
Telling your friends is important for both men and women, because support is mandatory at the time you are receiving fertility treatment. This has more to do with the negative emotions that you will experience surrounding your cycle, fear, anger, sadness, guilt and frustration to name just a few are all normal responses. Having your close friends know what you are going through, will give you a sounding board to talk about the problems and let off some steam. With men especially this is vital, to have mates around to discuss your concerns will help alleviate some of the pressure that will invariable be felt between your partner and yourself.
There is so much to take on board when you commence fertility treatment, so talking with loved ones definitely helps with the stress and reduces anxiety levels. So many of the appointments will be during the day, so it is helpful to have friends who can attend with you at the time of oocyte pick-ups when you will have sedation and embryo transfer. It is not always possible for both partners to attend these important stages and having friends who know your situation, will mean you have a backup crew to assist when required.
This reminds me of the time when I returned to work after having my daughter, I had taken a year off on maternity leave and it was my first day back. I sat down in the afternoon to do a really difficult ICSI (intra cyto plasmic sperm injection) case. This involved stripping all the cells from the eggs and then finding and choosing sperm to physically inject them into the eggs. The process for this particular case took me over an hour and I remember feeling extremely relieved when I had finished it and gone home for the afternoon. It wasn’t until about 1am the next morning that I thought about the ICSI patient. I sat bolt upright in bed, thinking OMG – I had not realised it at the time because of the common surname, but I had just injected my friends eggs, not knowing that she had gone for her OPU that day. I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning, hoping and praying I did a good job. In the morning at the fertilisation check, I realised that all was well and she had a good number of fertilised embryos … I felt a huge sigh of relief. My friend went on to have 2 successful pregnancies from that batch of embryos having a son and daughter, and I even attended the first birthday party for one, which was kind of freaky when you consider my involvement from conception!
So even if you do not have an embryologist as a friend, informing your friends of your treatment will allow you an emotional release and give you the much needed support during your treatment. I cannot tell you how many times I have witnessed patients turn up at the clinic, completely stressed after not allowing sufficient time for traffic and parking and they are about to have an Embryo Transfer, which is the most important time of their treatment. Partners have missed out on seeing the embryo prior to transfer, again due to traffic and time constraints. At these times we had to take 10 minutes to calm patients down and get them into a better state before the actual embryo transfer. Clients who attended appointments with friends and other family members, were much more relaxed by comparison and this had significant benefits for their cycle.
Important to note here is whether or not you tell your Employer about your fertility treatment. I would always advise yes here, as there are so many appointments, blood tests, ultrasounds, pick-ups, semen preparation, embryo transfers etc., all requiring time away from work. Giving this information to your employer will allow for greater flexibility and understanding of not only your time away from work but also the complex emotional journey that you will be experiencing.
Talking about fertility treatment not only helps you but those around you to understand, empathise and offer support. Having support does not equal telling everyone, just a select few.
This is a good thing and will give you and your partner an ideal circuit breaker and much needed love during this time.
If you would like any further information or would like to send me any questions please head to my website –
www.ivfcoachingclinic.com.au or my Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/ivfcoachingclinic/ or you can follow me on Instagram
@sophiabaseotto or @ivfcoachingclinic
Kind Regards, Sophia