7 Keys to a Successful Cycle
In my Webinar I discuss these key aspects to having a successful cycle and it is something that I also discuss in my Strategy Calls with clients, however, I thought it would be good to share this with you here in a blog.
What have I been up to lately, well recently I have been a quest to find a day bed. That may seem like a simple process but it involved a great deal of research, questions, missing out on deals on Marketplace, until I finally found one that suited my needs. So, I find myself lately, with a great place to drink tea and read a book, lazying on the daybed has become my new favourite place to be, soaking up the peace and quiet. It is also an amazing place to write, as I found out recently! It is a larger style of daybed that can comfortably fit 2 adults and a small child, not the regular size, so it took me a few months to find and get delivered to our home.
So enough about the talk about the dream daybed … lets get back to the blog!
When you undertake fertility treatment, no-one imagines just how much it will consume your entire life and impact every other relationship that you have currently. In fact, for many clients ttc it has already taken up a great deal of the lives up until this point.
After all, getting pregnant, is not meant to be that hard and many clients have been trying to prevent pregnancy with contraception for years prior to this point, which can be a very bitter irony!
1st Key is Relationships
For many clients they will have a partner to confide in and comfort them, equally though many clients undergo treatment on their own.
TTC is an extremely emotional experience and having a great relationship with your partner is helpful, however, even the strongest of relationships will be challenged during this stressful time.
I always advise clients to have more people to talk with than just their partner or one close friend, the pressure is great enough, so having others to talk to, will protect your partner and close friends from the burden and ultimately strengthen these relationships.
For the singles undergoing treatment, having a small circle of support with family and friends is ideal, to keep you grounded and act as a sounding board.
Friends play an important role in our lives, learning to open up to friends especially for men, is not an easy task. For men, I recommend support groups with other men going through the same process. Just having friends to go out with and do all the regular things, dinner, coffee, movies etc. Can help you unwind and have some much-needed fun!
2nd Key is Finances
This is a big consideration and hurdle for many clients. Fertility treatment is expensive, not everyone will be able to attend the bulk billing clinics and often times there is more than one cycle required. On average, when budgeting, my recommendation is to plan for 3 cycles, as this is supported by the statistics on average. I have spoken to clients who have achieved an ongoing pregnancy after 1 cycle, for others it has ben 19 cycles and still no pregnancy.
There are no hard and fast rules here, budgeting for this type of unknown, places an incredible strain on relationships. I always advise asking about all the possible payment options available at your clinic, when payments are due and any hidden costs that you didn’t expect.
The big science cost (cycle one) is one thing, however, hospital, anaesthetist, consultations, medications, feasibility studies, transfer bed fees, to name just a few, can quickly throw your budget out of the window. Fore warned is fore armed.
3rd key is Feelings
The forums are a buzz with how hard ttc can be, it is a tough process and often times the feelings that you experience, will not have been discussed with you in consultations.
Men and women will each cope with the treatment process individually, this process is invasive and you may find yourself avoiding social situations. It may be because you are not drinking alcohol, it could be family situations with other people’s children – upsets you.
Feelings of overwhelm, anger, fear, sadness, guilt, are all normal during this time. By acknowledging that this is a difficult time and allowing yourself to feel and express all the emotions that are present for you, in the comfort of your own home, with your support people is helpful. Bottling up your emotions, pushing them to one side and forcing yourself into difficult social situations is going to create more turmoil for you ultimately.
How are you coping? Asking this question for yourself regularly and most importantly asking for help when you are not doing well, will ensure that you are not struggling alone and get help when you need it the most.
Remembering that ttc is like preparing for a marathon, not a sprint! Understanding that this is not a quick process, will help you plan accordingly.
Stress has a massive impact on your body and its chemistry, this then creates a suboptimal environment for conception, and creating healthy eggs and sperm.
4th key is Life Style Factors
When we are talking about Lifestyle factors, we are essentially discussing things that you can change to create a healthier version of you and increase your chances of success. Sounds easy doesn’t it? Most people are not aware of some of the 21 things that we discuss in this section, simple changes can have a great impact on your health.
The obvious ones are drinking enough water 2-3 L per day, getting sufficient sleep and also eating a healthier diet, to name just a few. When was the last time you had a full blood test? This could indicate essential vitamin and mineral deficiencies, things that can be addressed with dietary changes and supplements.
BMI body mass index and exercise are another 2 common issues discussed, where changes can have a direct impact on your health and fertility, exercise especially is a great one for reducing tension and clearing your head.
5th key is Support
It is funny you know, when I talk with the clinics, they tell me that they have this part of the treatment covered, support that is! Yet when I speak with clients who have been to those very same clinics, they tell me a completely different story, this from clients who have attended counselling and psychology sessions.
The reality is when you are ttc, you will need more support than is currently on offer at the clinic sessions, which many clients do not attend anyway and this is vital to understand.
Friends will be paramount here, to listen, take you out when you need a change of scenery and hold space for you when you need to empty out those feelings.
Support groups are fantastic, there are people, going through the exact same thing and feeling just as you are, it is normal, expected and having your feelings validated, can be an extremely healing process. These groups can be a sanity saver for the overthinkers, both male and female.
If you do not have a coach, you might consider getting one for your treatment cycle. A Coach unlike the Counsellors or Psychologist is with you every day, not just for your allocated appointment time. Coaches will give you tools, strategies and hold you accountable, supporting you emotionally throughout your treatment as you make changes to benefit yourself and ultimately your closest relationships.
6th key – Clinic Choice
The location of your clinic is an important consideration, you will spend much time there, for consultations, blood tests and ultrasounds.
There are some clients who travel to see their chosen doctor or attend a particular clinic with donor gamete options or specific genetic testing options. Whenever you have more travel involved, you have to consider the extra costs and time involved, not for 1 cycle though, realistically if you budget for 3 cycles, then you are getting a more accurate outlook on future costs. Not every cycle will go to plan, not every cycle will result in a transfer and every time you have a procedure, you will be adding extra costs if you have to travel further. It makes sense to attend a doctor that you are comfortable with, and for this reason, many clients choose to have treatment further afield.
If you can choose a clinic closer to your work or home, this will create less stress and will make the multiple trips much easier to fit in with your work and family commitments.
When choosing your clinic, ask as many questions as possible about costs and payment options. I have a list of questions that you can download on my website that you can use as a guide.
Choosing a clinic with a full suite of services that you would like or may need in the future, such as AI Technology, Video monitoring of embryo development, genetic testing and donor gametes etc, may save you the trouble of changing clinics later.
One client recently was considering her fourth clinic, after having no success at the previous big 3 that she had attended. Sometimes, even with a great deal of planning and research, clients change clinics, to get a different doctor and different opinion, ultimately, you have to do what is right for you.
I speak to many clients about different clinics, costs and options in our calls, it is a very common theme after having your first couple of cycles without success.
7th key aspect – Time Commitment
The time involved in TTC is a lengthy one, for many it could be 6-12 months of visits with a few cycles and transfers. There is the preparation time of waiting to see a specialist doctor, nursing interview, clinic registration, counselling sessions, sometimes waiting for donor gametes or finding your own donors.
As many of your appointments will not happen before and after normal work hours, this is conversation worth having with your work place, so you don’t have to lie or take time off work constantly.
Many have concerns over talking about their fertility treatment with work colleagues. I would not suggest that you tell everyone, however discussing this with your management, or senior staff, will enable you more flexibility with attending appointments and ultimately less stress.
To use your potential pregnancy, as in your fertility treatment, to discriminate against you in any way, is actually against the law, under the Sexual Discrimination Act 1984. It is the fear of being treated differently or not being given promotions or opportunities, which is the prime reason that I am told, many withhold the information, or make up excuses.
The last thing I discuss relates to timing, when will you stop treatment? When is enough, enough? This is a very tough question, for many it will be the financial cost that prevents them from further treatment. For others it will be the huge emotional toll on them and their relationship. For others still, the loss, hope and then failed cycles, actually breaks down their relationship. Although this is a difficult conversation to have, I believe it is an important one to have before you commence treatment, so you are aware of each-others expectations and have guidelines in place. What other options for parenthood are you willing to accept?
Donor gametes – sperm and eggs, Donor embryos, Surrogacy, Fostering, Adoption
While these options may not suit everyone, being open to having the conversation will enable you to be honest about how you feel parenthood should look for you.
In summary the 7 keys to a successful cycle are –
If you would like to connect with me to talk about your fertility journey, you book your free introduction call through now using this link www.ivfcoachingclinic.as.me
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