How to support someone going through IVF

Post in paid partnership with FertiAlly.com 

Our TTC (trying to conceive) and IVF journey was one of the hardest, emotional rollercoasters I’ve ever been on. There was so much to consider, so many momentous, life-changing decisions to be made, so many questions, so many sleepless nights, worries, anxieties and more, let alone all of the appointments and medication too! We had IVF back in 2016 and I’m so fortunate to say we have now been incredibly blessed with two little girls – Violet and Pearl, which have made all of those worries worth every moment, but I know for many people who are TTC or going through IVF it isn’t always good news.

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of several techniques available to help people with fertility problems (or in our case, an LGBTQ family) have a baby. During IVF, an egg is removed from the woman’s ovaries and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. The process can often involve large amounts of medication, which is usually in the form of injections.

I worked out during my IVF cycles I had between 200 injections, so it’s an INTENSE process, filled with emotions as well as medical side effects. It’s a daunting process and getting help with IVF questions and answers isn’t always easy.

I wanted to put together this post of support tips for IVF, whether it’s for yourself, your partner, a friend or family and no matter what the outcome to support those right in the thick of IVF treatment. It’s a difficult journey, but you will get through this. I hope these tips help!

Be there for them

The most important thing is to be available for them. They need to know they have your support, no matter what the outcome. Sometimes it isn’t about what you say, but just being there for them. Drop them a text to show you are thinking of them, pop round for a cup of tea or even go for a walk or do something to take their mind from the situation. Let them decide what they want to talk about – they might want to off-load about their IVF journey or FET (frozen embryo) transfer and get it off their chest, or they might find talking about something other than IVF a welcome break. Be guided by them, but always show up.

Be Mindful

Be mindful with what you say – especially around talking about pregnancy, new babies. I’m sure your friend/family member is happy for you, but it just isn’t the time or the place to talk about it. There are also a few ‘no-no’s’ when it comes to what to say to someone going through IVF, some of the really common ones are:

  • “I’m sure if you just relax it’ll happen”
  • “I have a friend who went through 3 rounds of IVF, but then they went on holiday it happened naturally for her anyway!”
  • “Why don’t you just adopt?”
  • “Why don’t you use your partners eggs!”
  • “You can just borrow my kids!”
  • “Enjoy the free time, when you have a baby you won’t be able to!”

Help them find the answers

IVF can be such a daunting process with lots of questions and worries. Your loved one might need extra support, especially if they are feeling out of their depth or unsure about what happens next. I remember the day my medication arrived I felt terrified, it all seemed so overwhelming. I needed support from my clinic to explain what everything was. It then helped me to break it down into daily ‘actions’ so I could see exactly what would happen on each day.

Sometimes it can be tricky to get hold of a Dr or nurse, especially during weekends and evenings so a great is a site called FertiAlly.com. They have just launched a groundbreaking initiative which provides patients with free access to short, snapshot videos led by experts who answer questions and concerns raised by IVF patients themselves. The videos can be watched at home and aim to answer and relieve worries, concerns and anxieties at any time of the day in a really easy to digest way. Although this wasn’t around when I had IVF treatment, I know that having support like FertiAlly.com would have been so reassuring.

Put together a self-care package for them

Sometimes actions can speak louder than words, so putting together a little care-package for them could be a lovely thing to do. Some ideas for the package could be a relaxing scented candle, chocolate, body lotion, an acupressure mat or even a ready-made food parcel, like some home-cooked dishes or meals from COOK to pop in the freezer would be brilliant too. It will take the stress out of cooking for them. The two-week wait can also feel so long, so anything to distract them is a brilliant idea, suggest an epic TV series that had you gripped, maybe buy them a page-turner book or some crafting materials to keep them busy and distracted.

Read up on the process

The IVF process is still relatively misunderstood and unknown to most people who haven’t been through it. If you want to support your loved one a great idea is to read up on what happens during IVF treatment so you have some knowledge on what they might be going through. There are loads of resources online, Youtube videos or you could ask your friend to tell you all about it if they feel comfortable doing so.

Don’t forget the partner

My last point is not to forget the partner. They may or may not medically be going through IVF, but emotionally they will be going through every step of the way. It can be really hard on the partner as they can often feel helpless and being a constant support can be exhausting too. Make sure they are included and given as much time and attention too, they will need you just as much!

 

I hope you’ve found this post helpful for supporting your loved ones through IVF. I’d love to know any suggestions you have too!

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