Dallas IVF providers share their personal experiences
There’s no better way for a doctor to understand what a patient is going through than to have gone through it as well. Many of the providers at Dallas IVF have special insight into infertility treatments like IVF (in vitro fertilization) as they or their partner have faced them head-on. This allows our team to better appreciate and understand on a personal level the physical and emotional struggles their patients may be experiencing during infertility treatment – and to better care for each individual.
Some of our physicians have gathered here to share their experience and offer tips and tricks for easing some of the tougher aspects of infertility treatment. Their answers reflect the different ways individuals deal with infertility treatments.
How did you make the fertility drug injections more bearable?
I am a big fan of numbing the area with an ice pack prior to giving the injection
. I learned this accidentally when giving myself a shot in the limited space of an airplane bathroom.
Numbing the injection site with ice helps.
My wife was such a trooper throughout the entire IVF process. She was a champ with the shots as she gave herself the subcutaneous injections. However, I was enlisted to give her the progesterone shots in her bottom. One thing that we did was ice the injection site down prior to the injection so that the skin was a little “numb.” After the injection, my wife massaged the injection site with a warm towel. That was our routine every night!
Did you find alternative exercise routines during infertility treatment?
As an avid workout enthusiast, it was really hard to give up my regular activities like CrossFit and skating. I walked – A LOT. I walked every day for several miles. It was great to be able to stay active and explore my neighborhood.
Yoga and walks were wonderful. They promoted a sense of well-being.
Walking outside helped to bring perspective and much needed exercise.
During our IVF, we went for walks around the neighborhood. We dreamed of walking around our neighborhood and pushing a stroller with our little one in it one day. We avoided going to the mall. Every time we walked around in the mall, we saw only pregnant women and strollers with cute babies in them. This added stress
to our lives. So, we just walked around our neighborhood instead.
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Did you seek any holistic medicine care during IVF?
I did not. I think for me, my daily walks were my stress relief.
I utilized acupuncture
. This may not be a treatment for all patients, but for me it helped alleviate the anxiety I felt around my IVF cycle.
After our first two IVF cycles did not work, we started to turn to Eastern medicine options. We tried acupuncture for our third IVF. After each session with the acupuncturist, I asked my wife if she felt more fertile. She said that she felt more relaxed. Unfortunately, our third IVF also did not work.
Did you alter your schedule to allow for more self-care time during infertility treatment?
Aside from shifting time from skating and the gym to walking, I don’t think I really changed much. I didn’t view the process as something that I wanted to completely upend my life, but something that was just a temporary change.
I made sure to take at least one hour each day for myself.
During our IVF cycles, my wife and I spent many evenings together. We felt stronger together as a team. We knew that we supported each other through thick and thin. We felt that if we could make it through the journey to parenthood together, we could conquer anything.
How did you plan ahead to stay organized to help fight stress during infertility treatment?
My biggest helper was setting an alarm on my phone to remind me of shot times/doses. I also kept the provided calendars on the fridge where I could easily reference them.
My weekly menu is always planned. I kept appointments and important events on my Google calendar so as not to forget anything of importance during my infertility treatment.
How did you lean on your personal support group to alleviate stress?
I used my walk time to connect with my family and partner, either on the phone or having someone join me.
I just relied on my husband.
Did you seek any help through outside infertility support groups or therapy?
No, but I did have my physician partners
to lean on and was always asked how I was feeling.
Did you proactively prepare for stressors with your partner during infertility treatment?
My partner was always involved in the decision-making process moving into starting treatment and we went through the consent forms together.
We were in it together and prepared to handle good or bad together.
Communication with each other was the best way that we could manage our stress during our journey. We knew that if we could tell each other our concerns, we wouldn’t be bottling up the worries inside ourselves. By talking about our frustrations and dreams, we were able to travel on our journey with less stress through a stronger bond with our spouse.
Did you limit the people you told about the infertility treatments to avoid stressors?
Not really. I was very open about my journey, so my partner, friends and family were aware. As a fertility physician and advocate for women’s health and reproductive choices, I had no issues discussing my decision and the egg freezing process – I even filmed it to share online to help others understand the process!
Yes. We kept it private, just between my husband and myself. I did not want to solicit advice that may not help and did not want to cause anxiety in the family.
For me, I told my family and close friends to help carry the stress and burden of treatment.
We are very private people. We didn’t tell anyone about our infertility treatments to get pregnant. We didn’t even tell our own parents. We just didn’t want our family to worry and we didn’t need the added stress of our family asking us about our treatments or wondering about our journey. We felt lonely and isolated because of our desire for privacy. I recommend that patients seek a support system that they feel is best for them.
Did you make sure to get enough rest? If so, how?
Not waking up crazy early to go to the ice rink gave me at least 1-2 extra hours of sleep in the mornings.
I made sure to get at least eight hours of sleep nightly.
Did you cut back on commitments and social gatherings during infertility treatment?
No, but in retrospect I probably should have. I had family visit immediately after – I had my retrieval right before Thanksgiving – but I still felt full and bloated. As a result, I wasn’t fully able to enjoy all the foods or football games, but it was nice to have the company and support.
I kept up with a normal social schedule. It was a great distraction.
Baby showers were difficult celebrations to attend for us. We would send a baby gift, but sometimes we politely made up an excuse not to attend.