One of the aspects of infertility treatments and embryo donation and adoption that may make even the most resolute of couples squirm is the shots. If you’re like Jimmy and Christine Moore, injecting yourself or your partner with infertility drugs may feel nerve-wracking. Chances are, though, each of you will likely find it stressful for different reasons, according to The Center for Reproductive Psychology.
For women, the injected treatments hurt and the resulting change in hormones can cause mood swings, bloating and discomfort. The treatments also serve as a reminder of further upcoming fertility treatments, stirring desires for success and dread of failure to rise. Men may experience a whole different spectrum of emotions –ranging from feelings of hope about being an active participant in the child creating process, to feelings of anxiety. With so much on the line, it’s natural to have such inundating emotions (CRP).
Since the burden of invasive and sometimes painful medical procedures surrounding fertility treatments falls primarily on the woman, the man can feel powerless, passive and even sidelined in his own family building journey. Letting him be the one to administer the shots may help him feel included, an active participant and in a more equal partnership towards your end goals of achieving a pregnancy and building a family. Some men, however, may be afraid of causing pain, or making a mistake. They may choose to not administer the shots. Even if the husband isn’t administering the injections, he can still offer support by preparing the treatment and providing comfort after. Other times, schedule conflicts may prevent him from being of assistance, which may add aggravation for both of you (CRP).
Women also vary in their druthers. Some women prefer their husbands assist with the shots. Other women feel overwhelmed by the tension of the situation and opt to maintain control of the shots in an effort to keep tempers from flaring (CRP).
However couples decide to handle this aspect of treatments, there is no right or wrong. Do whatever makes you the most comfortable. If arguments do arise, know it’s likely not just the shots causing strain, but the months of treatments and disappointments you’ve encountered on your fertility journey. You both have subconscious and conscious feelings about your fertility struggles and treatments. You might not always feel the same. Giving each other permission to feel what is needed without judgments, or taking it personally can alleviate the tension (CRP).
The Center for Reproductive Psychology has a few suggestions for taking the edge off:
• Draw a target on your skin to give you or your partner the exact place to aim. This can lower anxiety about hitting a nerve or otherwise making an error.
• Practice injecting a piece of fruit, like an orange to give you the sensation of the correct angle and pressure.
• Do a practice shot in your doctor’s office (without medicine) under the watchful eye of a professional. That way, if you have any questions you can get them answered right then, as well as receive tips. Sometimes, couples will go to their doctor’s office and administer the first real shot there, just for the reassurance of the supervision.
Finally, The Center for Reproductive Psychology suggests, “Try not to judge your partner for how you each cope with this unnatural and unromantic method of making a baby. If you can step back and laugh at the absurdity of the situation, it is easier to stay connected during this most difficult part of the reproductive experience.”
Another option couples pursuing embryo donation and adoption can explore is a natural cycle. If a woman has regular menstrual cycles, a frozen embryo transfer can at times be performed without the use of hormone treatments. These cycles are much more difficult practically to manage. During a natural cycle, the day of ovulation is not as controlled (IVF1). Embryo adoptive couples have successfully given birth to children who were transferred as embryos during a natural cycle.
To read more about managing your fertility shots, visit The Center for Reproductive Psychology. For more information about natural cycles, visit IVF1. To discover more about about Embryo Adoption, visit the Embryo Adoption Awareness Center.
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