Getting Ready for Action

Knowing that you need some type of infertility treatment doesn't necessarily mean that you're ready for it. You may need some time to get over the shock of the diagnosis and gather some well-needed energy to embark on treatment. On the other hand, you may be eager to get going with treatment and feel better knowing that you're actively doing something to have the baby you long for.

Here are some things you need to do before undergoing treatment, whether you decide to wait or start straight away:

i Confirm that you're both ready for infertility treatment: Infertility treatment is tough on you, so you and you partner must both be ready to take it on. One partner dragging the other to the clinic doesn't work and often ends in tears. If you disagree about when to start treatment, try working out a compromise because you'll need each other's support when you're in the throes of treatment. In Chapter 2 I talk about the importance of the two of you working together like a well-oiled team on this.

i Consider how much time and money you'll need: If you need IVF treatment, this will consume a lot of time, physical and emotional energy, and money. The physical and emotional energy drain is difficult to prepare for — you just have to be ready for it and deal with it when it happens. But knowing that you need to attend the clinic several times during each treatment cycle can help you plan ahead to reduce the risk of work/treatment clashes (and the stress that this causes). I talk more about juggling your job and treatment in Chapter 3. And even though Australians are very fortunate compared to many others in terms of how IVF is funded by Medicare and private health insurance, you'll still have considerable out-of-pocket expenses when you undergo treatment. If you have plenty of money that may not be a problem, but if not you'll have to budget for treatment. I talk about the financial aspects of IVF treatment in Chapter 3.

1 Look after your health: Research shows very convincingly that certain lifestyle factors influence the chances of infertility treatment working. All the usual stuff about following a healthy diet, not smoking and not drinking too much alcohol applies, but you can do other things to improve your odds too, such as losing weight if you need to and exercising regularly. You find more information about how to optimise your chances of having a baby (and improving your general health) in Chapter 3.

Possible Low-tech Alternatives

For some types of infertility problems — for example, if your fallopian tubes are totally blocked or you have a severe male factor problem — the only way you can conceive is through IVF. However, some causes of infertility can potentially be fixed with less invasive and less costly types of treatment. You don't need a shotgun to kill a fly, so as a general rule you start with the simpler forms of treatment, if they're an option considering the cause of your infertility, before moving onto IVF if you don't get pregnant.

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