DON’T ignore the tick, don’t ignore the tock, don’t ignore the reality of a biological clock. Get the facts and plan ahead. According to ivf.com: “As a woman’s age increases, her ability to become pregnant and carry a pregnancy to term decreases due to the many biological changes taking place in her body. From age 30 to 35, the chances of becoming pregnant gradually decline and after age 40 there is a sharp decline.”
DO ignore the Starz magazine that reports Mrs. Hollywood had twins at 48. What they might not tell you is that she used donor eggs too.
DON’T ignore the signs that you may have a problem getting pregnant or staying pregnant:
I have painful periods.
I have irregular periods.
I cannot pinpoint when I ovulate.
My partner/I have a history of STDs.
I have an unhealthy Body Mass Index (BMI). (underweight or overweight)
I have had more than one miscarriage. (“Do you Need to See a Specialist?” www.resolve.org)
DO ignore Aunt Betty with 7 kids who says, “Us Wilson’s have always been a fertile bunch. You won’t have any trouble getting pregnant dear!”
DON’T ignore month 10, month 11, month 12 without getting pregnant. A dozen donuts are great but a dozen months of not being able to conceive is the definition of infertility (half-dozen if you’re over 35). It is time to get help.
DO ignore advice from others that don’t have the facts. “If you use fertility meds you will have quadruplets and end up on one of those reality shows!”
Don’t ignore your fears of getting help. Making that first call can be a difficult thing. Write out what your fears are. Be honest with yourself. Then make that call. Set up an appointment with your OB or a reproductive endocrinologist.
DO ignore conversations with your self that try to talk you out of seeking help.
DON’T ignore your spouse. DON’T point fingers. It might be your wife’s fault you’re missing the game to pick out paint for the den and it might be your husband’s fault the den still isn’t painted but it is no one’s “fault” in infertility. Infertility is a couples’ issue regardless of who is displaying the medical need. “Approximately one-third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one-third attributed to the male partner and one-third is caused by a combination of problems in both partners or, is unexplained.” (www.arsm.org.)
DO ignore your wife’s ornery disposition if she ever has to take fertility medications!
DON’T ignore your girlfriend after she’s had a miscarriage or your cousin after she shares they’ve been trying for three years. If you don’t know what to say simply let them know. “This must be a hard time for you. I don’t know what it must be like but if there’s anything I can do let me know.”
DO ignore comments from others that, although they may be trying to help, are insensitive or ignorant. Ignore any comment that begins with the word, “Just”:
“Just be patient, I’m sure it will happen for you soon!”
“Just do IVF, it worked for my co-worker!”
(Do not reply with, “Just put a cork in it!” well, maybe it depends who says it.)
DON’T ignore the pain involved in infertility. Not only does it involve major medical issues it is the loss of a life dream. Even if you eventually conceive and deliver a baby or adopt a child, the struggles you went through to have your child will shape who you are. Infertility puts an enormous stress on marriages, relationships and you. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. Join a support group or talk to a counselor that specializes in infertility. It will help.
DO ignore the self-doubt, the blame, the helplessness. You are stronger than you think. There is hope!
DON”T ignore other options for building your family. Even if you are still trying to get pregnant begin looking into other options. Don’t wait until you’ve done 3 months of Clomid, 6 IUI’s and 3 rounds of IVF to look at other family building options. The more time you have to process these options the better equipped you will be to go down another road if you decide that is the next step. The facts are: “Approximately 85-90% of infertility cases are treated with drug therapy or surgical procedures. Fewer than 3% need advanced reproductive therapies like in vitro fertilization (IVF).” (www.asrm.org). If you decide not to seek more aggressive treatments or find out there is nothing else the medical world can do, you need to know there are other wonderful ways to build a family. One counselor explained it simply that biologically it takes three things to have a baby: egg, sperm and womb. Start to consider all the donor/surrogate options that are available. With adoption there is domestic adoption, international adoption, foster-adoption and waiting children adoption. There is also a choice to live child-free.
DO ignore stories you hear in the media that present the negative donor egg stories or adoption stories. If you think about it stories like, “Couple from Minnesota Adopt Little Girl from Korea and Live Happily Ever After” are not going to sell a lot of newspapers, so you don’t see them as much. They are looking for the stories that are usually the exception.
DON”T ignore why you are doing all this. You want a child to love.
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