As a fertility counselor, I often meet with couples in preparation for their in vitro fertilization treatment (IVF). In the counselling session, we review what the IVF process entails and the associated implications. We walk through what a hypothetical IVF treatment cycle looks like, feels like, and costs. I highlight the fact that there are no guarantees in the treatment and I often suggest that it may be helpful to view the IVF treatment as a diagnostic tool. For example, through the process, the doctor will be able to uncover more information about the fertility health of the woman. What do the eggs look like? What kind of embryos are being made?
I often integrate a mind-body perspective that uses visualization and analogous language to help clients understand treatment from a different perspective.
When you pursue an IVF treatment, your doctor will provide you with a specific protocol that involves what medications you will be taking. Sometimes, the birth control pill is prescribed at the beginning stage, to down regulate your system.
Planting the garden:
As a gardener, you are planting seeds below the earth. You gently place the seeds below the soil and pat it down. Your goal is to have all the beautiful flowers grow at the same rate. Just like the seeds below the earth, your ovaries are ensuring that all of the follicles are as small as they can be, so they can grow together. Each day that you administer the birth control pill, your seeds are preparing to begin a journey.
Injections, water those flowers:
The golden serum that you inject into your lower abdomen flesh is the very energy that is needed for the seeds to grow. Each day, as you feed them their golden energy, they increase in size and stature. You will be closely followed at this time. The fertility clinic will monitor the size of each follicle until they are mature and ready to be retrieved.
This is an exciting time because all those beautiful flowers are ready to be plucked. As the flowers are retrieved and the embryos are created, self-care and recuperation is helpful to get you ready for the transfer.
The transfer is probably the most exciting time of the whole IVF treatment. If you make it to the transfer, that is fantastic. Some people don’t actually make it to this point.
As you wait until the beautiful embryo is transferred back into its home, you can and should feel rest assured that you have done all you can.
Integrating mind-body in this phase of treatment has been shown to improve pregnancy success. This can be done through hypnosis, at the time of the embryo transfer, or visualizations. Other holistic treatments such as acupuncture can also play a role in pregnancy success.
Amira Posner is a fertility counsellor in Toronto, Ontario. She works with individuals and couples who are struggling with infertility. Amira facilitates the Mind-Body Fertility Group at Mt.Sinai Hospital. She is also the mother to three little miracles.