Assisted fertility treatment: Same stress, different families

Assisted fertility treatment: Same stress, different families

Posted on 12.2.15

There is sometimes a misguided assumption that assisted conception will be easier for some types of families than others. Sadly it's not the case - every family reacts differently. It would make the process of donor conception so much easier if there was one model to follow on how to deal with the stress.

For anyone trying to conceive with donor eggs, sperm or embryos within a heterosexual relationship, there might be a known cause of infertility causing stress. There may also be an acknowledged loss of fantasy around how they'd hoped to conceive.

The stress of fertility treatment for singles and same-sex couples

For single women or single men choosing to use donated sperm or donated eggs and surrogacy as a pathway to parenthood, we acknowledge that they have taken the decision to become a parent without settling for the wrong relationship. 

While, for our same sex couples, sometimes there can be an assumption they should cope better because they just need sperm, or eggs and a surrogate, and hey presto, it's family time.

There is usually a planning and acceptance process prior to embracing donor conception. Sometimes it's a sense of feeling unfulfilled and then something clicks, giving that extra capacity for nurturing that suggests you're ready to become a parent. 

How to deal with the effects of assisted fertility treatment

If you've had previous treatment or if you are planning a first cycle, it's often not until treatmemt starts that the enormity of the potential change in your life becomes a reality. 

And, as we know, each cycle brings its own unique stresses. Family is much safer as a fantasy, something that might happen in the future, a bit surreal and woolly. But when treatment starts, the reality hits. Success or failure will surely follow and that panic can feel overwhelming, more so to the people who have planned the most.

For anyone trying to support someone they love, care for and/or respect there can be a desire to get it right, to make sure they feel OK. Supporting a woman during fertility treatment can sometimes be impossible. 

Being reassured that everything will be fine causes frustration, as no one has a crystal ball. It doesn't matter if it's a friend, partner, spouse or lover - don't try too hard to support each other! Be available, offer hugs but don't be too hard on yourself or each other if things get difficult. 

Here at the London Women's Clinic we have many different support initiatives to help you before, during and following treatment. Speak to our Patient Co-ordinators to find out more about how we can help you with counselling and our support group

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