Participation in a program using assisted reproductive technologies such as In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment can raise complex questions for some patients and the work of treatment itself can be an added source of stress. For example, in making decisions about treatment, some patients face difficult choices or challenges to their personal or ethical beliefs. Treatment participation can be demanding in terms of time commitment and disruptive to personal, family and work life. Certain procedures such as self injection of medications or the egg retrieval understandably can provoke anxiety for some women.
All participants in IVF treatment are offered a separate and private counselling appointment on the day of their medical orientation to the program. The goal of this session is to identify and explore any concerns that patients might be having, either in managing the fertility problem, or concerns about managing the medical procedures. A variety of different coping strategies might be discussed to help patients manage the stress of treatment. For example, women who are anxious about the potential discomfort of egg retrieval might be offered the option of a follow up appointment where relaxation techniques or mental calming strategies could be reviewed and practiced in preparation use during the egg retrieval.
Sometimes the stress of the fertility problem and treatment participation can trigger a variety of intense feelings, or create strains with friends or family. Sometimes the fact that men and women cope quite differently with a fertility problem can lead to frustration and relationship friction. If concerns are identified, a follow up appointment might be offered, either individually, to explore the possibilities of new and different coping strategies, or for both partners, to enhance their coping as a couple.