During these unprecedented times, several patients are postponing treatment or being told that they need to delay fertility treatment for an unknown length of time.
The fertility journey that several people must face is already challenging, and the process can often be overwhelming.
A lot of times, the process almost feels like a game of “Hurry Up and Wait”.
Wait until Cycle Day 1. Oh, and now that you waited for Cycle Day 1, you can hurry up and start birth control pills then wait another month. Take your medicine morning and evening – hurry up! It must be precisely at the right time. Ok, now wait three more days to see your response to the meds. Have your egg retrieval and then wait for embryo development for another 5 days. We have the embryos now! Wait again for your PGT-A results to see if they’re normal. You get the idea….
Now, we are presented with a new challenge that none of us could have predicted or planned for: COVID-19. There is so much uncertainty surrounding this new virus, and what direction we, as physicians, should proceed with fertility treatment. Should we continue with treatment? What is a safe course to bring patients into the office? What if someone brings COVID-19 into the office? Will we have to stop treatment if someone gets infected?
Most of you are probably feeling “stuck” and extremely frustrated in this waiting game while we are trying to help you navigate these uncharted waters.
So, how can you maintain your sanity throughout all of this?
We try to emphasize daily to patients that their mental health is as important as their physical health. You might even look at this as an unforeseen gift or opportunity during a crisis to focus more on yourself than ever before.
Reach out and cultivate your existing relationships. Make sure you have at least one person who you can talk to and ask them to ‘just listen’. No advice is really needed – just active listening can provide great relief.
Find a way to exercise several days a week, outside whenever possible. Go for a walk. Set up a yoga mat outside and try a new online class. Always wanted to try Zumba? Do it now, in the privacy of your home or backyard. Movement is not only a great form of stress release but has many metabolic effects that can benefit you when attempting pregnancy.
Embrace your partner. Now that our options for large group interaction are limited, revisit why you guys started this journey. Have deep conversations. Go through old pictures. Play a board game. Put a puzzle together. Do something fun and light-hearted. Humor can really help when everything feels so serious.
Create a list of inexpensive (or free) self-care techniques. Take a bath. Write in a journal. Organize your closet. Listen to music or a podcast. If you like to read, consider starting a virtual book club, which has the added benefit of keeping up with your friends and family too!
Eat Healthier and Think Healthier. Your nutrition during these difficult times can be challenging. Continue to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. Limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption. Continue your vitamin supplementation. It will all pay off in the end!
Join an Online Support Group or Seek Counseling. If times are harder than normal, talking with a therapist or counselor can really help to alleviate any extra tension or anxiety you are experiencing.
I want to end by emphasizing that we, at Denver Fertility, are committed to helping you during this journey no matter how long it takes or how complicated it might feel. I hope that this information is helpful. Sometimes, it’s hard to find the silver lining amid chaos. Hang in there! This Too Will Pass.