If you or someone you know is facing struggles with infertility or fertility treatments, it's important to know you're not alone. Millions of women have sought medical treatment along their journeys to start or expand their family—myself included. The road is not always easy and often it can feel isolating, overwhelming, and downright difficult. Having the support and solid advice from other women who have been there, done that can make all the difference.
Brides spoke with real women who have been through in vitro fertilization (IVF), intrauterine insemination (IUI), invasive testing, procedures, and beyond to get their best advice and words of encouragement for those considering or now going through fertility treatments.
Here's what they had to say:
"Don’t put things on hold in the hopes that you will be busy with a pregnancy or baby. Book the vacation, take the job, etc. There is still time to shift plans if you get [pregnant]. But you still need to find joy in other areas of your life, even if you are struggling in this one." —Laura
"My advice to people going through IVF is to lower your standards, or you will be stressed and disappointed a lot. It is not an exact science. Also, when you actually have a baby, everything you’ve gone through will be so, so worth it and will seem like a distant memory." —Adriana
"Be gentle with yourself. Give yourself a break (or two!). This stuff is hard. If you feel like treating yourself to a cookie, enjoy. If that fancy spa pedicure at the nail salon is calling your name, go for it. If you don't feel like dinner with the in-laws, don't. Make yourself and your body a priority. And I truly found that exercising (when allowed, depending on what cycle you are undergoing and under the permission of your doctor) helped manage my stress. Of course, at times, it's hard to get yourself to go.
But signing up for a class in advance and going will never make you feel worse than when you walked in. It's a good way to re-center and spend 45 minutes thinking of something that isn't about getting pregnant." —Jessie
"For those starting infertility treatments, it’s critical to diagnose all the other possible health issues that could be affecting your fertility (e.g. endometriosis, autoimmune disorders). You could blow a ton of money on IVF and it still might not work if you have other untreated issues." —Cynthia
"It's very important to get diagnosed with why you’re not getting pregnant. It took three cycles for me to jump ship and see an immunologist to find out there were so many underlying issues that were preventing me from conceiving." —Amy
"Be wary of supplements or diets that are not doctor recommended. If you can increase the likelihood of getting pregnant through these methods, the doctors would be recommending them." —Kim
"Find a doctor/practice who explains things as many times and in as many ways as you need. And don’t underestimate the value of developing a rapport with everyone in the office!" — Christine
"If you’re not comfortable with your doctor or practice, you have every right to try and find a new one that’s a better fit. You need to trust your doctor and the process. Not trusting or being comfortable with your practice will add additional stress that you don’t need. Also, find something you can do to relieve stress, anger, and frustration. Acupuncture was extremely relaxing and some doctors believe it is helpful." —Allie
"Trust in the process, trust in your doctors, stay positive, and don’t listen to anybody tell you how 'awful' it will be. You are stronger than you think. You can do it!" —Nicole
To learn more about infertility, you can read more about the common causes and treatments here or head to InfertilityAwareness.com