Updated: Apr 5
I am feeling immensely proud of my community today.
There is no denying that this is a shit time. Being told you need to delay or worse still, cancel treatment when you've been working towards it for months and years is devastating and cruel, and you guys have every reason to be feeling shocked, upset, angry and disappointed.
But from what I am seeing, you are all handling it so well! Obviously there is anger, but there is also an amazing understanding that this is bigger than you, this is more than just your cycle or your treatment.... it's more than whether one doctor will treat you, or one clinic is doing the right thing. It's about our entire community and actually, our entire world.
It's about conserving our resources for what's coming, protecting our medical staff and the places where they work, saving equipment for use in Intensive care and High Dependency units, making space to turn day surgery spaces into spaces to care for the critically ill, giving time to retrain our healthcare workers so that we are ALL in the best place possible for what is to come.
Allowing our healthcare system to focus on saving lives.
I am part of an *industry that is often accused of making money from people's mis-fortune. Lining the pockets of doctors and shareholders at the expense of desperate people, desperate to create a family however they can... and I will hold my hand up, I'm often the one making and sharing those statements - there is A LOT of money in this 'industry', and there are a LOT of people who are in a position to make obscene amounts of money from your infertility. This 'Industry' is in the midst of a shake up of monumental proportions - just like so many others!... but there are still some people within this industry (myself included!) who are in it for the right reasons, who legitimately want to help people and invest the best of themselves in an effort to do that, and for those people I am immensely thankful.
*industry - I hate the use of this word in relation to fertility and I hate the BIG Business that fertility care has become.. but sadly it's a reality I am coming to accept
But for once, I'm feeling proud of these 'businesses' who are acknowledging the greater issue here - one of protecting the WHOLE community, protecting their doctors and nurses, their embryologists and staff, and of course, their patients. Doing exactly what I would expect from a healthCARE business - CARING (for more than just the bottom line)
It's just not safe to be out and about at the moment, it's not safe. This virus can't move. We move and it moves with us... so the less we move, the more difficult it is for this virus to move around and infect new people, and if the virus can't move around and infect new people, fewer people will get sick and fewer people will end up in ICU... and fewer people will die. I understand how prepared some of you are to begin a treatment cycle right now, and I understand how incredibly frustrating it is to have things taken out of your hands Yet Again! yet another delay that's out of your control.
There are some fertility specialists who are keen to continue treatment during this time. Others are being more cautious. This is for your safety, the safety of their teams - the nurses, counsellors and embryologists so imperative to your treatment, their staff and also the safety of those in the general public.
Please take the time to reflect on how continuing or starting treatment at this moment might have an impact on your own safety and those around you.
So what are the knock on effects for YOU of delaying treatment? let's break it down a bit:
Depending on the treatment you were planning / are having, these are the likely impacts:
Delayed initial appointment: Most fertility specialists are still conducting initial appointments via telehealth and you can get lots of information from this appointment that may actually help you conceive naturally - how awesome would that be!! If natural conception isn't possible for medical reasons, your clinic will be best placed to guide you.
Delayed starting a cycle (OI, IUI or IVF): you should still phone your clinic with your day 1. They can give you the best advice and counselling based on your own individual situation and will guide you as to what you should do next. It may be that you can't start this cycle, which will be disappointing, but that there are things you can do to make your delayed cycle more likely to be successful when it eventually CAN go ahead.
Delayed FET: This is actually the best one! Those embryos are SAFE. Their pregnancy potential is preserved. So now is a good time to make sure YOU are safe, so that when things get back to normal (even if that's a new normal), you're ready to take them on board.. with exactly the same chances of success as you would have if you had your transfer now (I have a 'preparing for an FET' PDF that may help you!)
Even if you are in your 40s, your fertility doesn't just suddenly 'turn off' at some pre-specified time.. there are those for whom waiting a month or two may spell the end of their journey, and don't get me wrong, that's devastating, but for most people, delaying by a few months will NOT have a major negative impact. In fact, depending what you do during that delay, it could actually have a POSITIVE impact!
Here are 4 things you could do during this time to make sure you're in the positive group!
1. Spend this time making a really considered decision about who is the BEST fertility specialist for YOU (not your neighbours best friends cousin, or that random person from the latest forum you read on facebook).
Even if you're already having treatment, now could be a good time to consider whether you actually do really truly love and trust your fertility specialist.
I believe that choosing a fertility specialist is the single MOST important choice you will make throughout your entire fertility journey. If you make this decision in a calm and considered way, then you can sit back and TRUST that everything they are doing is in YOUR best interests (not theirs!) and you can let them get on with doing what they are best at... and you can give up all your google searches and your anxiety and trust in them
2. Work on your health and lifestyle (and improve your egg and sperm health in the process!)
In the 90-120 days BEFORE conception, you can make a significant impact on the health of your eggs and sperm... and healthy eggs and healthy sperm make healthy embryos.. and healthy embryos make healthy babies.
Also, if you're not ovulating due to PCOS, a loss of just 5% of your body weight can be enough to tip you back into ovulation... this could be the perfect time to get that outcome you're after - without intervention!
There are lots of online exercise and yoga classes you can do and many nutritionists offering great (free) advice. If you want my guidance - jump into the TFL VIP group on facebook (free for April) where I will be live-streaming a different expert each week who can help you on this journey!
3. Review your previous cycles, look for patterns and information that could help you make decisions for future cycles. Taking a break and taking the time to review what you've already been through is the absolute BEST way to make plans for next steps. This forced break could be a great opportunity to do that. If you would like my help - jump onto Between Cycle Review and Support and we can do it together. You'll need your medical history from any previous cycles you've had. (we can do all of this via video chat, because #socialdistancing)
4. Learn what you can about your fertility. This might be a really good time to really understand how it's all SUPPOSED to work and where things might be going wrong. The whole point of fertility treatment is finding where the 'hurdle' is, and working out how to jump it. Is there a problem with ovulation? eggs? sperm? embryo growth? implantation? and, if you know where the problem is, what can you do about it? (check out my eLearning modules: Why aren't we Pregnant yet: 1. Understanding your Fertility and 2. Exploring your options. Use the code COVIDLearning to get 20%off
#socialdistancing doesn't have to mean the end... it just means you have a different opportunity.. one you may not have previously considered.. but one that could mean a whole new beginning
There is no denying that this is going to be a challenging time. Yet another delay on what may so far have felt like an un-ending journey. It's completely acceptable to be cycling through all of the stages of grief at the moment - anger, sadness, denial, bargaining and finally acceptance. You also need to recognise that this is not a linear progression... you could be feeling all of these at the same time, or one after the other in constant cycles, never sure what's coming next. Lean into the grief, allow yourself to feel all of those emotions, because this is a situation worth feeling emotional about and it's totally ok.. no, it's actually EXPECTED that you will feel all these things...
but with any luck, after a while (and that while will be different for everyone), you will reach a point where you realise that this is not the end of the road.. just (another) pothole in your road to success...
Lets chat soon