When it comes to growing our families, we all believe that we have what it takes to “go the distance” and never stop until we’ve achieved the dream of growing our families.
Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. All too often patients “drop-out” of fertility treatments before they have explored all their options or even before they have started treatment.
What is truly unfortunate is that in many cases, the reasons that they choose to drop-out are not insurmountable. With the right kind of support, education and and assistance, they may be able to make their dreams of growing their family a reality.
Here are four of the biggest reasons that patients drop out of fertility treatments, and why they shouldn’t.
The cost of IVF is not insignificant. Couples can spend tens of thousands of dollars on IVF and other treatments with no guarantee of results.
Many couples suffer “sticker shock” when they learn the cost of some treatments. However, there are options available that can help couples to mitigate these costs. It may require a little extra effort up front, but when a couple can hold their child in their arms, their concerns tend to fall away.
It’s also important that patients consider the potential value (cost effectiveness) for each treatment and their family size goals when deciding which path to take.
While couples may balk at the initial cost of embryo banking, sometimes it makes sense to invest more up front to have the opportunity to achieve the family size they desire.
2. Unrealistic Time Frames
In our culture patience isn’t always seen as a virtue, but it should be.
For couples considering IVF, the desire to start a family quickly often conflicts with the realities of fertility treatment. Ideally, couples should set a time frame of six to nine months as time to conceive, before giving up on treatment.
This time frame allows them to prepare themselves and build the support network that they need. It also allows them to realistically exhaust more than one round of treatment before they give up.
3. Unwilling to Consider Alternate Options
For many couples, the next treatment option may simple be a bridge too far.
For example, if a couple has been unsuccessful with IUI, they may be worried about the costs of IVF. If IVF has proven unsuccessful, they may balk at the costs involved with donor eggs, donor sperm or gestational carriers.
While there is a natural fear of “throwing good money after bad” it’s important for patients to remember that successive treatments can actually improve the chances of a successful pregnancy.
For a woman over 35, the cost of a donor egg may seem high, but given the higher rates of success that come with the use of a donor egg, it may be the best option, and more affordable than continuing to try to get pregnant using one’s own eggs.
Simply put, growing a family through reproductive medicine is stressful. Even when everything goes according to plan, the process requires a significant commitment of both time and emotional energy to reach a successful conclusion.
That’s why stress management and emotional support should be part of any plan to grow your family.
As a fertility specialist, I often recommend that my patients seek out individual and/or couples counseling to help them manage the highs and lows of growing their families.
Staying the Course
While the final decision about whether to continue fertility treatments should always rest with the patient, I always hope that patients are able to see things through to the end.
That’s because, while fertility treatments can be challenging, there is no reward like holding your child in your arms for the first time.
If you have questions, or if you’d like to learn more about me or my practice, OC Fertility, please reach out to us to schedule your new patient consultation today or call us at (949) 706-2229.