Taking time beforehand is something very personal and there is no right or wrong: it’s about following your own instincts and choosing what makes you feel better
We know that many people will have more than one cycle of fertility treatment before they get pregnant, but dealing with an unsuccessful outcome is never easy and it can take a while before you feel ready to come back to the clinic and start again.
Having a break
Some people opt to have a break in between cycles, and just allowing yourself a breathing space can be surprisingly helpful. The clinic will normally advise you to wait a while before starting treatment again anyway, but being ready physically is not always the same as being ready emotionally. It is entirely up to you if you choose to take some extra time, and your clinic will respect this choice. Of course, it is impossible to forget all about trying to conceive, but making some time and space for yourself and perhaps even getting away for a break if you are able to can be beneficial.
Not everyone wants to take a break between treatment. Some people are keen to get launched into another cycle as soon as they possibly can. This is a very personal thing and there are no rights and wrongs – it’s a matter of following your own instincts and doing what suits you.
The advantages of starting again
You may not relish the prospect of returning to the fertility clinic as you may fear that it will bring back memories of your last cycle. What can be helpful is to try to focus on the fact that this time you are familiar with what will be involved. Much of the anxiety about treatment is about not knowing what will happen next, but once you’ve been through it before you will know the clinic, you will know the way that treatment works, you are familiar with the drugs and how they are administered, you understand the different stages of treatment and so from that point of view, you start on the pathway at an advantage.
Another big advantage of coming back to the clinic for another cycle is that you know the staff and they know you. They understand how your body responded to the first cycle of treatment and will be able to adjust things accordingly, which can often help to make it run more smoothly.
If you have opted to go to a different clinic, perhaps because they offer a treatment that wasn’t available at the previous location, you may not be as familiar with the building and the staff, but you will still have an understanding of what is involved which you didn’t when you started out for the first time – and this can be a benefit.
Feeling positive about starting again
Once you’ve been to the clinic for your initial visit and discussed the plan for your next cycle, there is room to feel more positive again. It’s often the periods of time when you feel out of control of what is happening, when you are waiting and unable to do anything, that are most difficult. Now, back at the clinic again, you are no longer in that fallow waiting time between treatments; instead you are actively doing something again and moving closer to your goal.
Cumulative success rates show that most people who have a child after fertility treatment will have been through unsuccessful treatment before they have a positive result – so it is always worth remembering that having gone through a treatment cycle that hasn’t worked in the past certainly doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to work for you in the future.
Writer and journalist
Kate Brian is a journalist, writer and author of four books on motherhood and fertility, including The Complete Guide to IVF. Kate started writing about the patient perspective on infertility after having IVF herself.
Currently, she contributes to various types of media as an expert on fertility and writes her own blog, where she gives all the latest news and views on fertility issues, as well as useful advice and links for anyone trying to have a baby.
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