Self-Care & Managing Your Relationship During IVF

Eloise Edington  |   8 Jun 2021

Big holidays and events like Father’s Day are overwhelming and full of heartache and longing when you’re going through the IVF process. Tracking IVF injections, your IVF calendar and medications can take a toll on your relationship with your partner. Here at Fertility Help Hub, we have teamed up with Harley Street Fertility Clinic, to provide you with the best self-care tips for father’s-to-be, as well as ideas for how to maintain a healthy relationship with your partner. Read on for super, supportive advice from some HSFC patients, to guide you when approaching and going through IVF or infertility treatments.

Words by Harley Street Fertility Clinic

www.hsfc.org.uk | @hsfc_uk

Self Care

Father’s Day is a time to celebrate all types of fatherhood, whether that’s fathers in waiting or fathers who have children in their hearts. We know first-hand how painful this day can be and that’s why, together with HSFC fertility clinic, FFH have listed some self-care tips for dads going through the IVF process.

Separating yourself from the IVF process seems impossible when you constantly have to keep an eye on your IVF calendar, but it’s important to still feel like you. Try to set aside a portion of each day to do something you love to do, like painting, hiking or learning a new skill. This can help to release serotonin and to ground you.

We all know it can be a highly anxious, exciting and uncertain time. Relaxing with some calming techniques could be just the break you need on Father’s Day. Others who have gone through the IVF process have said that small things can be calming, such as reading a book, having a candle-lit bath or taking the dog for a walk (if you have one). If you don’t have a dog, this can be a walk with a loved-one or friends.

Take care of your physical wellbeing, without the pressure of IVF. As we all know, it takes two to tango and couples are advised to maintain a healthy lifestyle when trying to conceive (TTC). But sometimes, the motivation for exercise can have an effect on your enjoyment of life and sex. If the motive is important or urgent, then your exercise routine and mood will reflect this, and it can be mentally and physically defeating. But, exercising simply because you want to, or just for fun, can improve your mood and desire to exercise.

Certain exercises such as (fertility) yoga can have a calming effect on your mind and body.

Fatherhood – it’s in the love, not the blood.

Support and Tips

There are different avenues of support you can look to when going through IVF. Your partner can be your rock during this time as you both understand what the other is going through. However, if you don’t have a partner, your family, friends, fertility specialist and even infertility communities can be a great support for you.

There are fertility specialists at the Harley Street Fertility Clinic who can help to guide you through the process. They talk you through step by step in the consultation and the scans. This can also be helpful during lockdown as they stay in touch by any means possible such as email, newsletter or phone. It can be a helpful reminder to keep track of your IVF calendar, including medications and appointments.

Your partner is arguably your strongest crutch as you both are going through the IVF process together. Talking about your feelings and communicating in a healthy way can sometimes be the best kind of support.

It is difficult to go through an IVF journey while in the midst of a pandemic. Sometimes, as a father, being a part of the whole process is not always an option for you. You can’t always be in the room with your partner and you can’t take the injections for her, but you can still be there for her, checking if she is ok and administering the injections. (See below: managing your relationship).

Friends and family can be great supporters if you don’t have a partner when on your IVF journey. Don’t be afraid to reach out to them for advice or just for someone to talk to.

Infertility Support Group offer a wide range of communal support online through podcasts, interviews, Instagram, Youtube and other platforms. The HSFC has an infertility support group through podcasts, where there are various topics and guests including parents who have shared their stories of IVF. 

Managing your Relationship

As a dad, the IVF process can often feel like an exclusive experience, especially with rules during the pandemic not allowing partners to attend all fertility specialist appointments. It is important that you feel like a couple during this process. Here are some tips to try to feel more included during the IVF process:

  • Try to attend as many fertility clinic appointments with your partner as you are permitted. It can be very comforting for both you and your partner to have support from each other and hear news and updates together.
  • Administer IVF injections — The burden of medications and IVF shots is largely placed on the woman, so a good way to feel included and helpful during this time is to help administer the IVF injections. Fertility specialists can demonstrate how to do shots for IVF, so that you can both be a part of this process. Being present at the same time every day for injections and supporting each other can strengthen your relationship, other couples have recounted. Some words of encouragement to each other can go a long way too. 
  • Communication — Communication is so important when maintaining your relationship throughout the IVF process. Others who have gone through their own IVF journey have said that talking about IVF can be a relief, but talking to your partner can be even more comforting, because they are experiencing the journey with you. Check in and talk about how you feel, and be receptive of their feelings too. Some previous intended parents (IP’s) who underwent IVF at Harley Street Fertility Clinic have acknowledged that talking about and planning for their future child has brought them closer together as a couple and helped with maintaining a connection and intimacy. There are multiple infertility support groups online if you are looking for a community and support on a wider scale.
  • Go on holiday – IVF can gradually become the focus of your whole day, due to strict times, schedules and an array of fertility specialist appointments. When opportunity strikes and we can travel freely, it would be worthwhile to go on a quick holiday or mini-break, even if that is just a weekend trip to your local beach! Have some time for you. IVF is arguably one of the biggest events in your life and it’s hard to distract yourself from that, so a holiday can help you take your mind off the stresses and tough emotions that come with trying to conceive (TTC) or going through the two-week-wait (2WW).

Related Article – Our Family: Charlotte – Part 2.

Something to remember for Father’s Day, is that you are an integral part of the IVF process and your future child’s life. If you take away one thing from your journey, it should be that fatherhood is in the love not in the blood. Father’s Day celebrates all intended fathers (and all processes that it took to get there) – so don’t be afraid to celebrate it and to be celebrated.

Speak to Harley Street Fertility Clinic for personalised advice, support and options from fertility specialists. For more content like this, subscribe to Fertility Help Hub.

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