The decision to have a baby is one that is met with a matched amount of excitement and anxiousness. Not only are you super excited about the possibility of having baby of your own; but also you are also acutely aware that getting pregnant may not be as easy as you hoped for. As the months pass, without a positive pregnancy test, tensions and emotions jump on a roller coaster that feels like it has no end. For around 67% of couples, getting pregnant and having the baby is a joyous and celebratory notion from the beginning. Yet for the other 33%, it isn’t.
Statistics indicate that around 1/3 of all couples has extremely debilitating fertility problems. This doesn’t mean that the reasons conception is difficult cannot be overcome, bur rather that they will likely not be overcome until medical intervention is imminent. For the 2/3rds that can get pregnant, it takes half of these couples, around two years to do so. With something that is supposed to be natural, and easy what is a couple to do when getting pregnant becomes hard?
Generally speaking, in a couple that has no medical history that would typically lean toward fertility problems, doctors will not consider any fertility options until the couple has been actively trying for around 12 months or more. During these twelve months, couples will have tried everything. They will know more about the female menstrual cycle than they ever believed necessary, will have had hundreds of routine baby making sessions that feel robotic, and will likely be open to such holistic solutions as tying garlic over the bed – to repositioning bedroom furniture so it conforms to the laws of Feng Shui.
Somewhere along the way however, the excitement over having a baby turns into stress over having a baby. And often, psychologists surmise that the lack of a confirmed pregnancy becomes the primary focus in both the relationship and the couple’s life. It doesn’t take an expert to realize that focusing on the lack of a baby, and the problems at hand do very little to help the situation. Even worse, it can be easy to forget why you wanted a baby in the first place. Now you just WANT THE BABY, to prove that you can do it and can easily become disconnected to the deep emotions that prompted the decision in the first place. Luckily, there is help.
The first thing couples should do is to try and be patient. When you decide to have a baby, it doesn’t mean you have to turn your entire life’s focus into having a baby. There are still plenty of other things happening in your life that you should maintain an interest in. This includes your partner, family, and friends. Refuse to become consumed with the desire to have a baby, and instead embrace it from a very patient standpoint.
Next up, if you haven’t done so already, is to get a good grasp on the physiological birds and bees. Learn about menstrual cycles and ovulation. Take a nutrition course so you will become aware of foods and lifestyles that will be conducive to pregnancy (for both the male and female). In other words, get yourself healthy first. You and your spouse should have a general physical with some pretty routine and age appropriate blood work done. Why? In around half of all women who have difficultly getting pregnant quickly the problem is linked to an over or under functioning thyroid, that may have no outward symptoms, but that can totally throw off your hormonal balance thwarting any chance at pregnancy. Good news is that this type of disorder can often be fixed in just 30 days by taking medications. If you have a pre-pregnancy physical, your doctor will screen you for this and several other disorders that can stymie your efforts in the bedroom to conceive.
Another big problem is stress! You will never live a stress free life. But you should take every effort to ensure that your life is easy going and manageable. Stress is not only the culprit to illness but also to infertility. Consider how many couples conceive the minute they decide to adopt or stop trying to get pregnant.
When you know that you, and your partner are in optimal health and that you are living clean and stress free lives, then and only then – should you consult a doctor if pregnancy seems to be nothing but a dream you are chasing.
At this point, you should expect to be directed to a fertility doctor. Before you go, make sure that you contact your insurance company. Some companies do treat infertility treatments, while others do not. If your physician is talking about In Vitro Fertilization, often called IVF you will likely have thousands of dollars to pay out of pocket. On average in the United States, for a couple that requires 3 in vitro fertilization attempts in order to conceive (the average for most couples), you can expect to pay around $8,000 to $15,000 PER treatment. And if you need specialized testing such as genetic testing, ICSI (sperm injection) the cost can be even higher.
This alone can be daunting to most couples! Yet it doesn’t have to be. There are financial options, and you should also talk to your gynecologist/physician about the surgical corrections versus In vitro treatments. While there will still be out of pocket expenses, they may be less should you choose surgical options to correct the problem internally.
Another hint, is to ask your insurance plan provider for a detailed explanation of benefits. Very often, reproductive endocrinologists and other fertility doctors will not accept insurance payments. However, you may find that you can get reimbursed personally for many of the procedures. You should also look into clinics that offer shared risk IVF programs. These will enable you to recoup your payments should you not have a ‘successful pregnancy.’
Additionally, two well-known programs that may help are Attain IVF and The ARC Affordable Payment Plan both of which you will need to qualify for. While we at Professors House cannot endorse either of these programs, you should be aware that there are options such as these available that offer discounted procedures. Be careful to look out for scams as well, as there are many organizations looking to take advantage of your emotional state.
The best advice is to keep on keeping on. Your life may take on a new direction, and you may find that planning for baby isn’t the joyous occasion you had first thought. With persistence and perseverance however, you can rest assured that one day or another your efforts will pay off and your dreams will be met.
Above all, remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE! Contact other couples and support groups that may give you insider advice about how to cope and what your options are. And by all means, try to stay as positive as possible.