Injectable Medication: Making it a Couple's Activity
The sight of a large box of medications and needles signals the start of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. Perhaps even just thinking about infertility treatments is daunting to you and your partner.
Rest assured, most women find ways to cope with the fears and worries that accompany the use of injectable medications for in vitro fertilization.
While some women find it easy to inject themselves on a daily basis, other women prefer to have their partner help with the injections. Involving your partner may help you both maintain closeness and intimacy during this stressful time.
How to keep stress levels low
Before starting an IVF cycle, be sure that you and your partner are in a good place to withstand the stress of the process. In vitro fertilization can be one of the most stressful events that couples experience, sometimes surpassing the loss of a family member or going through a divorce.
To keep stress levels low, avoid major life changes during an IVF cycle, like a job transfer or moving. Most of the time, IVF does not negatively affect couples’ relationships in the long-term. In fact, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine reports that the bonding experiences of IVF are often protective to a couple, and may even benefit your relationship.
To maintain a positive attitude during each in vitro fertilization cycle, plan frequent dates, no matter how extravagant or simple. If you have other children, make sure to find time for intimacy when your children are asleep or with a sitter.
Share the injection experience
When it comes to injectable medications, many women find themselves anxious about giving the first shots. This is a great opportunity involve your partner in the process. Some partners may be eager to give the injections, as it helps them to feel involved. Others may feel squeamish or nervous about performing the injections.
You may feel frustrated with your partner, or you may find yourself laughing as you both struggle to master this process together. Talk to your doctor to see if your fertility clinic offers classes or videos to guide you in how to do the injections. By working together during this time, a bond is formed, and your partner will feel invested in the infertility treatment experience.
Prepare for infertility treatments together
Consider scheduling injection “dates” to allow you time to connect with and focus on each other. If you choose to include your partner in the process, arrange to do the injections in a comfortable space where you can both relax.
When you and your partner are ready to begin the first injection, follow these helpful tips to make sure you are doing them correctly.
- Place the necessary medications for the round of injections on a clean, flat surface.
- Check the expiration dates on your medications and make sure they look normal. The liquid should be clear and free of any small particles.
- Wash your hands thoroughly and disinfect the injection site with alcohol. Let the skin dry for a few seconds and prepare the medication as directed.
- To reduce soreness, try alternating the injection site each time. Ask your partner to massage the area gently and softly after injection to speed healing and create intimacy.
- Finally, dispose all medications properly and carefully. Do not reuse any of the needles.
Seek help if stress is overwhelming
Know that the first IVF cycle is usually more difficult than the others. You may be surprised by how emotional you feel while taking the injection medications. You may feel anxious or frequently upset due to the side effects of the medications. Also, the two-week wait after the embryo transfer can seem unbearable.
Sometimes women find their emotional state to be overwhelming. If you find it beneficial, individual or couples counseling can help you and your partner work through any difficult moments that arise.
Also, try to meet other couples that have gone through this process, and share your experiences with them. Other couples who’ve undergone injectables with IVF will understand exactly what you are going through, and can help you and your partner through this stressful time.
This content is Copyright The American Fertility Association (AFA) 2010. This content is intended for personal use and may not be distributed or reproduced without AFA consent. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit theafa.org for more information.Sources
- The American Fertility Association: How to Give and Receive an Injection: A Guide for Infertility Patients and their Partners.
- INCIID.org: Preparing for IVF: Emotional Considerations
- Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology Personal Interview with IVF Patient (Name withheld). June 2nd, 2010.