How to cope with infertility treatment-balancing hope with not hoping too much

We asked our online community what they would tell their younger self about the journey through infertility treatment. The first response we received was “Don’t lose hope!” The second response was “Don’t hope too much.” Ahh, the yin/yang of infertility summed up in two comments!

One of the many challenges of infertility is striking the balance between hope and not hoping too much.

Why Hope is Important In Infertility

When we first realize we are facing infertility, we must be hopeful that we will be successful in treatment. The opposite of hope is despair, and despair is both ill placed and not helpful.

Many people are successful in infertility treatment, and the younger the woman, the more likely the success. Even if oral medications, intrauterine inseminations (IUIs), or in vitro fertilization (IVF) are not successful, other options exist for getting pregnant such as more advanced IVF techniques, pre-implantation genetic testing, or donor sperm, egg, or embryo. Affording these multiple treatments is a different issue entirely, but medical science has given us much reason for hope.

Check out these resources on the huge advances in infertility treatment making it possible for more people to create a family.

But Don’t Hope Too Much

What the person who commented about not hoping too much meant was to not let yourself live too much in the future. There is a temptation when going through infertility treatment to stop living your life in the present. Everything becomes focused on the future.

We can’t buy a car now because we don’t know what size we will need.

Should I start a graduate program when I may be pregnant next semester?

We shouldn’t plan a vacation for the fall because we may be in an IVF cycle?

Should I accept this fantastic job that may not be compatible with pregnancy and young children?

All this living in the future on hope is not necessarily good for your mental health in the present.You have to continue to have a life while struggling with infertility.

It’s also a sad fact about infertility treatment that it doesn’t work for everyone. While there is good reason for hope, this hope should be balanced with an honest assessment of your odds of success. This is good for your mental health, and also for the health of your bank account and marriage. Most infertility doctors I talk with are very willing to have an honest discussion of your odds of success and to reassess these odds with every cycle of treatment. The challenge is often your willingness to hear.

Check out these resources on finding ways to live your life fully while struggling with infertility.

Striking the Balance

While not always easy, when going through infertility treatment it is helpful to find the balance between hope for the future and being able to live fully in the present. Good reason exists for hope, but you don’t want to miss the life you have right now or stay too long in treatment when your odds of success are low.

Have you been able to balance hope and not too much hope? Share your tips in the comments.