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5 Ways to Create Goals that Empower You (during your fertility struggles)

by Staff

If you ask people struggling with fertility what their real goals are, it’s always a simple answer… To get pregnant and have a baby.

What is your five-year plan? To have a baby.

What was your goal last year? To have a baby. Stop asking about my goals.

And whatever you do, don’t give me advice or a quick fix solution. We’re good.

More than just an unmet goal, having a family is a dream for those struggling with fertility. As many of us have faced, getting that positive pregnancy test and having a successful healthy pregnancy are goals that often slip through our fingers of control. Yet we strive forward anyhow, attempt after attempt, despite the hardship and pain this journey can bring. And why do we keep going? Because we are strong enough to. Because we believe it’s possible.

More than goals related to increasing your health and fertility, goals can help you transform your life by giving you courage to keep going, bounce back from the pain of a pregnancy failure or loss, and empower you to take this journey another step further. Most importantly goals can help move you forward from a place of feeling stuck, instead tapping into aspects that can bring lightness back into your heart and life, perhaps bring the spark back or restore hope…

Here are 5 guidelines that may help bring transformation into your life and new energy into your fertility journey:

1. Joy - When facing hardship, we can get into a state of depriving ourselves. Strangely enough its often things we need, like joy, adventure and laughter. Ask yourself what would bring more joy into your life? We each have our list, but when’s the last time you remember engaging in joyful activities, conversations, unproductive fun and actually feeling it in the moment? If your pausing here because you’re thinking, that means your due for an infusion.

2. Eliminate what depletes you - Create a goal that eliminates an aspect in your life that depletes your energy, body, or spirit. This often means exploring what’s draining your joy. Perhaps it’s time to look at changing your routines, simplifying your life or taking space from relationships, people or obligations that aren’t serving you. And when ‘taking space’ is not possible? Emotionally take a step back. Invest in you and decide how you want to think and feel, not how that situation, person or aspect makes you feel.

3. Feed your heart - Explore what would bring more love, compassion and affection into your life. Let yourself love those around you and let yourself be cared for, loved, held, appreciated. Depriving oneself of love is like committing to the hardship instead of thriving despite of it.

For many going through fertility struggles, there comes with it a survival mode of ‘just keep going’ and ‘I’m okay’, but over time many lose the spark they had for life. The cure? Nurture yourself. Feed your body, your spirit, your mind. Be honest with yourself and how this journey makes you feel at times. Find ways to be gentle with yourself and those around you. Locate that funny bone or find adventure…

4. Make room for you - On top of continuing your regular life and obligations, you have taken on a second challenging job, making a baby that is struggling to be ‘made’. On top of countless medical appointments, you are also dealing with the fertility struggle that plays out in your mind and heart. So create more space in your life for you, and for those who want to spend time with. You don’t have to give all your time away and you don’t have to hide either.

5. Stop punishing ourselves - I strongly encourage people facing fertility struggles to consider making a goal to stop overdoing it in their life or creating so many commitments that it’s dizzying. Let go of doubting yourself, or turning yourself inside out and overextending trying to make a baby or gain fertility. You are enough and you’re doing the best you can. Maybe take a moment and take in what you have made it through, and what that means you’re capable of. We are the heroes of our own lives.

All my best,

Jessi Nesbitt, Registered Psychologist, M.Ed.

*Originally created for Y.A.N.A. Fertility Support Group in Saskatoon

Success Rates – What do they Mean?

by Dr. Adrian Gamelin

At Aurora, we are occasionally asked why we don’t post our IVF pregnancy rates on our website. IVF success rates have changed a lot over the past decade. The treatment has improved, because of advances in the science of stimulating egg development and growing the fertilized eggs (embryos) in the laboratory. There is no doubt that the treatment success rates have improved dramatically. But IVF success rates can be tricky to interpret. There are many factors that come into play when interpreting a clinic’s success rate.

Clinics can differ in the patient population they treat – for example some clinics may care for a larger proportion of older women, or couples with previous treatment failures, and this can affect the “success rates.” Some clinics may promote transfer of 1 embryo at a time, to encourage the best possible outcome for the mom and baby while others may liberally transfer multiple embryos during treatment.

There are many other factors that are important when choosing a fertility clinic, beyond success rates. It’s important to find a fertility care team that meets your needs: a place that is comfortable, convenient, has good communication and supports you through the stress of infertility.

If you are planning to do IVF treatment at Aurora, your physician will counsel you about your chance of pregnancy. Rest assured, our pregnancy rates compare favorably to the national average and we will work with you to achieve our common goal – a healthy, happy mom and baby!

Lifestyle Factors and Fertility

by Dr. Allison Case

Patients often ask me about what they can do to increase the chance of pregnancy. Some lifestyle factors such as smoking, diet, body weight and stress are directly under your control and can have a significant impact on the chance of pregnancy. This is the first in a series of blog posts about lifestyle factors and fertility. We’ll start with smoking.

Smoking and Fertility

Smoking can cause fertility problems in both men and women. The chance of infertility is almost 2 times higher in smokers than in nonsmokers. Smoking is also associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, other pregnancy complications, as well as male sexual dysfunction. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can affect both egg and sperm quality. These harmful chemicals can also speed up the loss of a woman’s eggs, resulting in earlier menopause. Women who smoke, or whose partner smokes, will take longer to get pregnant than women who don’t smoke. Fertility treatment may not be able to overcome the effects of smoking on fertility. Pregnancy rates in IVF patients who smoke are almost 50% less than in couples who don’t smoke.

Many women who smoke plan to quit as soon as they know they are pregnant. For those couples planning to conceive, particularly if they are experiencing difficulty conceiving, stopping smoking may increase both the chance of conception and successful pregnancy. It is best to quit smoking at least 3 months before starting fertility treatment. Quitting smoking can be very difficult, but it will improve your chance of getting pregnant, either on your own or with fertility treatment. Talk to your health care provider about ways to help you quit smoking. It is the best thing you can do for your health, and the health of your baby.

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