Cheshire's Mental Health Hub

GUEST BLOG: The Rollercoaster of IVF

I recently completed a diploma in In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) and although I had known a few family members that had been through the process I was shocked and appalled by the process. In my diploma we focussed on the process, the implications and the emotional roller coaster that families have to endure why going through the process. 

It was the emotional roller coaster that shocked me, support is needed and something that I want to develop on within the charity that I run (Motherwell Cheshire). The loss that families have to go through really struck me and many of these families don’t have the appropriate support to help them work through their loss. Many experiencing multiple miscarriages, or many grieving for the family that they will never have.

Around 1 in 7 couples have difficulty conceiving. Same sex couples are not included in this number and they also need the support. Many same sex couples I have spoken to have also experienced discrimination and are not taken seriously when wanting to start a family. This only adds to the frustration of trying to navigate their way around the IVF system.

I was shocked by how money dominated the world of IVF was, especially in the private clinics, who in my mind were exploiting the desperation of the families who for many were at their most vulnerable.

Depending on where you live the NHS offer different “options” for IVF. A classic example of postcode lottery, and another frustration to the families wanted to start a family.

There are so many options for IVF sperm donor, surrogacy etc. With many implications with each option, the families need to make sense of each of these implications and understand the impact that they will have on them both short term and long term. This can be very difficult when all they can think of is having a baby, it’s understandable that, that is their priority, but in my opinion someone needs to walk alongside the couples to support them emotionally throughout the process.

The physical and emotional impact on the women can have a lasting impact and this can have a strain on relationships, with partners wanting to support them but unsure how. Sexual relationships becoming about making babies and not about making love. For some couples their relationships end and again this is another loss for them to go through.

Emotional support should be offered as part of the process of IVF, but this is not always the case. Trauma, loss, stress – these are just a few of the emotions that families will go through yet this is still not seen as a priority when there is money to be made.

I am not saying that all clinics are the same, but the reality is there are clinics out there that making a profit is a priority. I advise people to do their research and ask others before deciding on a clinic, understandably a baby is the final result but what happens in between is equally as important to be able to move forward in whatever direction the process takes you.