ART is a full time job. We quickly realize that assisted reproductive technology, in all its glory, is extremely hard to undergo financially, emotionally and physically. Infertility cycles using ART require a strict and sometimes painful treatment regimen, involving heavy dosages of injectable medications, needles, policies about when to have sex, and frequent trips to the physician. Women may need several days off over the course of treatment for recovery. On top of it all, ART is not cheap, and if you are lucky, insurance might cover some of the cost. Finally, significant gaps of time pass with no results. There is a lot of “wait and see” in an ART cycle.
Managing all of these physical, emotional and financial arms is what makes an ART cycle another full time job. What this leads to is extreme stress, and it is clear that people make bad decisions under duress. My system encourages you to think about the whole picture and lay a foundation before treatment, so that decisions you make, at the time you make them, are the ones in hindsight you are glad you made.
Knowing at the highest point of stress, or when the worst “what if” scenario becomes a reality, that you made your decisions in good stead with open and honest communication with your partner and your team gives a great sense of comfort and eases the pain.
Making an informed decision involves educating yourself about your diagnosis and the available treatment options. It means realistically analyzing the chance of success for each treatment option in light of your financial situation. Do not be afraid to ask your physicians all the questions you have, and seek a second opinion if you feel you need to. Additionally, do your insurance homework to ensure that you maximize all your lifetime benefits. Call your provider more than once if need be and send a letter to them requesting your benefits in writing.
Also, plan for multiple cycles and if you are using a third party, identify the best possible resources for donors or surrogates. Identifying a candidate that closely meets your criteria affords a confidence level for the cycle, and with resources available nationwide there is no need to settle for a candidate.
ART does not have to be overwhelming. ART can be challenging, sometimes scary, often exciting and always very powerful. Do not be afraid to ask questions and seek help. The rewards you reap as a result of your hard work building the foundation for your cycle will be well worth the time and effort devoted to the journey.