When you haven’t experienced going through IVF yourself, you might find yourself in a complicated situation where you want to support the couple undergoing IVF but don’t know what to do or what to say and you do not want to hurt the person while you want to show them that you are here for them. This is why we have written this article to help you to deal with this kind of situation and to help IVF patients to get the support they need.
The first thing to do is to not ignore the elephant in the room. This is one of the biggest mistakes that people whom friends are undergoing IVF do. This is to ignore talking about IVF as they are scared to make their friends sad and what actually happens over time is that you will become distant with your friends as you might feel awkward around them and you might skip some discussion points just to avoid awkward situations. This problem is something that usually worsens the situation and it is very common. Talking about IVF with the people that are undergoing the procedure is one of the best think of support that you can give them.
This is because you would make them feel comfortable talking about it and discussing their problems with you, but more importantly, they will not suppress their feelings and it will make them more comfortable about the whole situation. The person undergoing IVF will see in you a person with whom they can discuss it and they will trust you and your relationship with people going through this treatment will become stronger as you have been there for them in the hard times of their life. With your discussion about IVF, you have to establish a safe space.
However, you will have to avoid some discussion topics which is also a mistake of people that have established this safe space. You should never discuss with them, what would they do if it is unsuccessful and that they can always adopt. This causes them to think that they should just give up and that you think that there might be no hope for them. This is a very unconscious way of perception of this kind of information. Also, do not talk about how you are happy that you have a small break from your children and that they should enjoy it. Mainly do not discuss money problems and money at all as IVF is a very expensive procedure.
Get ready and prepared to know what to say if a person is unsuccessful with IVF. IVF success rates have increased a lot lately, however, from time to time there is a chance of not succeeding especially in countries with low success rates as the UK. But you can, for example, suggest that traveling abroad to some other country can bring them a higher success rate.
Be prepared to change your body language-at at least a little bit. Body language and the tone of our voice correspond to 93% of perception of what you are saying and what you mean by it ( this is sometimes why people that do not speak the same language understand each other) and how they should feel about what you have said and their perception of you (if you are really trying to help them or not) but then again try to make sure that you do not look fake as that might hurt them. Therefore try to sound calmer and more relaxed while having a conversation with them.
Get to know the procedure. Getting to know the whole procedure will make the process of safe space establishment easier, as well as future discussion topics, will be easier to find and you can help them with their decision making. As well as you might not be surprised if someone suddenly has mood swings and you would be able to predict the behavior of an individual and thus you can change your behavior according to the situation that they are in.
This is also why I recommend reading blogs where you can read about what kind of feelings the person has or what kind of struggle the person has. It will also make you understand the person and mainly to sympathize with the person and the so-called safe space and your trust with the person will be very well established.
It is also important to note down that IVF is completely normal and you as a supporter might have to explain this to people undergoing IVF treatment. The best way how to explain this is to use celebrities as an analogy. For example, you can say that Monika from friends (Courtney Cox) has also undergone this procedure and was unsuccessful at the beginning.
Then again you shouldn’t try to recommend some sort of treatment or something that you have read on the internet that can help with the IVF. All of the IVF patients have done the same maybe even bigger research on the internet than you have and they are aware of the possibilities and all of the IVF supplementations there is out there for them.
An increasing amount of people are going for IVF abroad. When a patient is going abroad they usually face some other fears. They might not feel like if it was a good decision or that something might happen and etc. This is why you should also do your internet research about the country and its success rates and to assure the person that everything will be alright and maybe if you have time you can travel to that country before they have traveled there and tell them your experience with the country and give them tips on what they should visit. It is very important to make them very excited about the place that they will go to as it will make them more certain with their decision.
Also to make them feel more confident with their choice read about all the medical successes the country had. This will assure them that they will be in good hands and thus make them feel more comfortable about going abroad. Sometimes what really helps to make them even more comfortable is if you yourself will consider going to the same country and usually with the same medical facilitator for some other treatment like dental care or plastic operation and etc.
It is very important that you will remain calm and expect some changes in the behavior of the people that you want to support as it might be hard for them to undergo IVF and for some to be unsuccessful with some IVF treatments. The most important thing that you should do is to show them that you are here for them to do all the research necessary about how they might feel and the procedure, to stay calm in some stressful situation, mainly to ensure them that undergoing IVF is completely normal and you have to establish a safe space. You should be able to be like this and achieve this type of relationship with them if you follow the steps above.