How to prepare your man for IVF fertility treatment
When I talk to couples I find it’s just as important to focus on the man before IVF treatment as the woman. Normally a woman gets lots of attention and focuses during fertility treatment, this is because she is the most important part when it comes to the hormonal and surgical aspects of treatment. However, when it comes to the emotional and ethical part of IVF the man is just as important as the woman.
A man needs to be listened to, a man needs to be respected, a man needs time to process his thoughts and feelings; he doesn’t want to be pushed into treatment!
So what motivates a man to start fertility treatment?
A happy woman is a man’s biggest IVF motivation, this doesn’t mean that he is not motivated by the thought of a child, but the child is not here yet and men like to deal with the reality as they live in the here and now.
A woman is more motivated by her maternal instinct and by her thoughts and dreams of her future child.
When a couple prepares themselves for fertility treatment, normally, a woman has already prepared herself both practically and emotionally. She gets emotional support from her friends and family, she googles and asks the clinic about every aspect of the treatment so as to be prepared for the medical part and she uses a lot of her time dreaming and thinking about her future child.
I have talked to men that have only prepared themselves practically and not emotionally for IVF treatment. They have organized trips, paid for treatment and supported their partner, but they have not prepared themselves enough for the emotional part of the ‘child project’. A project that will create a miracle, a project that finally can give him a son, or a daughter, a project that will give him a happy wife. When the IVF attempt is getting closer and the man is not emotionally prepared he can start to doubt the project, this is because he needs more time to process his feelings.
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So what can you do to help your man to be emotionally prepared for fertility treatment?
This is my advice as a counselor:
- Involve the man in the whole IVF treatment, let him come with you to your appointments at the clinic and the doctors.
- Provide him with the information that you have found out about the fertility clinic and your IVF cycle
- He also needs room for his emotional reaction, if you as a woman feel prepared this does not mean that your man is also prepared for fertility treatment, so you must listen to him. Also, accept that he may need more time than you to process his feelings.
- Tell him about, or let him meet, other men that have undergone IVF treatment before, this will help him to normalize his situation and feelings.
- Ask him questions about how he sees himself as a father, try to help your man focus not only on the fertility treatment but also on your future child. Help him to realize that IVF treatment is only the necessary medical part of the project and that it is only a small amount of time in comparison to the future time with your child.
- Show your man the high IVF success rates for getting pregnant so that he doesn’t feel that he is taking a big risk when it comes to the financial part of the treatment.
- Tell him that your emotional ups and downs are because of the hormones and that you are not changing your personality. Reassure him that he will get back the woman he fell in love with when all of this is over.
- Tell him why you chose him to be the father of your future child, focus on his positive characteristics as a father.
- Tell him that you appreciate all the support that he gives you and ask him how you can support him too?
- Concentrate on the fertility treatment that you are doing right now, don’t start to talk to him about the next phase, or the next plan; by talking about this already he will think that you have no faith in the IVF treatment that you are going through right now.
Remember that a man’s biggest motivation is a happy woman. Your goal should also be a happy man, a man that will become a perfect father through fertility treatment and ensure that he is also prepared for that.
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