Infertility can be a challenging and emotionally draining experience for many couples. If you are feeling overwhelmed by the process and unclear about the best way to navigate through the many options for treatment you are not alone. The 4 “I’s” of healthy coping can help you to advocate for yourself and make the best decisions for your speciﬁc needs.
INTROSPECT: Start the process by looking inward. How are you feeling about your situation? Are you currently taking good care of yourself physically and emotionally? What is your goal? What steps are you willing to take to reach that goal? Do you have an internal timetable for how much time you are willing to commit to different treatment options?
INVESTIGATE: Now is the time to explore your treatment options. The most successful patients have educated themselves about their different possibilities for treatment. Speak to your doctor. Connect with other infertility patients through patient advocacy groups, such as RESOLVE (www.resolve.org), to learn about their experiences. Seek information for patients provided online by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (www.asrm.org).
INTERACT: This step is very difﬁcult for many people, but may be the most important for healthy coping. Spend time talking with your partner about non-infertility related topics. Reach out to friends and family to help maintain feelings of hopefulness and optimism. Make time for hobbies, exercise and relaxation. Do something kind for your body, such as getting a manicure, massage or acupuncture treatment.
INTERVENE: Make a plan. Together, with your treatment team, you can determine the best course of action. It is then very empowering to begin treatment, as each step you take leads in the direction of achieving your goal.
By following these 4 “I’s” you can better navigate your journey through infertility while maintaining a positive outlook and remaining hopeful of success in achieving your goals!