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IVF Patients Suffer In The Bedroom; Relationships
October 31, 2012
A study out of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at the Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington, says female in vitro fertilization (IVF) patients are less sexually satisfied with their partners, and show less desire for sex due to the stress of infertility treatment.
Undoubtedly, IVF can take the spark out of making a baby. The procedure involves ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, and egg fertilization in a lab. The sperm sample is obtained and washed, then combined with, or injected into, the eggs depending on the fertilization method used. Embryos are monitored for growth and transferred into the woman’s uterus several days later, or frozen for future cycles. Such an advanced technology as IVF is often later pursued or an only option a couple may have for building a family. Many of these couples have been trying for years and come to feel they are going through the motions of a tedious chore.
Doctoral student Nicole Smith and Associate Professor Jody Lyneé Madeira, investigators on the study, recognize the void of sexual enjoyment when it comes to being infertile and trying to conceive. “Sex is for pleasure and for reproduction, but attention to pleasure often goes by the wayside for people struggling to conceive. With assisted reproductive technologies (ART), couples often report that they feel like a science experiment, as hormones are administered and sex has to be planned and timed. It can become stressful and is often very unromantic and regimented; relationships are known to suffer during the process”, said Smith.
Infertility treatment can be a physically and emotionally trying experience. Combined with surging hormones, and self-reported diminished self-esteem, it is no wonder why these women would feel less inclined toward sex. The study also found these women were less likely to orgasm and reported more pain during intercourse than their non-fertility-treatment seeking counterparts. The length of time trying to conceive also exacerbated women’s negative attitudes toward sex and their partners.
Side effects are frequently overlooked as infertility patients report having a baby as the most essential goal of treatment. It is equally important to report side effects like pain, dryness, and lack of desire or dissatisfaction to your fertility doctor. In most instances, your doctor can help remedy the problem by tweaking hormone medication levels or recommending prescription or over the counter solutions. They can also refer couples for mental health counseling or online support forums like www.fertilethoughts.com.
Remember, you are not alone and your concerns are more than likely the concerns of others as well. Your doctor has heard it all!
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