Limbo Land: Making a Decision about Treatment?

Often, making a decision about what we are going to wear to work, eat for breakfast, or make for dinner can be challenging. We have to admit that even for life’s most basic questions we resort to the pros and cons list! And while resorting to the plus-minus activity to answer the red vs the black shoe debate, imagine how long the list will be when you are deciding on what treatment plan to choose when it comes to your fertility. Timed intercourse vs IUI (intrauterine insemination), Clomid vs letrozole, IVF with a fresh transfer vs IVF with a frozen transfer—the list goes on and on. Like a buffet table in an all-inclusive family resort, it can become overwhelming.

We are not here to recommend that you isolate yourself to “half of the buffet” (a little variety is always good!) but to help you decide how to make the best decision for you and your fertility. As a simple rule, we have found that, when you are faced with a difficult decision, you should remember your ABCs. No, your eyes are not deceiving you, and no, we aren’t recommending that you break out into song…we are recommending that you Ask questions, get Answers, and then weigh the Benefits and the Cons of each option. The more you ask, the more you know, the more you know, the better equipped you are to make the right or the best “right now” decision for you and your partner.

Identifying the ABCs and deciding when, where, and what treatment to embark on can take time and work. We often see women and couples who are in the throes of infertility treatment struggling with these decisions. This “lost in limbo land” phenomenon can be debilitating, depressing, and overwhelming. In many cases, couples/individuals are not only wrestling with what sort of fertility treatment plan to choose, but also simply accepting that they are in our office and are going to need fertility help.

And to make matters worse, imagine that someone might be telling you that you won’t be able to use your own eggs or your partner’s sperm or your own uterus. It can be devastating. While we don’t expect an immediate decision, we do want to help you find the tools and the answers that you need to come to that decision. We promise you: the sooner you make up your mind and can initiate treatment, the sooner you are on the path to what you really want—becoming a parent.

Closing the chapter on any phase, any age, any idea, or any process is no easy task. It takes time; it is a process. There may be denial, there may be anger, and there may be grieving. If you are feeling or have felt any of these emotions when dealing with treatment decisions, we are here to assure you that they are normal. Making peace with what has happened in the past will help you move into the future, forward in the treatment process, and ultimately help you out of the dreaded “limbo land.”

The buffet has many options—fruits, veggies, pasta, pizza, chicken, steak, and fish (and don’t forget dessert!) Where to start, when to end, and how many times you should go back for more is really up to you. Your doctor will be your guide as you navigate your choices, but ultimately you put the food on your plate. Although they will point you towards the healthiest options and tell you when your plate is full, you decide when enough is enough. Listen to your gut, and remember your ABCs. They will help you as you review the menu and decide what’s best to order!