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Why social connections in IVF matter?

Updated: Jul 12

Women in IVF often see a decrease in their social connections which in turn impacts negatively on their overall wellbeing.

Research shows that there are higher rates of major depression in women undergoing infertility treatment and even higher rates in women that have experienced a failed IVF cycle.[1] Over the years of meeting women in IVF (since 2016) and from personal experience, I do not doubt this research. The mental and emotional impact associated with negative outcomes in IVF is not taken seriously enough in the IVF process. With 1 in 6 Australian couples* experiencing infertility this is totally unacceptable and needs to change.

Many women I've spoken to over the years have expressed a lack of emotional and mental support from their IVF clinics. The question that I will be exploring with the Together We Wait community, is whether it is the clinics' responsibility to provide this support? And, if not, how can Together We Wait be the missing piece of the IVF puzzle in this regard?

Here's some insights into the IVF process from the perspectives of women in IVF that I have interviewed over the past 6 months.

When asked about their view of the IVF process...

“It’s brutal, isolating, and difficult to navigate. There is a lack of support coming from clinics, and it feels “churn and burn” as though your uterus is on a conveyor belt. You have to seek out support yourself.”

“To sum it up, challenging and I underestimated its impact on everything. Surprisingly all-consuming in nature and took over my life.”


“It’s a game of elimination - a lot to be researched and a lot to be learnt in the medical field of reproduction for women. It is an emotional roller-coaster.”

When asked about their biggest challenges with IVF...

“Money, the toll on spousal relationship, breakdowns after the loss and failure, stress, isolation and feelings of loneliness. The process of IVF is frustrating. There is a lack of empathy and support from clinics.”

“The trauma, cost, evasion to everyday life, false starts and false hope, falling pregnant and miscarriage. Finance stress on your marriage. Suffering in silence. Dealing with feelings towards others about their babies. No compassion from others. People brush it off and don’t understand.”

“Seeing other people-success. Coming to terms with uncertainty. The strain on your marriage. The expense and time, and impact on everyday life. Lack of direction leads to feeling scared, apprehensive and to be self-protecting. There is a strain on your relationship.”

So, how does Together We Wait provide relief and support to women in IVF?

Social connections in times of isolation and trauma are a major determinant of health and wellbeing. IVF is an invasive, exhausting, isolating and expensive process for many women. Our online community and in-person meetups bring women in IVF together to form valuable social connections and create clarity in the IVF process. Women in our online community have reported that their number one priority for joining the community is to connect with other women in IVF.


Why do connections matter?

Because they feel a need to connect with ‘people that understand the ups and downs of the whole process. You can just talk about it and know they get it.’ - This is a direct statement from a Together We Wait, community member.

Join the Together We Wait Community and receive support in IVF by connecting with other women in IVF. Be a part of creating connections and finding clarity in the IVF process. Invest in forming empowering connections with women that understand.


References

[1] Holley, S.R. et al., 2012. Rates of major depression following IVF failure. Fertility and Sterility, 98(3), p.S234

*These statistics do not include single women undertaking fertility treatment.

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kit@togetherwewait.com.au

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