IVF is a revolutionary assisted reproductive technique which has helped thousands of childless couples start a family. Looking beyond the complexities of this scientific procedure, there is a lot behind the curtains. Couples undergoing IVF treatment not only have to bear the physical challenges but psychological and emotional ones too. A far as their sexual life is concerned, IVF has far reaching influence on it too.
IVF treatment takes toll on the sex drive of both men as well as women, in ways more than one. Studies have established the women taking IVF suffer from low libido and sexual satisfaction levels. Their overall sexual function is affected as well. Similarly, their male counterparts are not untouched by the effects of the treatment. Their sex drive may wane too, sometimes causing symptoms as dire as erectile dysfunction. Being aware is the most important aspect of taking these emotional highs and lows in a stride. With the right approach, a couple can go through the treatment successfully and preserve their relationship.
How IVF treatment influences sexual desire?
IVF is a protocol based procedure in which timing is everything. From ovarian stimulation to egg retrieval, embryo culture and transfer, everything has to be timed like clockwork. Consequently, baby making may seem like a mechanical process rather than a natural way for a couple to come closer.
- Sex becomes like a regimented pleasure, where a couple has to consider whether it is right time or not. There is a feeling that one is a guinea pig, the subject of a scientific experiment, not a human being. The lack of intimacy and spontaneity is one of the biggest reasons why IVF couples may come across decreased sex drive.
- Stress is another negative effect of IVF treatment as it can take toll on a couple’s relationship. Women are most likely to suffer from lack of libido during the treatment. For instance, the male partner may want to come closer but the woman may just not be up to it. The constant exposure to diagnostic tests and hormonal medications may simply turn her off. Additionally, there may be a fear that having sex could cause the treatment to fail. On the other hand, men may experience performance anxiety, being pressurized to time it right. Stress may sometimes even lead to erectile dysfunction in males. These issues can strain relationships and sex drive may take a backseat.
- Once infertility is diagnosed for a patient, he or she may feel depressed, miserable and negative. This can directly influence their sexuality and make them feel as if they are no good.
- IVF treatment causes drastic hormonal changes in a woman’s body. Medication can hinder estrogen production, which results in vaginal dryness and the consequent pain and discomfort during sex. However, the estrogen levels go up during superovulation, improving sex drive dramatically.
Overall, both physical as well as psychological factors are responsible for IVF treatment hampering a couple’s sex life. At the same time, it is still possible for a couple to handle the issue by taking the right approach.
Help is at hand!!
Though lack of libido is one of the serious implications of IVF treatment, it is easy to fix. Help is close at hand, with options coming in the form of therapy and counseling. The first thing that the patient needs to do is to realize the problem and be open about it. Most of the time, it turns worse because patients are apprehensive to speak up. Open discussion with the infertility specialist is the first step in this direction. The specialist will help them with support and therapeutic counseling to restore normal sexual behavior.
The couple should also change their mindset about the entire situation. Sexual desire is all in the mind and the key lies right there. Rekindling feelings can bring back the pleasure and excitement. Also, the couple needs to realize that taking IVF treatment does not mean that they are sick; it is just a way to get help with baby making, so there is no reason that it should affect sexual desire. To add to it all, they should focus on spontaneous sex, rather than sex on demand.
Gaudium IVF is one of the top infertility clinics in Delhi and it offers comprehensive infertility treatment and gynecological care to its patients. Visit Gaudium IVF for free second opinion from Dr Manika Khanna, the leading infertility specialist in Delhi.