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Infertile couples have to make many decisions. Should they do IVF ? How do they select the right clinic ? How many IVF cycles should they do ? Should they consider using donor eggs ? or adoption ? When should they call it a day ?
These can be difficult decisions to make, partly because they have incomplete information ; the outcome is always uncertain; and because they are very emotionally charged issues.
Read more-Â Making Decisions about Infertility Treatment
Here are 7 strategies, developed by neurobioogists, to help you make the right decision
- Decide on a research strategy - and then set boundaries. For example, let's say you want to find the best IVF clinic. You can use the internet ; or ask your friends ; or trust your doctor to refer you to the right clinic. Please remember that these are not mutually exclusive options. They can be complementary, and you can use them together to create a short list of doctors to interview.
- Limit your options-Â The paradox of choice goes like this : we think that the bigger the choice the better our decision. In fact, with too many choices, we spend too much time weighing up the options, so that at the end we may not reach a decision at all. Make sure you do not get trapped in the phenomenon of "paralysis by analysis".
- Accept good enough-Â Decide on something that meets your basic requirements, instead of searching for " the best ". For example, if you're looking for an egg donor, and you find one who meets your requirements, don't waste time trying to shop around, looking for someone who is better. This only leads to unhappiness.
- Don't fear the consequences- The consequences of most decisions are not as long-lasting as we think, says Dr. Daniel Gilbert. In the scheme of things, every decision loses its importance, with the passage of time. The wisest words known to man are - "This too will pass".
- Go with your gut instinct-Â Research has shown that there seems to be a part of us that knows more than we think we know; and we do tend to be more forgiving of wrong decisions made intuitively, rather than once we spent a long time thinking about. It's easier to forgive our heart as compared to our head.
- Have someone else choose. We tend to think that we are happy if we take things into our own hands . However, sometimes the opposite is true ! When we are forced to make our own decisions, we suffer nagging doubts that we didn't make the best choice. However if you trust your doctor, you can allow him to decide for you. You will be happy if the outcome is good; and if the outcome is bad, you then have someone else to blame.
- Once you have decided, then don't question your decision anymore.
If you follow these steps, the chances of your making the right decision improve considerably.Â However, if you are still not sure what to do, inspite of agonising for weeks on end, here's a very simple method, discovered by Ignatius Loyola, for making the right decision. For example, suppose you've failed 3 IVF cycles and you then need to decide if you should do a fourth IVF cycle, or just call it quits and live child-free.Â
Read more-Â Why do so many women stop treatment after failing their first IVF cycle ?
Both these are difficult options, and it can be hard to decide which one is right. First, spend three days as if you had made a decision to go for another cycle. During these three days, make a note of all your thoughts, feelings and dreams.
Then, go through the same process, with the alternative decision - that of living child-free. Compare notes at the end of this time - and then decide. This way, you'll be able to listen clearly to what your heart desires !