We all need vacations. Time off. And there are always a lot of things to consider when taking a vacation.
- Destination- where do you want to go?
- Budget- what can you afford?
- Compromise- if you are going with someone else- where do you both want to go?
- Travel plans- arriving by air, sea, car, train?
If you are also trying to become pregnant, then you need to consider some other things as well. If you are trying to conceive and are using ART (assisted reproductive technology), then there are even more things to factor into your vacation plans.
ART includes IUI (artificial or intrauterine insemination) and IVF (in vitro fertilization), as well as monitored medical cycles using timed intercourse. All fertility treatment cycles require a certain amount of monitoring, which usually include, but are not limited to: blood work at certain specific times; ultrasounds; and semen analysis's.
Planning a Vacation During Fertility Treatment
So how do you plan a vacation? And is it frivolous to even wonder about it?
Let's take the second question first.
It is not frivolous to want to have a vacation, even while you're in fertility treatment. Or especially when you're in fertility treatment.
We all need vacations. We all need time off. That's not always an easy decision to make though, to take time off, when you're trying to conceive. There is often a feeling of pressure, time wise, to take advantage of each cycle that you possibly can. If you are over 35, there is often a feeling that time may be running out. No matter what age you are, the thought that "this might be the fertility treatment cycle that works" makes it really hard to take a month off.
Taking Time Off From Fertility Treatment
Remember that taking some time off means no injections, no ultrasounds, no doctor visits. This can be really helpful and restorative, especially if you have been at it for awhile. You may only realize how stressful treatment has been when you take a break and focus on other areas in your life. Doubtful you will forget about trying to conceive during your time off- that's not the point. The idea of some time off is simply that, allowing yourself to recuperate physically, emotionally and spiritually from the rigors of treatment. It's taking a rest. You know. A vacation.
And, please remember, that taking a vacation often means going back to fertility treatment less exhausted and more hopeful. Fertility treatment often seems simply easier after a little time off. And it can be more effective if the body is rested.
Let's go back to the first question. How to plan a vacation when trying to conceive. Here are a few things to consider, given that you are also trying to fit in fertility treatment cycles.
How to Plan a Vacation Around Fertility Treatment Cycles
- Fertility programs have down times where they don't do IVF cycles. Find out when they are and take advantage of those times for planning time off or away.
- If you are a teacher, summers are a great time to cycle and a spring vacation might be the best time to get away.
- Consider buying trip insurance so that if a fertility treatment cycle goes longer than planned, there will be no reason for panic. It will be easier to reschedule.
- Plan a staycation. Look around at what you can do in an easy day drive. Rediscover the beauty and the fun in the area in which you live.
- With the money that you will save on flights and hotels, indulge in spa treatments or tickets to Broadway or your favorite bands.
- If you are going to fly, check the CDC (Center for Disease Control). They have an ever-changing and up-to-date Zika virus section on their website. Any possible exposure to the virus will postpone fertility treatment cycles. For men, freezing sperm may be necessary as the wait time after possible exposure is more than six months.
Taking a vacation during fertility treatment is more challenging than it would normally be, no question about that. One last suggestion is to work with your patient navigator or fertility nurse when planning a vacation. They will have specific suggestions based on your history that will make vacation planning much simpler.
Also remember that even taking a weekend off can be restorative if you plan it around what you need, which may be sitting in front of the fire, or swinging in the hammock while reading a novel of your choice.
Time off. It may be just what you need.