I do not like needles, how will I cope with fertility treatment?

Having hormones via needles is often a part of fertility treatment.  Many people feel anxious about injecting themselves with needles, often for the first time in their lives. For some patients, they have a needle phobia making it feel even more overwhelming. This fact sheet is designed to help you manage fertility treatment when you are anxious about using needles for fertility medication.

  1. Needle phobias are common and nothing to be ashamed about. An estimated 25% of adults have a fear of needles (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/terrified-of-needles-that-can-affect-your-health-2021042722470). Keep your judgments of yourself in check, none of us are perfect, we all have fears and anxieties. Instead, focus on knowing that you can overcome this fear.
  2. Ensure that you have clear information about the use of the medication and a clear plan of how you will administer it. Have you watched the clinic video? Would you like further instructions from the clinic nursing staff or the pharmacy? Take time to learn and listen and don’t feel afraid to go over the information several times and write down the steps.
  3. Create a clear plan of how and when you will administer the medication. Choose a calm and quiet space with no interruptions.
  4. Before you begin, ensure you have everything in place. Quieten your mind down. Some controlled breathing, slowing your breathing down can be useful. You might like to try this exercise from Headspace:

belly breathing.

We’re not actually breathing into our belly here, but the belly will puff out when we fill up our lungs. It might be helpful to place a hand on the stomach so we can feel how it rises and falls when we direct our breath there.

Slowly breathe in through the nose and feel the belly push out. Slowly exhale through the mouth and feel the belly draw inwards. (https://www.headspace.com/meditation/breathing-exercises)

  • Consider a short meditation before you start. Apps like Headspace, Ten Percent Happier and Insight Timer have some great options and are as short as a few minutes.
  • Tell yourself – this is a good thing that I am doing and it will be over soon. Repeat this until you have completed the procedure.
  • Reward yourself once you have completed the first one!
  • Use your confidence from your first one to assist you with the next ones. For example, saying to yourself, I did this yesterday, I can do it again today. Be proud of overcoming the fear!
  • Consider a support person to be present, someone you trust that can be there for you.
  • If it feels too overwhelming, can a partner/friend/family member assist you with them? Choose someone who will be patient and calm with you.
  • For significant phobias, it can be useful to get help from a professional. The Australian Psychological Society website (APS) https://psychology.org.au/for-the-public/psychology-topics/phobias has more information about phobias and has a find a psychologist search bar which will allow you to find a specialist in this area.
  • Be patient with yourself, take the time to prepare and ensure you notice and appreciate what you have done, when you get through each day of medication.

Felicity Matson

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