Online forums can be a great source of information and support while going through IVF.
But they come with their own unique risks.
Online forums allow you to seek out people who are going through the same thing as you.
How many women do you know in real life who have done IVF and are openly talking about it? Probably not too many.
It is so much easier to find a group to join online. You may even find ‘cycle buddies’ who are commencing their cycle on the same day as you.
This can really help break the feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Many forums offer virtual anonymity which can be a real bonus. You may find yourself sharing things you would not feel comfortable discussing in person.
And if nothing else, forums help you kill time. And there’s a lot of time to be killed when going through IVF. There is the two week wait, the seven week wait… it can drive you nuts. So having somewhere to vent can be a real life saver.
But there is a problem. Most people tend to leave these forums once they have been successful. They will no longer participate in the IVF related topics and may instead join discussions around pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding.
Which may leave you feeling “left behind” and down even if, from a medical point of view, you are doing well – only that you haven’t fallen pregnant on your very first cycle.
You may also find that the people who post the most are the ones who struggle the most, which can really skew your perception and make you feel fearful of what’s to come.