Author: Dr. Asha Baxi

Qualification: MBBS, MS, FICOG, FRCOG

Along with causing emotional stress to an individual, infertility can impact even the most robust relationships. The efforts to conceive can lead to conflict and tension. However, it could also help in bringing couples closer. Let’s talk about some of the most common impacts of infertility on relationships, along with the practical methods that couples can rely on to heal and grow:

· Sexual stress while conceiving

Sex life is the first victim in any relationship during the conceiving process. Initially, the planning of the first baby may sound exciting. After months of trying, the same thing could be the last thing you want to hear.

· Disagreements on sharing with others

Except for single women or men making efforts to have a baby with an egg donor, infertility is usually considered a couple’s problem. Sharing this struggle with others or even the fertility doctor is a decision they have to make together. Agreeing on who and whether to talk about this makes things easier for the couple; otherwise, the situation can get complicated.

· Fearing your partner will leave

Infertility is unlikely to break your relationship in case of a strong bond. However, if you are dealing with the fear that your partner will leave, put it out there. Sit with your partner and share these fears. Research has shown that couples who resort to self-blame and criticism tend to develop higher levels of infertility stress.

· Stress and dissatisfaction

Who do you think faces the worst in a relationship? The woman who is facing female infertility and has to face various procedures? Or the infertile person (male or female) going through an emotional burden? For some couples, these could lead to resentment among fertility challenged individuals.

· Dissimilarity in opinions on going ahead

Some couples often disagree on opting for IVF treatment or any fertility treatment. These differences in opinions could be because of debt and bills, while some are uncomfortable with the treatment itself. They might also disagree on the number of times to keep trying, choose a short break from testing and treatment, or move on to accept whatever works best. Some even disagree on whether to live a childfree life or pursue adoption.

– How to cope with infertility stress · Clear communication Instead of keeping things bottled up within you, it will make it so much lighter to share your thoughts and fears with your partner. Please do not keep your partner unaware or unattended about your feelings, whether the cost or opting for a fertility test for women. Communication can relieve your partner, assuring them that infertility isn’t harmful and that you are not looking to end the relationship. · Move ahead with a plan. Experts have suggested that forming a plan and moving ahead with a plan of action helps in improving marital satisfaction. Although infertility is not “plan-friendly” since you won’t know how long you need to keep trying or what type of testing or treatment would be suitable. However, giving shape to a plan will ease things in the short term; you can then keep your schedule flexible to entertain changes ahead. Organising a financial plan can be a wise move as you can set aside the money necessary for the treatment.

· Reach out for consultation

Sometimes, you may make decisions that reach nowhere, regardless of your efforts. In such a case, seeking the help of a counsellor would be an excellent choice to build communication and reach mutual agreements. Visiting a counsellor is perfectly ok, and everyone should capitalise on some extra help to cope with stress or strenuous situations.

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