As a couple trying to conceive, being confronted with fertility issues can quickly take a toll on an otherwise healthy relationship, especially for couples who have decided to turn to assisted conception treatments for help. Further complicating matters, many couples also have trouble coping with the heartache that stems from repeated failed pregnancies.
The best way to overcome these challenges, which can potentially sabotage a relationship, is by supporting one another and demonstrating empathy. After all, infertility can be distressing for women and men alike. There are strategies that couples can implement to keep their relationship intact as they pursue their dreams of parenthood.
The Power of Empathy
Not surprisingly, a woman’s sense of self-worth, not to mention identity, is often linked to her ability to bear children. Therefore, being infertile can be overwhelming for most women, and many tend to believe that their partner will abandon them as a result of something that they may not even have any control over.
Furthermore, many women believe that their significant other is incapable of understanding the full scope of their struggles with infertility. As such, men are encouraged to be as empathetic as possible without being offensive or offering advice that may further lower a woman’s sense of self-worth.
Infertility Can Be Just as Hard on Men
According to the National Institutes of Health, one in twenty men will experience fertility problems as a result of low sperm count. Similar to women, men can be just as distressed about infertility and often feel low self-worth that may cause them to question their manhood. In many cases, a woman will rely on their male partner to provide emotional support, failing to recognize that he too may need someone to confide in and be there for him as well.
Of course, it doesn’t help that men are often not as forthcoming when it comes to expressing their feelings, meaning that women will have to pick up on subtle cues and do their best to be as empathetic as possible. While this is not always easy, the best way for a woman to support her male partner who is struggling with fertility issues is by offering a sympathetic ear when he is ready to share his feelings. Even more important, women should refrain from passing judgment as the problems that he is facing may be beyond his control.
Honesty in a Relationship
While honesty in a relationship is always important, it becomes critical when couples are having problems conceiving. According to U.S. News & World Report, more than 26 percent of marriages end in divorce as a result of infertility issues. These statistics bolster the importance of being honest about your thoughts and feelings with one another. The same applies to your hopes and dreams when it comes to parenthood; after all, assisted conception treatments have helped many couples realize their dreams of bringing a healthy baby into the world, and you want to be on the same page in terms of raising a child. For many couples, the success of their relationship often hinges on being able to raise a family.
If you share this mindset, it is important to express these feelings early on as they can lead to resentment and other problems if parenthood is not in the cards for you and your significant other. However, it is important to note that there are other avenues available for couples that are unable to conceive, such as adoption and surrogacy. Although these options may pale in comparison to conceiving a child naturally, they can be just as fulfilling for couples who are ready to experience the joys of parenthood.
In summation, infertility issues can be difficult and can also place a strain on a relationship. The best way to overcome these challenges is by being honest with one another and working with a reproductive endocrinologist to find out what options are available to you. Of course, if there are already problems in your relationship, it would be a good idea to resolve these issues before taking any steps toward becoming parents.