Dealing with infertility

Discovering that there might be fertility issues comes as a huge shock to many couples. That’s because most of us assume that we will be able to have a family when we are ready to do so. Despite hearing the repeated warnings, many couples are delaying the decision about whether or not to try for a baby or for another baby for a variety of reasons. And for some people, they were not in a position to even think about falling pregnant until well into their 30s or early 40s.

Obviously not everyone reacts to the news in the same way. Some become angry at the unjustness of the situation. Others remain optimistic, while some pretend that there is no problem at all. Women tend to want to talk about the issue and men might keep their feelings to themselves. Further problems arise when the two individuals within the couple are not able to support one another. It’s important to allow each other to react to the news and not judge this reaction.

Once you have allowed the news to sink in, it’s time to gather as much information as possible. There are people to see and decisions to be made. Listening to your partner’s views is just as important as airing yours. It’s very common for couples to disagree about what path to take, how long to stay on a course of action, and who to tell. My advice would be to only tell people who you believe will be truly supportive. They may not be your closest friends or family. Whoever you tell, let them know how much you want to discuss the issue and whether you want them to check on your progress through any fertility treatment. Have some prepared answers for the inevitable questions from other friends and relatives about when you are going to start a family.

You or your partner might find it easier to avoid gatherings where there are many young children around, or this may not bother you. The holiday season can be particularly difficult for those struggling with fertility issues.

Trying to conceive a baby can play havoc with your sex life. It’s important that this is acknowledged and tackled in a light-hearted way. Try to remain affectionate and make romantic gestures during this stressful time. Lastly, put aside plenty of time to talk about anything other than fertility. It can be all-consuming, so it’s essential that you try to have some fun and take a break from all the intensity.

If in the end, you are not able to have children, allow yourselves time to grieve but don’t give up on the dream of living a happy life together. Couples counselling can be useful if you or your partner are finding it hard to see a way forward.

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