By: Justin Fox
Research continually finds that good communication is essential in a relationship. It is vital that you communicate with each other about what you are thinking and feeling, or this could be a reason for your relationship breaking down.
If you experience infertility as a couple, talking about it can be painful and difficult. However, feelings that are not are not talked about can become suppressed - leading to sadness, anger, resentment, defensiveness and sometimes depression. This in turn can lead to accusations as opposed to partnership - especially in the case of infertility issues if one is found to have the problem on their side.
Fertility treatment is highly stressful for most couples. Many of the infertility treatments - whether it is taking fertility drugs or going through IVF - can be invasive and have many side effects which are difficult to handle and can put strain on the relationship as a result.
The impact of fertility treatment is not only physical - you don’t know if you will be successful or not and you may suffer setbacks and disappointments along the way. You may also feel uncomfortable about loss of privacy as a couple as you face discussing things with medical staff, friends and family that you would normally keep personal.
Here are 7 tips for handling conception issues with your partner:
1. Managing disagreements about which treatment plan to choose
It’s natural for couples to conflict when making such big decisions. Both of you will be feeling pressure from all angles and this can lead to panic, worry and a sense of not knowing which way to turn.
If IUI hasn’t worked, you may be discussing IVF as the next step and it is perfectly normal for one to want to do something more than the other. It is important that you both listen to each other's concerns and worries before launching into an argument that won’t progress your debate.
Disagree constructively - avoid saying things to deliberately hurt the other. Finding things you agree on can be helpful in connecting.
2. Financial worry
Sometimes you might be putting your own money into fertility treatment and with IVF there is often a large financial commitment. Money worries can cause stress which can manifest itself by snapping and shouting at your partner. Acknowledge your worry and comfort each other to lower your stress. Make your financial plans together.
3. Grief and guilt
If you are told that the problem lies with one of you, that person can feel the burden of responsibility. You also both might be grieving for your planned hopes and dreams together - most people simply assume that they will conceive naturally and when they can’t they go through a grieving process. It will be painful to congratulate friends and family who are pregnant. Feelings of ‘loss of identity’ are also common as trying to conceive consumes you.
4. Talk about your sex life
It’s a hard subject to talk about, but if you don’t keep the communication lines open it can cause problems further down the line and your sex life may well be taken over by ovulation timescales and target conception dates. It is important to go on date nights and organize breaks and holidays away so that you can focus on each other.
5. Do the research together
If you research fertility treatment together, when it comes to discussing options, you will both be equally informed, leading to more collaboration and teamwork.
6. Stay united
Set time aside for talking about fertility treatment and set time aside to relax and have fun. It is important to keep a flow of conversation going on how you are feeling about the issues you are facing, but also to find the time to take a step back and take a break.
7. Arrange couples’ counseling if you need to
Don’t be afraid to seek professional advice if you need help. Working with a mediator who is not a family member or friend can really encourage communication. The resulting stress reduction, positive thinking and coping tools can benefit many medical problems.
By seeking fertility treatment together as a couple, you are a team with a common goal. Going through the bad times as a couple can serve to strengthen and deepen your relationship. Make sure that you discuss conception issues with your partner with love and respect and you will be sure to fortify your partnership.
Featured Image: La Rousse Photo
Justin Fox is a writer based in North London, who has previously graduated from the University of Kent. He’s contributed this piece on behalf of Condensyl, experts on male fertility helping couples overcome problems when conceiving.