8 important lessons couples learn when dealing with infertility

Turn the pain and heartache from your experiences coping with infertility into a journey of self-discovery.

It’s a fact — one in seven couples suffer from infertility and their inability to conceive can add emotional stress which may ruin or threaten their relationship.

Indeed, financial strain and stress aside, treating infertility can be filled with feelings of loneliness. Still, this emotional journey can also bring valuable lessons that’ll change their perspective on life. These include:

1) Knowing you’re not alone

Tackling your infertility is an emotional roller coaster for any couple. You have to handle pressure from well-meaning loved ones and even from the society to start a family. And when you fail to conceive, you have to turn to your spouse for comfort. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

Couples can look to the thriving online community of bloggers and forums to find emotional support to ease the pain of coming to terms with infertility. Otherwise, counselling from trained psychologists or marriage counsellors can help to resolve any conflict that may crop up. So, be willing to ask for help when you need it and open up.

2) Having kids isn’t a measure of how successful your marriage is or will be

You don’t need to have kids to prove that you and your spouse will be committed to each other for life. Sure, children can add joy to your lives, but so can doing fun things with your spouse or enjoying new experiences together. Sex is also more than just an act of procreation — it’s an expression of passion, intimacy and emotional connection between spouses. Don’t let the pressures of starting a family turn sex into a chore.

You don’t need to have kids to prove that you and your spouse will be committed to each other for life.

3) Just because you’ve already given birth doesn’t mean you won’t be infertile

Secondary infertility is a condition where a woman is unable to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term after having one or more children. This problem is more common than you think — some 20 per cent of infertile couples suffer from secondary infertility. What matters is getting help if you’re below age 35 and have failed to conceive after a year of trying, and after six months if you are older.

4) It hurts to receive baby announcements

It can be really tough to watch your close friends, colleagues and relatives get pregnant when you and your spouse can’t seem to. But, it is a reality that couples who are going through infertility will need to live with. The important thing is to be happy for that friend who is embarking on this next phase of their life.

 

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5) Treatment is expensive

It can cost anywhere between $15,000 and $20,000 for just one cycle of IVF — and the price doesn’t include the multiple rounds of tests you’ll need to take before treatment. The hefty price tag may not be within many couples’ means. And these financial pressures might affect your relationship with your spouse, causing friction.

So, it is important for you both to decide if you can afford fertility treatment ― it’s also vital to plan and set limits from the start.

6) You have other ways to start a family

While most couples would prefer to have biological children, infertile couples may have to turn to other means such as adoption and to become foster parents.

Sometimes, IVF just isn’t feasible, so these alternate means of starting a family may the only choice. However, it doesn’t mean you are less of a parent if you care for children who aren’t biologically yours.

Alternate means of starting a family may the only choice…it doesn’t mean you are less of a parent if you care for children who aren’t biologically yours.

7) Infertility can happen at any age

Age isn’t the only measure of your ability to conceive even though your conception chances decline as you get older. Your lifestyle, nutrition and the presence of any underlying or chronic health conditions are just some of the factors jeopardising your baby-making chances.

So, remember if you have been trying to conceive for some time without results, seek medical help.

8) Emotional loss is far worse than the physical pain of treatment

IVF treatment is often seen as the silver bullet that will solve a couple’s infertility, yet it may not always work. Nor is the therapy for the faint-hearted as this complicated process requires countless injections and doctors’ appointments.

When you do become pregnant, the success of your pregnancy isn’t guaranteed either. Some couples go through repeated rounds of IVF with little or no success. For them, the emotional pain of dealing with a failed pregnancy after braving the treatment is unbearable. But with the right kind of support, you can regain the confidence you’ll need to continue TTC.

Photos: iStock

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