Coping with Infertility

Infertility can have a profound impact on the lives of both partners. Feelings of failure, anxiety, depression and guilt are very common reactions when living with infertility. Ironically, it can also cause severe damage to your sexual and marital relations. Couples are under great pressure when coping with infertility. Medical decisions need to be made, finances have to be sorted out, and the emotional burden may at times seem unbearable. The worst part of dealing with infertility is that there is no predicting on how long it will take for the situation to remedy itself or whether the outcome will even be successful. To help you cope better you need to:

  • Set limits on how far you and your partner are willing to go regarding treatments and procedures. Deciding beforehand on what is financially and emotionally acceptable for both of you is an important way to cope with the rocky road ahead.
  • Consider all your options as well. If infertility treatments don't work, would you both consider adoption or alternative options such as surrogacy? Speak to your doctor about the various choices available and discuss them in detail. Being armed with several options can help lessen your anxiety and depression.
  • Speak out to someone about what you are going through. And by this we don’t just mean your partner. Look for an unbiased third party (maybe even a professional or a support group) who can see you through your treatments whether they are successful or not.
  • Even if the fertility treatment is successful, it is not unusual to be plagued with fear and anxiety about things that can go wrong. Professional counselors or therapists can help you through this time.
  • Allow yourself to grieve. It is okay to be angry. It is okay to cry. It is okay to think it’s unfair. Trying to hide these feelings or denying their existence just ends up causing more problems in the long run.
  • Men and women tend to react to infertility differently. Do not impose your feelings and reactions on your partner. However, make time to discuss what either of you is going through to ensure that you stay connected.
  • Be informed about all your choices and the ins and outs of the procedures you are going through. Collecting information and speaking to your doctor in detail can help deal with uncertainty and insecurity.

If you do need to get in touch with a support group, do seek advice from your health care providers on the support networks in your locality. You can also reach out through the internet, with sites like these:

  1. RESOLVE : The National Infertility Association
  2. Infertility Support Community

  1. W Weidner, G.M Colpi, T.B Hargreave, G.K Papp, J.M Pomerol, The EAU Working Group on Male Infertility, EAU Guidelines on Male Infertility, European Urology, Volume 42, Issue 4, October 2002, Pages 313-322, ISSN 0302-2838, 10.1016/S0302-283
  2. Petra De Sutter, Rational diagnosis and treatment in infertility, Best Practice & Research Clinical Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Volume 20, Issue 5, October 2006, Pages 647-664, ISSN 1521-6934, 10.1016/j.bpobgyn.2006.04.005.
  3. Vicki Denson, Diagnosis and Management of Infertility, The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, Volume 2, Issue 6, June 2006, Pages 380-386, ISSN 1555-4155, 10.1016/j.nurpra.2006.03.019.