Coping with infertility: 10 strategies to deal with the emotional and physical challenges of infertility
Many couples who are on their way to starting a family will experience fertility problems at some point. Coping with infertility is one of the most difficult things to deal with as a couple. If you are going through a period of infertility, you will most likely experience a variety of concerns and stress.
According to WHO, you are considered infertile after a year of trying to conceive without a positive pregnancy test. Infertility is a common issue that affects many couples, impacting not only their physical health but also their emotional and mental well-being, 15% of all couples experience some sort of infertility. In this blog post, we have gathered 10 strategies you can use to cope with infertility. The strategies are:
- 1. Understanding infertility
- 2. Coping with emotional stress
- 3. Communication is key
- 4. Getting support
- 5. Assisted reproduction
- 6. Preserving your health and well-being
- 7. Exploring alternative options to fulfil your dream
- 8. Remember that you are a team
- 9. Focus on your relationship
- 10. Calm or distract your mind
1. Understanding infertility
Infertility is a condition that affects millions of couples around the world. Fortunately, because of technical progress in fertility treatment, most couples struggling with infertility end up conceiving. There are several causes of infertility, some of the most influential are age, lifestyle factors, and medical conditions. Infertility can be diagnosed through various tests depending on whether you struggle with female or male infertility. Some of the tests to examine infertility are sperm analysis, ovarian function tests, and hysterosalpingography.
One way to educate yourself on infertility is through books. A lot of books have been written on how to cope with infertility and here below we have gathered a list of 5 books you may find helpful:
- Taking Charge of Your Fertility
- How to Make Love to a Plastic Cup
- It Starts with the Egg
- Conquering Infertility
- The Infertility Journey
2. Coping with emotional stress
Infertility often causes emotional stress, grief, and heartbreak. It is important to acknowledge these feelings and seek help to manage them. Coping with infertility is like losing a person dear to you. Therefore, it often helps to learn more about the process and understand how the five stages of grief work.
3. Communication is key
Infertility can hurt relationships, which is why open and honest communication is important. Try to set aside some time with your partner or friends, where you can be honest and talk to them about your feelings and how the process may affect you.
4. Getting support
It is not only important for you to focus on maintaining good communication with your partner, but you also need to seek support from friends, family, or a professional. Infertility can be a lonely and isolating experience, making it important for you to share your emotions. You can also try support groups, which can provide a safe and supportive environment where you can connect with others who are facing similar struggles.
We can recommend our Facebook group "Family Dreams" where couples that previously struggled with infertility shares how they had their dream come true.
5. Fertility treatment
An option for couples experiencing infertility is fertility treatments like ICI, IUI, IVF, and ICSI which can be used to help couples conceive. The most used fertility treatments for heterosexual couples experiencing infertility are IVF treatment and ICSI treatment, because the egg is either fertilized in a glass or directly by a small needle, thus increasing the chances of conception. We recommend you talk to a doctor before deciding which type of fertility treatment to use.
6. Exploring alternative options to fulfil your dream
For couples struggling with infertility, alternative paths to parenthood such as fertility treatment with donor sperm, donor eggs, adoption or surrogacy can provide a sense of hope and a new beginning. It is important to understand the emotional, legal, and financial implications of these options and seek support from experts and support groups.
If you have any questions regarding the use of donor sperm or eggs, then contact our Customer Care Consultants, they are more than happy to answer every question you might have.
7. Preserving your health and well-being
One aspect of coping with infertility you can control is your physical well-being. Simple strategies for maintaining physical and emotional well-being include eating a healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and taking breaks from treatment when needed. If you are about to enter fertility treatment, you can increase your chances of getting pregnant by having a regular BMI.
8. Remember that you are a team
It is important to remember that you are a team and infertility is a shared experience that can affect both men and women equally. In approximately 1/3 of couples struggling with infertility, the cause is a combination of factors in both partners and unknown reasons. For the remaining 2/3 of couples undergoing fertility treatments, the source of infertility is typically traced back to one partner or the other.
Infertility can evoke feelings of guilt and sometimes lead couples to place blame on each other. However, it is important to recognize that infertility is not anyone's fault. Engaging in a blame game or being critical towards your partner will only add to your frustration and distress. Instead, focus on maintaining a united front and offer each other support. This way, you can effectively navigate this new challenge and maintain open lines of communication.
9. Focus on your relationship
Infertility often impacts the intimacy between you and your partner. To preserve your relationship, you must address these challenges and seek support from a therapist or counsellor if needed. It is important to try and retain a normal relationship since it can be hard to rebuild anything that may be lost during a tough journey with fertility treatments.
10. Calm or distract your mind
Mindfulness and meditation can provide a sense of calm and serenity during the infertility journey. These practices can help reduce stress, manage emotions, and improve physical and emotional well-being. Incorporating mindfulness into your daily life can be as simple as taking a few minutes each day to practice deep breathing or mindful meditation.
You can also try to distract your mind with physical activity or doing something which takes your mind off any struggles with infertility. A diary is also an option, which may help you to empty your mind, thus relieving you of the stress that follows negative thoughts and concerns.