Author: Laura Gately
Many of us know about the toll infertility may take upon us as individuals — physically and emotionally — but often overlooked is the havoc it may wreak upon your relationship. In fact, one recent study of over 47,000 Danish women published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, found that couples who were unsuccessful in their fertility treatments were three times as likely to divorce or end relationships versus those that do.
Although sobering statistics, it’s not surprising when you consider the indelible strain years of failure, unanswered questions, physical stress, and significant financial output may place upon an otherwise healthy union. The worst case scenario may result in one partner crying uncle before the other is ready to move on. That’s exactly the fork in the road my fertility journey led me to; my husband said he “was done” and asked me to live child-free. Yikes! So, how can you navigate the already challenging infertility process without losing your relationship?
Of course there are no guarantees, but we’ve identified four strategies that may help.
1. Work Together to Set Guidelines
Whether at the beginning, middle, or deep into your fertility journey, devise some limits for what you’re willing to do as a couple. Whether it’s a number of cycles (i.e.,we’ll do 3 cycles, or we’ll do 1 more) or a total dollar budget, having some established parameters will facilitate a sense of partnership and make the process go more smoothly. This way, if you agreed on 3 cycles, and the 1st one fails, you can jointly grieve that failure, and move on united, without having to debate next steps.