Coping with infertility has its challenges, but any couple who has faced infertility knows stress can often overshadow your best efforts.
Infertility is characterized as trying to become pregnant for more than one year and remaining unsuccessful.
Testing, medication, invasive procedures and rising expenses all play a significant role in the process and can make coping with infertility difficult.
More than 6.7 million women and about 4.7 million men in the United States suffer from fertility issues, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The World Health Organization says one in every four couples are affected by infertility, many of these couples become depressed or experience some level of anxiety after facing this dilemma for a year or more.
Coping with infertility
When faced with the struggles of infertility keep these five attitudes in mind to make the process easier.
Don’t play the blame game by pointing the finger at your partner or yourself.
Many couples become frustrated and begin to espouse self-deprecating attitudes to themselves or their partner. Both women and men will often begin focusing on past habits as reasons for infertility. Blaming yourself for smoking during your twenties or becoming angry at your partner for not eating healthy won’t get you pregnant any faster.
This is the last thing you want to do as a couple. Instead, this is a time to come together and support one another through what can be a long and difficult process. Encourage each other and try to cheer each other up.
Keeping a positive attitude and avoiding blame can help you to be better prepared for the next stage of the process.
Try not to stress out when faced with infertility. Easier said than done right? Especially when try after try has brought continual negative results. Don’t panic when you find out you can’t conceive. Panicking will only add to your stress levels.
The long debated question comes into play, does stress cause infertility? Research published in the journal Fertility and Sterility found stress significantly reduced the probability of conception. While there may not be conclusive research to determine that stress is the initial cause of infertility, it can contribute to continued infertility.
A study of 488 women struggling with infertility found their levels of anxiety and depression were equal to those of women facing cancer, HIV and chronic pain. In the midst of infertility, failing to conceive can feel like the ultimate disappointment and may often deepen existing depression.
Another study found other non-stress influences such as caffeine consumption, food intake and exercise duration and intensity altered a women’s production of salivary alpha-amylase, a stress biomarker, which has been linked to a women’s decreased likelihood of becoming pregnant.
Try handling stress, anxiety and depression with relaxation techniques, meditation, exercise and nutrition, or even counseling. Other studies have found coping with infertility through meditation and other techniques can help reduce anxiety.
Coping with infertility can be one of the most stressful and emotional times. An important thing for couples to remember is to work as a team. Couples will often experience many of the same emotions during infertility — sadness, depression, anger — but maybe not at the same time. When your partner becomes angry or sad, try to help them cope by remembering when you experienced the same emotions.
Pay attention to how your partner feels and what they are experiencing emotionally to try to help them cope with it.
Try to share the burden infertility may place on you two by splitting the duties involved. One of you can take control of treatment options while the other focuses on dealing with the insurance. No matter what, work together. Offer support and comfort, empathy can go a long way.
Education is key
Read, conduct research, ask around, talk to friends, doctors, friends of friends, check online and ask other couples who have gone through the same thing.
Books, magazines and websites can be great sources of information. Continue to do your research until you feel comfortable with the situation and your options.
Make sure you make health a priority while you continue to try to conceive and explore other options.
By not giving up on researching your options, you focus on solutions and hope.
Millions of couples face infertility every year. Many of those couples deal with infertility for long periods of time and are willing to try almost anything to have a baby.
Talk to your partner and decide what your limits are. How long will you continue to try, what options are you willing to consider, what medications or procedures are options or out of the question?
Other key things to think about — what happens when you know you can’t conceive naturally, will you turn to IVF, sperm or egg donors? Are surrogacy and adoption also options?
Lastly, make sure you talk about finances.
What are you comfortable with spending on various treatments and procedures to bring home a child? What are your spending limits in these areas? Many of these medications and procedures can be quite costly. Decide on a limit you both feel comfortable with and stick to it.
Without limits, the process of trying to have a baby can seem endless and exhausting. Know where you stand before you begin and always work together. Having a baby will require a strong bond and lasting cooperation, begin that practice before the baby arrives.