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Navigating infertility and your relationship

affectionate couple smiling at each other while relaxing on couch in modern design living room with large garden windows

For those having trouble conceiving, the path to pregnancy may feel like more of a challenge than a natural, exciting life passage. Whether you’re in the early stages of your family planning process discussing procedures like egg freezing, or you’re in the midst of undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF), infertility is a taxing roadblock. Between addressing any underlying conditions, discussing treatment options with your doctor and explaining the situation to your close family and friends, this struggle can be all-consuming and may lead to tension between you and the person you need the mostyour partner.

As a couple facing infertility, it can feel as if your relationship is being tested or challenged like never before. Heavy emotions, like shame, disappointment and anxiety about the future are common for those enduring this struggle. Every couple’s infertility journey is different, but when it comes to navigating these emotions without weakening your romantic bond, Northwell Health Fertility experts recommend starting with communication.

Communication is key

If you and your significant other are having trouble starting a family, your instinct might be to shut down, or to isolate one another. Maybe discussing the intricacies of this obstacle is too painful, or maybe you feel as if you have to tiptoe around the subject for your partner’s sake. While it can be tough to do, it’s pertinent to preserve an open line of communication within your relationship. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable, or to really open up to your loved one. Remaining transparent and honest about treatment options, risks, results and your emotions overall will help you emerge from this struggle with a stronger, deeper bond.

Try to keep some normalcy

As a couple facing infertility, it’s very easy to let your diagnosis devour your peace of mind. Your days may become so full of researching, hoping and planning for your desired outcome, that it becomes difficult to be present. As hard as it might be, try to sustain some normalcy in your day-to-day life.

Remember, when you’re trying to conceive, your mental wellbeing is just as important as your physical well-being. High amounts of stress can actually hinder your chances of getting pregnant. Make reservations at your favorite restaurant, see a new movie or plan a dinner party with close friends. Focusing on your regular routine and embracing welcomed distractions can be healthy for your relationship and your mental health.

Avoid placing the blame

For loving couples who are eager to start a family, infertility is a grim reality. There are a lot of causes and factors that contribute to the inability to get pregnant, such as hormonal imbalance, underlying conditions like endometriosis and abnormal sperm production. No matter the source of your personal struggle, refrain from playing the blame game. If your partner has abnormalities in their reproductive function, try not to harbor negative feelings and go out of your way to ensure that they know you’re in this together. Placing this kind of blame on your partner can be destructive to your intimacy and your relationship as a whole.

Additionally, it’s important to avoid blaming yourself. Remember that this obstacle does not define your worth, or the worth of your relationship. Have patience with yourself and your partner.

Dealing with the inability to get pregnant isn’t an isolated struggle. It starts to touch and affect every aspect of your lifeyour thoughts, your confidence, your career and your relationship. However, it is possible to pull through this with a stronger, secure connection with your significant other. Protect and nurture an open line of communication, attempt to maintain portions of your normal routine and do your best to sustain a strong, united front.

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