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Couples and Infertility

If you are in a relationship, infertility is impacting both you and your partner—regardless of whether the diagnosis is male-factor, female-factor, a combination of factors, or unexplained. You will both ride the roller coaster of emotions and you will each have your own response in your own time.

Gender Differences

When it comes to recognizing a problem, women are often six months ahead of men emotionally. It is usually she who says, “Something is wrong and we need to see a doctor.” Typically the man’s role is one of “fixer,” he tries to find a solution and make it all better. Being on a “different page” about the seriousness of the problem or not being ready at the same time to make decisions about treatment or other family building options is challenging.

Baby-making Blues

Of course, the infertility journey impacts sexual intimacy—making love becomes baby making. Or it becomes making a baby in a lab after bringing semen samples to an office. This is a far cry from how you both thought you would build your family!

Keep it in Check

So how do you cope as a couple? Maintain a sense of humor, check in on how each of you are doing and tell your partner what is helpful and what is not. These are all essential steps.

Keep the lines of communication open. Discuss privacy issues: with whom do you both feel comfortable sharing details about your infertility? Don’t protect your partner from your pain and don’t hide from his or hers. It helps to ask your partner, “What is the hardest part of all of this other than how upset I am?” You may be surprised at the answer.

Your partner can’t read your mind. Be honest, be kind, and be as clear as you can with each other. You are a team and you are in this together.

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