Let’s Get Started

By: Danielle E. Lane, M.D.

Remembering your relationship as a part of your fertility journey is very important. After all, having a baby is supposed to be an exciting part of your life as a couple, but with fertility challenges, this can be a trying time.

In a recent study conducted by HealthyWomen, nearly 25% of women reported that infertility had a negative impact on their relationships.   The survey also found that, one-third of women felt that their infertility challenges left their relationship stronger. Most women stated that their partners were very supportive during their fertility treatment and the majority of women were still with their partner after completing treatment. In cases where a couple separated after fertility treatment, most women indicated that the reason for separation was unrelated to the fertility treatment.

There are many ways to protect your relationship if you are facing fertility challenges. First, it is critical to avoid blame. Reassure your partner that you are a team in this process. Remember why you love your partner and why you want to have a child together. Discuss your frustration and anger. By approaching your journey as a team, you are able to celebrate and cope together.

Remember to keep your relationship healthy. Focus on yourselves sometimes and not soley the thought of having a baby. Enjoy dates that do not allow conversation about fertility. Separate having sex from getting pregnant. Insemination cycles may be a relief to couples who have struggled to maintain a challenging schedule of intercourse in the name of “optimizing pregnancy”.   This also means having a conversation about how far you will go in the fertility process. It is easy to exhaust your resources – financially and emotionally. Setting/Establishing a limit that feels comfortable for both partners is important in protecting what you have. Turning to friends or fertility groups who can discuss their experience may be helpful in providing some guidelines.

Stay open to seeking outside help. Patients are often times uncomfortable sharing their fertility experience with anyone.   Many patients are offended at the idea of talking with a therapist or fertility group. They work hard to keep information from their friends, families and work colleagues. Certainly this is one approach, but in reality, it is very difficult to maintain this charade. Missed work, family gatherings and social events can become difficult to explain. Privacy is indeed important and it is good to understand your needs as a couple, however, it is often a tremendous advantage to benefit from the experience of others.

In the end, no matter what choices you make, it is important not to lose the wonderful partner that you entered this journey with!

Danielle E Lane, MD, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist. Dr. Lane attended McGill University before completing her medical training at the University of Pittsburgh school of medicine, her residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital and her fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco. She opened the Center for Reproductive Health at Kaiser Permanente in Napa-Sola-no in 2005. In 2009 she founded Lane Fertility Institute. The Institute has grown to a four physician, multi location practice with a state of the art embryology laboratory. She is committed to providing education for women about preservation of their fertility and developing lower cost models to improve access to care.