GUIDELINES FOR COUPLES
1. Being Informed
- Obtaining information about infertility and the various treatment options available helps people feel that they are more in control of the situation. Becoming informed and well aware about the infertility also enables people to make decisions about tests and treatments and to confidently ask any questions they may have.
- A diagnosis of infertility will have a permanent impact on a relationship and will be experienced and expressed by each partner differently. It is therefore important for couples to feel able to communicate their feelings with each other as well as trusted friends and family. For couples, being able to better understand how both people are feeling can help with decision making around issues such as treatment options and what information they are comfortable sharing with others.
- Visiting a counselor who is experienced in infertility issues will enable people to openly discuss their feelings about being infertile. They can also voice their fears and concerns about approaches to treatment, as well as the possibility of remaining childless. Counseling may also help people to regain their sense of control which may have been diminished with their diagnosis. Counseling may be particularly beneficial to couples whose relationship has suffered as a result of infertility. For couples experiencing disruptions to their normal sex life, advice from a sex therapist may be useful.
4. Support Groups
- Many people confronted by infertility find participating in a support group helpful. An online or in-person support group can provide information on infertility and treatments as well as contact with other people with similar problems. Being able to talk to people who have been through the same ordeal reduces feelings of isolation. Support groups offer strategies for coping with particular problems associated with infertility and can also offer a sense of hope through sharing other people's success stories.
5. Accepting Infertility
- While some couples may not consider treatment, others may spend years pursuing treatment to have a child. Infertility treatment is emotionally and financially demanding. It is therefore important to come to an agreement, preferably before treatment is started, on the types of treatments, number of attempts, overall length of time and amount of money they will commit towards having a child. The advancement of medical techniques can make setting and keeping to these limits difficult. While stopping treatment is difficult, it can allow people to work towards accepting their infertility and pursuing other options such as adoption or living a child-free life.