Coping With Infertility In A Marriage
Infertility is when you have trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Fertility problems can happen in women and men and can have many causes. That’s why both people are usually tested for infertility if a couple is having trouble getting pregnant.
Infertility is when you have trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Fertility problems can happen in women and men, and has many causes. Infertility is common.
Some people have a hard time getting pregnant or staying pregnant. You’re generally diagnosed with infertility if you don’t get pregnant after 1 year or more of trying. Or if you have multiple miscarriages. There are treatments for many kinds of infertility. And many people go on to have a healthy pregnancy and a child.
Fertility isn't just a “woman’s problem” or an issue with age. Lots of things can lead to infertility, and it can affect people of all sexes and ages. When a couple has a hard time getting pregnant, either person (or both people) is equally likely to be the cause. That’s why doctors test both people for infertility if a couple is having trouble getting pregnant.
What causes infertility?
There are lots of possible causes of infertility. Seeing a doctor that specializes in infertility can help you figure out what’s causing your fertility problems. He will find the best treatments for you. Sometimes there’s no known reason for infertility. This is unexplained infertility. Unexplained infertility can be really frustrating, but there are still treatment options that you can try.
Causes of infertility in women
Some common reasons for infertility in women include:
- untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea
- not ovulating (not releasing eggs from your ovaries)
- your fallopian tubes are blocked so sperm can’t get to your egg
- poor egg quality
- the shape of your uterus makes it hard for a fertilized egg to implant
- uterine fibroids
Causes of low fertility in men
The most common causes of infertility in men include:
- untreated chlamydia or gonorrhea
- low sperm count (not having enough sperm in your semen)
- poor sperm motility (when sperm doesn’t swim well enough to reach an egg)
- sperm that aren’t formed correctly
- semen that’s too thick for sperm to easily move around in it
- no sperm in your semen
What might increase my risk of this condition?
There are certain health and lifestyle factors that can increase your chances of having fertility problems. They include:
- being older than 35 (for women)
- being very overweight or underweight
- chemotherapy or radiation
- lots of exposure to environmental toxins, like lead or pesticides
- excessive drug or alcohol use
- smoking cigarettes
- not getting recommended testing for chlamydia/gonorrhea
- a history of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- injury to the scrotum and testes
- overheated testicles (from wearing clothing that’s too tight, or swimming or bathing in hot water often and recently)
- having an undescended testicle
Coping With The Stress Of Infertility
Infertility is a medical condition that can touch every aspect of your life -- from the way you feel about yourself, to your relationship with your partner, to your overall perspective on living. It can also be particularly stressful in that it creates a great deal of uncertainty and emotional upheaval in a couple's day-to-day world. If you've been struggling with infertility, you're probably no stranger to stress. But as overwhelming as your situation may seem at times, there are ways to reduce your anxiety. Here are 12 steps to focus attention on your mind and body -- and bring a calmer perspective to your life.
1. Acknowledge your feelings.
The first step in reducing stress is to understand that what you're feeling is completely normal. Going through infertility tests and procedures month after month can be emotionally, physically, and financially draining. And feeling as if you have no control over your body.
2. Share your questions and fears.
As you deal with infertility, it helps to have people around who can help answer your questions. Be sensitive to your feelings, and understand your fears and concerns. If there's a counselor on the fertility specialist's staff, you may want to speak with him or her, or you may want to join an infertility support group in your area.
3. Communicate with your partner.
Infertility can take a toll on a marriage, often causing unspoken resentment, feelings of inadequacy, sexual pressure, and tension between couples. What's more, a man and a woman might respond differently to the crisis. With men acting more emotionally distant and women more openly distraught.
4. Try a little tenderness.
Another way to reconnect with your partner is by reestablishing intimacy in both nonsexual and sensual ways. For instance, you can make your partner a special meal or drink, buy him/her a fun present, get tickets to a concert or athletic event, or simply hug, hold hands, go for a walk, or give and receive relaxing back rubs.
5. Get informed.
One of the worst instigators of stress is uncertainty about the future. And if you've been through many months, if not years, of infertility treatments, you've no doubt lived with uncertainty for a fairly long time. To alleviate some of your questions (and uncertainty) about the future, it helps to actively do some research on your present situation and options. For instance, you can stay current on your medical condition and treatments, research all of your infertility options, and think about alternatives (such as adoption) and whether they would work for your family. Though you can't gaze into a crystal ball and see the future, you can arm yourself with knowledge -- and achieve a certain peace of mind for now.
6. Find ways to reduce stress.
The best way to calm your anxiety and lift your spirits is to rely on tried-and-true coping strategies you've used in the past. Some people, for instance, find that taking an invigorating walk or starting a new hobby helps them release tension. Others discover that reaching out to loved ones, meditating, praying, seeing a therapist, joining a support group, exercising, doing yoga, or collecting information about their problem helps them to feel better. Still others find solace in turning a negative situation into something positive or reminding themselves to "get through one day at a time."
Experts advise that you find and plan to use at least two coping methods every day. They also suggest that you don't stop on the first day that you wake up feeling "normal." Responses to infertility tend to fluctuate from day today.
In the end, there may be days when nothing seems to work. And you'll still feel drained and distraught. How do you get through these moments? Anticipate that times like these will occur, and try to accept them as best as you can. Also, take comfort in knowing that the coping skills and stress-management methods that you're learning now will hold you in good stead for years to come -- and may even prepare you for parenthood!