For many couples, the idea of having a child is integral to their vision of the future. So when infertility interferes with these plans, what can you do about it? What are your options?

First, consider some sobering science. A study of 47,515 Danish women found that those who did not conceive following fertility treatments were three times more likely to divorce than those who successfully had children. Per the researchers, “After up to 12 years of follow up, nearly 27% of the women were no longer living with the person with whom they had lived at the time of the fertility evaluation. Women who did not have a child after the evaluation had significantly higher odds ratios for ending a relationship up to 12 years after the evaluation… than women who had a child.”

How Can Couples Remain Strong?

Fertility treatments can be notoriously expensive, and research shows that fights over finances commonly harm marriages. In addition, fertility issues can threaten the vision that guides the relationship. If one partner wants children even more than she wants to preserve her marriage, what happens next, for instance? Couples are not powerless, though. These tips can help protect what’s sacred and find solutions:

  • Recognize the situation for what it is. A fertility problem is a family crisis, and it’s okay to identify the gravity of the situation. Acknowledging that this is a serious challenge will help you approach it together in a healthy way.
  • Share your feelings. Bottling your emotions can be toxic to a relationship. In fact, putting up a strong front can be more isolating, which will make you more apt to lash out.
  • Don’t play the blame game. It may be tempting to blame your infertility problems on yourself or a partner. Don’t think about the what-ifs or the should-have-beens. Focus on the present, and do it together.
  • Be on the same team. You made a pledge to help one another through better or worse. You don’t have to feel the same things at the same time, but you do need to pay attention to what your spouse must be going through.
  • Explore your options. These might include adoption, surrogacy or growing old together just the two of you. Reformulate your vision, and get excited about the future.

Infertility can take a toll on a marriage, but it doesn’t have to mark the end of the relationship. Contact a compassionate Minnesota family law attorney to get insight into your next steps.

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Photo of Cynthia J. Brown Cynthia J. Brown

“Some lawyers play a lot of games. That’s not my approach. There is a lot of gray area in the law, but I try to keep things relatively straightforward for my clients. That way, we can all focus on what’s really important: getting…

“Some lawyers play a lot of games. That’s not my approach. There is a lot of gray area in the law, but I try to keep things relatively straightforward for my clients. That way, we can all focus on what’s really important: getting matters settled fairly and cost-effectively. We’re certainly ready to litigate, but favor empowering clients to control the outcome of their case.”

Cynthia is a founding partner with the Brown Law Offices, P.A. She is a graduate of the University of South Dakota and William Mitchell College of Law. She publishes extensively on divorce and family law issues.

Cynthia Brown was admitted to practice in 1998. After graduating from law school, Cynthia served as the law clerk to the Honorable Timothy R. Bloomquist, retired Chief Judge of Minnesota’s Tenth Judicial District. Upon completing her clerkship, Cynthia practiced family law with a well-known firm in Cambridge, Minnesota. She founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A., in 2003.

Early in her career, Cynthia served as a prosecutor and public defender. In the last decade, however, Cynthia’s practice has focused primarily on family law. She has handled a wide variety of matters throughout the Twin Cities, and greater Minnesota, including divorce, custody, child support, alimony, paternity, step-parent adoption, harassment and grandparent rights.

Cynthia publishes extensively on divorce and family law issues. She is a contributing author to the Family Law Forum, the quarterly publication of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association. Cynthia also writes a bi-monthly family law column for the Minnesota Lawyer newspaper, and monthly articles for Divorce Magazine.

Cynthia obtained her Bachelor’s Degree, magna cum laude, from the University of South Dakota, Vermillion, and her Juris Doctorate from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul.

Cynthia founded the Amigos de Guatemala Foundation in 2007. She is a former Board Member and President of the Foundation, which provided educational, health and financial resources to underprivileged Guatemalan citizens. Her interest in serving the impoverished began with a medical mission trip to Honduras in 1994.

When she is not practicing law, Cynthia enjoys scrap-booking, soap-making, beading and spending time with family. She and her husband, Jason, also an attorney, have two children.