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.