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3 Keys to Navigating IVF & Fertility Treatment Together

Managing the Effects of the IVF Process on Relationships

This is an updated article based on Dr. Danielle Lane’s fantastic “Let’s Get Started” series in the March 2015 Issue of Lane Fertility Magazine.

Considering your loving relationship as an integral aspect of your fertility journey is extremely important, even vital to its success. Bringing a newborn baby into this world is supposed to be a wonderful, exciting part of your life as a couple. However, with fertility challenges and the perceived strain of the IVF treatment process, this can be a trying time for both of you. The good news is that you have each other for understanding and support, and the Lane Fertility team is here for both of you throughout this invigorating, thrilling, sometimes taxing time.

While some statistics show that the stress of infertility problems can be comparable to the death of a loved one or similar life events, recent surveys also demonstrate great hope in the face of adversity. In a notable, professional study conducted by the renowned HealthyWomen (HW) organization, nearly 1/4 of women reported that infertility issues had a negative impact on their relationships with a partner. However, the very same survey also found that over 1/3 of women felt their infertility challenges caused their relationship to grow even stronger! Even more hopeful is the fact that women overwhelmingly stated that their partners were very supportive during their fertility treatment and throughout the IVF process. The vast majority of women were also found to still be with their partner after completing IVF treatment. Finally, in cases where a couple separated after fertility treatment, most women indicated that the reason for separation was completely unrelated to the fertility treatment itself.

These responses show that while IVF and fertility issues can result in a trying time for you both, these challenges are temporary and can help you become an even more empowered, loving couple by entering parenthood together through the miracle of IVF technology.

IVF Coping Strategies for Couples: Let’s get Started

There are a multitude of coping strategies to protect your relationship if you are facing fertility challenges, many ways to face the IVF process with a unified front of strength and resolve. It’s also important to remember that while you’re on this fertility journey together, men and women typically deal with infertility and IVF in very different ways. The traditional roles in our society have trained women and men to think and feel differently, despite experiencing fertility treatment as one singular unit as a relationship. As this process begins, try to reserve judgment and enter into all phases this time with an open heart and compassionate mind that seeks to understand first, then react later.

At the outset of this journey, it’s a very good idea to have a sincere conversation about how far you are willing to go in the fertility process. It is easy to exhaust your resources – financially and emotionally in this ever-important endeavor, so establishing a limit that feels comfortable for both partners is important in protecting the love of the relationship and foundation of the life you’ve built together. Turning to friends or fertility groups who can discuss their experience may be helpful in providing some guidelines in this process as well. In the end, no matter what choices you make, it is important not to lose the wonderful partner that you entered this journey with, so never lose sight of what lead you to this amazing journey in the first place.

How are you feeling about your IVF journey with your partner? Share your thoughts with us here!

Dr. Danielle Lane Danielle E Lane, MD, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Specialist

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