Multiple stages of infertility exist. First is the realization that you are experiencing infertility, then an evaluation and diagnosis, and the final stage, which is treatment and an outcome. Through each of these stages a couple faces many conflicting emotions. There are coping strategies that can be applied during each stage that will help to ease the pain and allow the couple to cope with their fertility problem.
1) Discovery Stage
Most couples talk with each other about when to start having their children. They may plan conception around their careers or monetary readiness. They feel that they have a measure of control over timing, that is, until infertility strikes and the illusion of control is gone. Commonly it is the female that is first to question why it is taking so long to conceive. She is more in tuned to her cycles and to their passing. Males usually do not want to admit that there may be a problem. The female is usually the one to bring up the need for medical attention.
Fear is a normal emotion at this stage as they question what the possibilities will be. Is one or both of them sterile? Will they ever be able to have a baby? Who is responsible for their infertility or is it both of them? In addition to fear a couple may also experience jealousy, anger, denial, guilt, frustration, and self-pity. They may feel anger at each other, anger at their bodies, or anger towards the unfairness of it all.
Men in particular grapple with denial. It is hard for a man to admit that he can’t be successful at what should be a natural act. Each negative test adds to the building frustration felt by the couple. They may try many fertility aids that are available like charting software or ovulation kits only to be even more frustrated at their failure.
Guilt sets in as they come to realize their baby dreams are not going to happen as easily as they imagined; they look to assign guilt. Jealousy can happen as they encounter other pregnant couples around them. Usually they’ll take for granted that they have done something wrong, which feeds their guilt. As the couple struggles with all these emotions conflict is likely to appear, causing more friction in the relationship.
Discovery Stage Coping Tips
1. Join support groups in your community or online
2. Seek medical diagnosis and treatment if you are one or both are aged 35 or older and you have been trying for 6 months or longer. If both are under age 35 and have been trying for a year or more than you should seek help.
3. Understand that your partner’s feelings may differ from yours on different aspects of the infertility process.
4. Discuss with your spouse during this process not only about what is happening but how you feel about things and what each other’s needs are.
This can be an extremely anxious time. You desire answers and need to go through examinations and tests before getting any. You might find out at the end of the evaluation what your fertility diagnosis is; some couples are told that there is no explanation for their infertility. This phase, as well as being emotional can be expensive, painful physically, and stressful. Not all infertility tests are covered by insurance, so you must weigh the cost of finding out why they are infertile, against other financial needs. This stage can be a real test of the couple’s determination to conceive and just how willing they are to invest time and money into having a baby.
Evaluation/Diagnosis Stage Tips
1. Communicate with your doctor and your partner
2. Educate yourself about infertility
3. Support each other emotionally during this stressful time
Now comes the stage at which the couple has to choose how far they are willing to go to have a baby. How much is covered by their insurance and how much do they choose to cover out of pocket? Are they willing to drain bank accounts, take out 2nd or even 3rd mortgages, or straight out loans? Which treatments they are willing to undergo? Decisions have to be made and the couple must work together as a team to in order to make them. Emotions strengthen as the journey ends in a success with a baby or a failure with the acceptance that they will remain childless. Adoption may be discussed at this stage, as the couple grapples their options.
Treatment/Resolution Stage Coping Tips
1. It is important to keep good records of all treatments as well as financial records (medical records, insurance papers etc. )
2. Seek support from those who have gone through treatments before you and can advise you
3. Support each other, and listen to the needs of each other
4. Communicate with your medical staff about how you are handling the treatments.
5. Enjoy “couple time” separate from “infertility time”.
Visit http://www.medopedia.com to learn more about infertility treatments for women .