Six Tips to Help a Marriage Survive Infertility

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  1. Be a team. Approach fertility as something that you’re facing together, as a couple. This means never placing any blame on the other partner – and never becoming so involved in your self-blame that you start to view infertility as your own struggle.
  2. Try to keep some spontaneous intimacy. “Planned sex” can place a strain on your relationship, as ovulation calculations and techniques for maximizing your chances of conception take the place of romance. Although some changes in your intimacy are unavoidable, both partners should still make an effort to be intimate even when conception is not the goal.
  3. Manage your stress. Stress management techniques can help you stay emotionally healthy. Even if you’ve had effective coping skills in the past, you may need to alter those patterns as new stressors occur in your life. In addition, be prepared to recognize the need for professional help if you find you can’t manage your stress.
  4. Communicate honestly. Resentment and anxiety can shut down the lines of communication in a marriage. Take time for each other, and give one another the chance to be honest and vulnerable. At the same time, don’t confuse honesty with the urge to express fleeting feelings of negativity.
  5. Become educated. Understanding the mechanisms behind infertility can help you as you approach treatment and process what is happening with your body. Similarly, educating yourself about emotional health and relationship health can give you the tools to cope no matter what the outcome is.
  6. Set goals and limits. Every couple has limits to how long they’ll try and what treatments they’ll attempt before turning to other alternatives. Communicate honestly about your limits, and set mutual goals. You may also decide to explore alternative methods of starting a family, such as adoption or gamete donation, and decide when you’ll consider such methods.
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