When a couple has to turn to reproductive medicine, they must be aware of the need to share their feelings about it. This way, both members will understand, support, and experience the process as something normal. If this doesn’t happen, anxiety and fear of facing the unknown can weaken the partnership.
Infertility and Emotions
We cannot deny that infertility is one of the challenges of this century. Nowadays, everyone knows someone who is undergoing this process to have a baby. Historically, the moment of experiencing pregnancy has been idealized, but for some women, the path is not as straightforward as one might expect. In assisted reproductive processes, emotions are a part we cannot ignore – fear or uncertainty can affect the stability of the relationship and the surroundings.
Mutual Understanding and Respect
It’s quite possible that there are certain differences in how women and men receive the diagnosis of infertility (when talking about heterosexual couples). These differences stem from individual personalities, past experiences, and conflict solving skills. Each member needs to work on this individually, understanding, respecting, and accepting the other’s process.
In general, we could say that women tend to be more open about sharing their feelings and how the process of assisted reproduction is affecting them. On the other hand, men don’t express their feelings as much. This might be because they approach it differently or because they don’t want to worry to their partner.
Diverse Family Models Come to Life
Currently, there are various family models that turn to assisted reproduction centres. These range from single mothers choosing to embark on motherhood independently to women couples opting for the ROPA method (Reception of Oocytes from Partner). The inherent differences in each family model also reflect how they experience the process itself. We are seeing more and more single mothers in our consultations and in this situation, it is particularly important for these single women to have a support network among their family and friends. For this to happen – and if the patient chooses to involve them – family and friends should understand the process, so they can provide the support necessary during that time. Furthermore, female same-sex couples have a different perspective on the assisted reproductive process, which means that the key question is to understand each case individually and uniquely, defining customised support protocols for each patient.
Couple fertility support in a Reproductive Treatment
Below are some tips for supporting your partner while undergoing assisted reproductive treatment.
Assertive and Empathetic Communication:
To be more open to sharing your feelings and understanding your partner’s needs.
Getting Involved in the Process:
Attending clinic appointments, helping prepare or administer medication… These are just a few examples of how both members can be involved. Moreover, if the patient needs to modify their lifestyle (diet, exercise…), doing it together can make it easier to handle.
Quality Time Together:
It’s normal for emotions to interfere in the relationship, coupled with the emotional burden of the situation. To counteract this, it’s important to nurture the relationship, be thoughtful, and show support.
Understanding and Empathy:
Demonstrating our support to our partner and acknowledging the emotional implications of the treatment.
Understanding the Impact on Sex Life:
Addressing and dealing with this aspect together to find favourable solutions for both, maintaining or regaining intimacy.
Forming a Team:
Approaching the project of having a baby together means having protection against the challenges that come with the treatment.
In conclusion, the most relevant aspect is that all individuals involved in the process learn to support their partner in a way that the treatment is understood as a temporary means to achieve what is desired. Additionally, it is important for them to be aware that they have the support of IVI’s Emotional Support Unit to address these issues in consultations.