How To Support Your Partner Through Infertility
When you’ve decided to start a family it’s natural to want it to happen as quickly as possible, and it can be upsetting if it’s not happening the way you’d hoped. Whether you’re trying to conceive through intercourse or through fertility treatments, infertility can be a hard time for any couple. Here we’ve provided some information on how to support your partner when trying to have a baby.
Why is supporting your partner important?
Trying to conceive through intercourse often revolves around tracking cycles, taking ovulation tests and scheduling intercourse while fertility treatments can involve injecting hormones, frequent clinical appointments and possible side effects from medications and procedures. All of which can be very stressful. You may go through stages of hope and unfortunately sometimes disappointment, which can add a strain to your relationship. Finding ways to be supportive of your partner during this time can help alleviate some of that strain you may be experiencing.
What can you do to support your partner?
Your partner may not be able to express what they’re feeling or thinking, most likely it’s a combination of anxiety and anticipation, but let them know that you’re there and ready to listen if they want to talk.
Medical treatments are often demanding for the birthing partner. Accompany your partner to appointments when you can, be present to share updates and ask questions, you might even want to be the one performing the hormone injections.
Set healthy boundaries
Some people confide in family and friends when going through fertility problems or treatment. Decide as a couple how much you want to share and set boundaries so you don’t feel pressured to share intimate details. This may include declining to attend certain social events like baby showers or family gatherings if they may be triggering to you or your partner.
Respect the differences in your coping strategies
You and your partner may manage your emotions differently when trying to get pregnant. Being optimistic, hopeful, realistic or pessimistic will not have an impact on the outcome so be sure to listen to each other and respond to each other’s needs. Some problems don’t need to be fixed, just listened to.
While you and your partner are committed to starting a family, remember to occasionally take some time to yourselves so the process doesn’t become all consuming. Go on dates or find an activity you both enjoy so you can reconnect as a couple.
Seek help through counselling
All fertility clinics are required to offer counselling before starting any treatment1. In some cases however, this does come at an additional cost. Counselling can give you an opportunity to discuss your feelings in a confidential space with a counsellor who specialises in fertility problems and treatment. You can talk to your GP about getting counselling on the NHS, or if you prefer to go privately, you can book a consultation with an accredited infertility counsellor2. While it can be difficult to begin with, counselling can provide support for you and your partner.
Explore support groups with your partner
Fertility support groups can offer a chance to talk and share experiences with others who are also trying to conceive. This can be done as a couple or individually, and both present an opportunity to discuss your emotions without feeling like you’re being a burden to your partner.
Reduce daily stress
Daily stresses may seem minor, but they can impact our moods and even more so when going through fertility problems. Consider getting help with cleaning or having groceries delivered, anything that can make life a little easier can make a big difference to you both.
Never put blame on yourself or your partner
It can be easy to let negative thoughts creep in when going through fertility problems, but blame can be detrimental to any relationship. Remember that trying to have a family is something that you’re doing together, as a couple, so support each other. Try to talk about this openly with your partner so no one feels guilty about having fertility problems or going through treatment.
Be sensitive about important dates
If you and your partner have previously had a miscarriage the due date of the baby you lost or the date of the miscarriage may be an especially sensitive time.
Learn more about how to support your partner
- Infertility can be hard on couples but you are not alone. There are many resources to turn to such as:
- Fertility Network UK Support Groups – Support groups | Fertility Network
- HFEA – Getting emotional support | HFEA
- British Infertility Counselling Assocation – British Infertility Counselling Association