How to help your Marriage Survive Ivf

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a long, complicated expensive and painful process, and it has ruined many marriages. If you want your relationship to survive the rollercoaster ride of IVF there are a number of practical things that you can do:

Manage the pain

Unfortunately almost all of the physical pain involved in the IVF process must be born by the woman. She is one must endure the daily injections, daily trans-vaginal ultrasounds, and daily blood work, to say nothing of the egg retrieval and embryo implantation procedures (the egg retrieval is painful enough to require a sedative). A round of IVF takes a huge physical toll on a woman, and it’s important for her partner to provide as much support as possible, whether it’s driving her to appointments, taking over her share of the household chores or assisting her with the injections. A partner can’t shoulder any of a woman’s pain for her, but they have to make the rest of her life as easy as possible.

Accept professional help

Your IVF clinic may offer a brief meeting with a therapist included in the cost of your treatment. Don’t be ashamed to take advantage of a professional’s services – this is a chance to talk openly about the uncertainties, challenges and fears that every couple feels when embarking on the journey of IVF. In addition to providing answers to many of your questions a therapist can also help you find specific ways to deal with your particular concerns.

Recognize your different needs

Many women need to talk about what they’re going through during a round of IVF. They need companionship, a chance to vocalize their fears, and they need to hear reassurance that everything’s going to be okay. Many men on the other hand need to be alone to work through their feelings, and find concrete actions like a successful egg retrieval or a promising ultrasound more reassuring than anything their partner can say. It’s important for both partners to understand that they don’t deal with the emotional aspects of IVF in the same manner, and to be as understanding as possible with each other. It’s also important for both partners (but especially the man) to remember that IVF drugs wreak havoc on a woman’s mental state, which can lead to dramatic mood swings, and short-term weight gain, neither of which most women feel like talking about.

Strike a balance

IVF is a long road, and there are no guarantees of success. Be realistic – a successful pregnancy is far from a sure thing, and for many couples it is their faint and final hope of ever having a child. But you also need to be optimistic – there’s probably a wall of baby pictures somewhere in your IVF clinic that have been sent in by overjoyed parents. Some day soon it might be your child’s picture up there, inspiring another couple to keep on fighting to achieve their dreams. Find and strike a healthy balance between fantasy and reality – you need them both.

During a round of IVF it can feel like your relationship with your spouse is put on the backburner, and in terms of your sex life at least, it is – there will be times when intercourse isn’t allowed, and a specific period of celibacy is required before a man can provide the proper semen sample. But you are in this together, and as long as you keep that in mind you should do just fine.