How to Talk to Your Partner About Infertility

People can tend to put off or avoid having a healthy, open and honest conversation with their partner over the shared issue of fertility – or rather, infertility – fearing that the topic is too loaded, challenging, or just plain difficult. We believe that that attitude – while understandable – is not ideal. Just a little up-front investment of time spent in getting better informed about fertility, can help with just how to conduct such a conversation.  

Not discussing it only accomplishes one thing: make the issue loom larger and larger in your conscious mind and in your subconscious mind, where it can fester and suddenly and unexpectedly become exposed in an unplanned, uninformed, loaded, and potentially destructive manner. Secrets don’t help a relationship.  Open communication can help resolve this issue.

Get Informed

Infertility is a complex phenomenon that lies on a spectrum, i.e. there are varying degrees of infertility rather than existing as completely black-or-white categories. Reasons for infertility range from age to genetic factors to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) to endometriosis. You need to have a full work-up done to develop a comprehensive understanding of what specific factors are at work in your own particular case.

Pick Your Time

Remember: you are in control. While we said that it’s important to have the talk, remember that your comfort and stress level should be an important factor in deciding when to have it. You should not feel undue pressure to discuss fertility issues, especially in the context of a new or non-exclusive relationship. Even in a serious, monogamous relationship, you should resist rushing to have the talk to “get it out of the way.” The bottom-line question is: are you ready? If you’re not, you’re not. 

Since it is an important conversation, make sure the time is right for it. Don’t do it when you’re out on a date or on an otherwise fun, relaxing or romantic occasion. This talk deserves its own special time and place, where both partners can give it their full attention.

Two-Way Conversation

Very often, the woman in this conversation, who is trying to get pregnant, can feel as though the entire discussion is “about her”, as though she’s the one with the problem and her partner is free to accept and support her or reject her and withdraw support. We believe this is counterproductive. Shift your perspective to “we” and to “teamwork” and realize that you don’t carry the whole weight of this relationship on your solitary shoulders.

Rather than frame the conversation with the heavily loaded mindset that “this is their opportunity to reject me,” instead use it as an opportunity to investigate both of your attitudes, beliefs, needs, and willingness to support each other during what could be tricky or challenging times. For instance, if your partner does not respond well to your fertility concerns, realize that you are getting potentially powerful signals regarding your partner’s ability or willingness to love and support you. In other words, you may be getting red flags from them. You need to find out how willing they might be to walk down this long and complex and sometimes challenging path.

Consider Professional Help

Again, remember that you are in control. You can decide when, how, and ultimately if you need this conversation. In other words, if after giving it due consideration you don’t feel entirely comfortable having this conversation without outside help, then don’t. Get help. 

Also, remember that if you go ahead and conduct the conversation and the results are not satisfactory to you, you still have the option to get professional help from a counselor or marriage therapist. An outside professional can take the pressure off, gain objectivity, ensure that both parties feel adequately heard, and can help move toward a balanced, fair, integrated objective in which both parties are comfortable. You can discuss all your medical options, consider each one in a fair and balanced manner, and come together regarding which one both of you are most comfortable with.

The doctors at Harmony OB/GYN are here to help you. If you have any questions or concerns about discussing infertility with your partner visit our Somerset County office today. You can call us at 908-757-9555 or click here to contact us online and we will get back to you for an appointment. We serve the Middlesex and Somerset County areas of New Jersey with our offices in Edison and Somerset.

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