Wellness Wednesday: How Couples Can Support One Another Through the Infertility Experience: Part One

This is part one of two blog posts that detail how couples can support each other during infertility. Part two will be posted on September 24, 2014.

How Couples Can Support One Another Through the Infertility Experience

By: Holly Yager, M.Ed., RCC, CCC
Well Woman Counselling, Vancouver, B.C.

Infertility has been described by many couples as one of the most stressful times in their lives. In fact, infertility has been reported to be just as distressing as a diagnosis of a terminal illness or the loss of a loved one. It is an experience that can affect nearly all aspects of life health, emotional well-being, career plans, finances, and relationships.

Many couples notice that infertility changes their relationship but these changes do not have to be for the worse! You can get through infertility with a stronger, more solid relationship by knowing how to support one another through the most common infertility experiences.


Remember that you are a team on this fertility journey. But even the most cohesive of teams have to deal with differences among its members. It is natural for each of you to have different needs, wants, opinions and concerns. And no ones needs are more right or important than anothers. One partner may want to speed ahead with treatments while the other believes there is no need to rush. And one partner may feel the need to tell the whole world about the details of fertility treatments, while the other wants absolutely no one to know.

It is important to make a game plan on how to negotiate these differences as early in the infertility journey as possible. Imagine different scenarios and how each of you might react: How do you want to handle questions from others? How should you deal with family gatherings or baby shower invites? How many and what types of treatment cycles are you willing to try? Will you both go to the medical appointments together? Will you both follow a fertility diet? Write down your game plan and remember to review it regularly and change it as you go along. And remember that couples who consider themselves a team often report feeling more supported.

Broaden the Focus

Although it is important to talk together about a fertility game plan, it is equally important to discuss other things too. Infertility has a way of permeating nearly every aspect of daily life. If you notice that most of your conversations and self-talk are about medications, follicles, doctors appointment, and blood tests, then it may be time to change the subject!

Try having a fertility-free night at least once a week. Or try a fertility-free zone for a portion of each day. During these times, make a rule to talk about anything and everything but infertility. What kinds of things did you talk about before infertility? Think about including current events, music, or the latest book you want to read.

This is also a great time to try out new activities and interests as a couple and on your own. New activities keep the mind focused away from fertility issues. Doing new things together helps you to build positive memories for the future. And doing new things on your own gives you lots to share during those fertility-free discussions! Indulge in that Netflix marathon together or that painting class you have always been interested in. This is the time to avoid putting things on hold. Live your life.

Holly Yager, Registered Clinical Counsellor, Well Woman CounsellingHolly Yageris aRegistered Clinical Counsellorand aCanadian Certified Counsellorin Vancouver B.C. with a specialized focus onreproductive health and fertility counsellingfor women and couples. Holly has been a counsellor for over 10 years and is the owner/director ofWell Woman Counselling, which she established in 200