Infertility is a very sensitive topic and for many years it was not discussed openly like we do today. Today many bloggers and online groups feel more comfortable discussing their infertility issues, individual experiences, and offering their advice.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published Feb 9, 2018,
about 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the United States, aged 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Sharing these numbers will not help couples feel better if they are struggling with infertility issues. The reason I am giving you this statistic is to let you know that millions of women suffer from infertility and you are not alone.
Being involved in a business which produces the KNOWHEN® device, that accurately helps women identify the best days for conception, I learned a great deal about infertility and met hundreds of couples who were trying to conceive, as well as many doctors who are experts in the fertility field. It’s always painful to see couples struggling with infertility because they desperately want to have a baby and are doing everything possible to achieve that goal. Often times this struggle leads to a feeling of helplessness and failure, especially when they begin to feel like it’s an impossible goal to attain.
Infertility is a major life challenge for those involved and it generally causes distress and disruption within those people’s lives. It is often a medical problem requiring costly and long-term treatment; it’s not just about ‘relaxing’. Furthermore, infertility can create a substantial financial burden for the couple and it can have the unfortunate result of destroying their intimacy. Overall, it can cause significant emotional distress and interfere with one’s ability to function normally day to day.
I would like to share some advice with you that I’ve received from real people, based on their infertility stories. The advice below is based on individual experiences and the way you choose to cope with the stress of infertility may be different. However, I hope this will help and encourage any of you that may be struggling to conceive.
A woman’s advice who struggled with infertility for 3 years before conceiving at the age of 46. She is now the happy mother of a beautiful 3-year-old daughter.
1. Reasonable expectations
Treating infertility can often take 6 months to 2 years (or longer), so you need to have patience. There are many factors involved in the process and oftentimes each challenge is not overcome quickly. The older you are the longer it can take. Try to have reasonable expectations along with tremendous patience.
While this may be difficult for many women to hear, overcoming fertility takes a lot of time each day. If you are a working woman, you need flexibility at your job, so your schedule is flexible for doctor appointments. You will need to develop appropriate time management skills. Be prepared that the doctor’s office will become your second home (for a while). Try not to take one other time-consuming initiatives during this period (ex. Starting a new job or moving).
While it varies from person to person, infertility can cause major strain on your relationships. Be prepared. If necessary, seek counsel and even a therapist. If you need couples counseling to work through the strain, don’t be embarrassed to do so.
The clinical environment isn’t fun, you may find that your husband doesn’t want to go with you to your doctor’s appointments. Figure it out what you need and what your husband might need to get through this challenge. Communicating with others is important but keep this circle of people small. Couples should be together for this journey, so they can support each other.
A man’s advice who struggled with his infertility for several years, but eventually welcomed a new son into their family.
1. Coping with Stress
It’s a very stressful time for everyone, so listen more and speak less. It’s stressful for both sides (so don’t blame each other). Find the common goal and focus on it. Always keeping an open line of communication is a key to success.
2. Be open to the possibility of male infertility
Create a space in your life that’s a relaxed environment (whether at home, at the gym, in a spa or anywhere!) because it’s a lot of pressure and you will need a mental escape and unwind.
Because conceiving the first time is so stressful, most people will conceive naturally after having an IVF baby. Before seeking out an infertility specialist, there are things you can do on your own to help track and understand your fertility. Every month you can know your ovulation cycle, the exact day of ovulation, and the five most fertile days of your cycle (3 days before ovulation, the day of ovulation and the day after ovulation).
If a woman sees that she’s ovulating but is unable to conceive, she should then set-up an appointment with a fertility doctor to check the health of her reproductive system. If she is fertile and healthy then the man should also have his health and fertility checked by a professional.
If a woman is older than 35, it’s recommended to start fertility treatments after 6 months of open intercourse, but keep in mind that after age 27 many women may ovulate only once every 10 months. I intentionally don’t want to discuss the statistics for divorce due to infertility issues. It’s not a reason for a couple that loves each other and has made a commitment to stay together “no matter what”.
If you plan to have a baby, start with step one – check your ovulation cycle daily for at least 6 months. Irregularity in ovulation and in the test would be a sign of some other problem which can coerce infertility. Even if you are on fertility drugs, the test will show you when you are ovulating. If a woman is not ovulating she cannot become pregnant, therefore checking your ovulation cycle daily is the most crucial step in your quest to have a baby. Each woman has a unique cycle that doesn’t fit into a generalized time frame, the Test Kit will unlock the secret of your personal and unique ovulation cycles so that you can make sure you are trying to conceive at the most opportune times. However, if you’ve tried this method for 6 months with no success, please seek out an infertility specialist.