5 Unexpected Ways Infertility Can Affect Your Relationship


One of the things that people put emphasis on unthinkingly is the ability to reproduce when ready. But what about those people who do not have the luxury?

Whether you know you are infertile due to illness or surgery, or you receive the grim notification after months or years of trying to have a child, infertility has unexpected repercussions on your relationships. Here are five ways not being able to conceive will affect your relationships:

1. Emotionally draining

Infertility can be an emotional rollercoaster ride that takes couples trying to conceive through periods of extreme dismay, stress, misunderstandings, and fatigue. The high levels of stress can cause fights, especially if one party is one insensitive about the issue than the other.

Women may tend to feel as if they are not “women,” so to speak. Men will feel as if it is a failure on their part for not being able to produce strong enough sperm to make the swim. Over time, the tears and the bad news time and time again (such as miscarriages, need for treatment, and other issues) can leave the couple feeling devoid of emotion.

2. Sex

When you find out you are unable to get pregnant, your sex life can go one of two ways. The number of times you do it can decrease rapidly, especially if the infertile person becomes too depressed about the situation that they do not even want to try.

Sometimes, infertility comes as a symptom of another illness, which might attack the sex drive, making it hard to even get in the mood. If you two decide to try for treatments, then sex will have to happen much more often to make sure there is a higher chance of fertilization.

However, while there might be worse things than too much sex, this too is tiring, stressful, and can lead to burnout in the bedroom. Yet, if both parties are cool with not being able to conceive, then this could actually lead to better, more passionate sex. Hey, less money spent on contraceptives, right?

More: How to Stop Feeling Insecure in Your Relationship

3. Financial stress

One of the most shocking parts about finding out you are infertile is how much the treatments cost of IVF treatment. Because of the cost, many women are actually going abroad on “IVF holidays” that are anything but fun. In the U.S. one basic cycle can be $15,000 or more.

If you use an egg donor – another woman’s egg – the cost rockets up to $40,000. Then there are the medications you may have to take if your luteinizing hormones or prolactin is unnaturally high. Since finances are one of the things couples fight over and will break up over, it is no wonder many relationships falter at this thought.

4. Stronger love (or lack thereof)

Infertility has two forms: the one that brings out the best in people and the one that does not. There are remarkable stories, like Monica and Chandler from Friends, about how the couple loves one another so much that it does not matter if they cannot technically make a child of their own. These admirable couples decide that their love for one another is enough, and so they can go on without procreating.

On the other hand, you have the couples that have been straining all along to keep together is some shape or form. And while having a child is not the answer in most cases, nature has given you two a flat out NO.

So what happens then? The relationship worsens, and you and your partner eventually decide on divorce or separation. This negative result can also be stoked by in-laws who are placing too much emphasis on having a child.

5. Honesty and communication

What makes infertility more or less tolerable comes down to communication. Partners may lash out at one another when they figure out the other is unable to conceive. Such aggression is only going to make the situation worse, and for those who are unexpectedly infertile, it may put an unpredicted strain on the relationship.

On the other hand, with open communication and honesty about how one another feels about the situation, infertility does not have to be a completely horrific diagnosis. In fact, it can even be corrected.

As long as the two of you stay optimistic about the outcome and do not start blaming each other for things you have no control over, who knows? Your relationship may actually become more open and trusting.

More: 5 Things I Gave Up for Motherhood Without Regret

Fertility has a lot of weight placed on it, simply because reproduction is essential to the continuation of life. When you want to bring a child into this world but cannot, the resulting emotions are ones of devastation and disillusionment.

Though infertility can be worked around to make your child-rearing dreams come true, it takes time, patience, and understanding. But such understanding may only come after the effects subside.