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Infertility Takes a Huge Toll

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New study sheds light on what couples go through during IVF.
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Ronda Kaysen: Couples who struggle to get pregnant find their friendships with others strained, their self-esteem battered, and their relationships under stress, according to a recent survey.

More than 70 percent of women reported in a survey funded by Schering-Plough and Merck & Co. that infertility made them feel flawed, while half of men said they felt inadequate. More than half of couples said they hid their feelings from their partners, and 60 percent of couples said they got tired of hearing friends and family ask them how things were going.

"Couples undergoing fertility treatment clearly experience a rollercoaster of emotions," Alice D. Domar, Ph.D., executive director of the Domar Center for Mind/Body Health, said in a statement. "The desire to start a family is a strong one, and failing to achieve that can impact everything from the marital relationship to interactions with future grandparents and friends who become pregnant."

Infertility catches most people by surprise. However, it affects a large swath of the population -- about one in eight couples.

Couples report that they argue more and experience more tension in their relationship, and that trying to get pregnant has taken its toll on their sex life, making what was once a fun activity into an anxious process. However, the majority of couples say that despite the strife, their relationship is closer than it was before they experienced infertility. For example, 84 percent of women say their husbands make doctors appointments for them or accompany them to the visits, and 86 percent say their husbands help them with fertility drug injections.

It's the relationships with everyone else that seem to be the biggest problem. Many couples complained about unsolicited advice from friends and family about how to get pregnant. The biggest bit of unwanted advice from friends: stop worrying about it.

"Couples undergoing fertility treatment often turn inward and stop confiding in family and friends because of the pain involved in talking about their struggle to conceive," Barbara Collura, executive director of RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association, said. "It's important for couples to know that extensive resources exist to support them throughout the process."

The best thing friends and family members can do for a couple trying to conceive? Be quiet and listen.

Ronda Kaysen: Couples who struggle to get pregnant find their friendships with others strained, their self-esteem battered, and their relationships under stress, according to a recent survey.


next: MY Version of Going Green
35 comments so far | Post a comment now
Pamala January 25, 2010, 7:44 AM

Sadly I’ve read tons of stories of fertility couples that isolate themselves after finding out a friend is pregnant. Although I understand why they would do it, I feel sad for the friends, who have done nothing wrong to warrant being abandoned by friend. My advice to abandoned friends is to wait because they’ll probably come around. And if they don’t, well I guess they weren’t great friends then anyhow. I have a friend who’s going through losing her friend because she got pregnant and the other can’t and I can’t tell you how hurt she is, and I’m not sure she’d be able to forgive that easily if this friend was to come around.

I do agree you can’t give advice, I don’t give advice unless asked. Because I know the struggles people go through and all the advice (the stop worrying, just relax) crap doesn’t help at all.

I just wish too that infertile couples would look at what some of their actions do as well to others.

Tony January 26, 2010, 7:16 AM

Couples shoulld be so great full that the wife can’t get pregnant. Women are program from the time they were little girls to be a mommy. Plus nature has program them also to be a mommy. Women lack common sence so they have babies.
There is nothing great about a baby. They waist your money, time, tie you down.
It goes like this when are you getting married? Then after honey moon when are you having a baby. As soon as the baby is drop then the girls say when are you having your next one.?
Get with it women and learn to use that thing for you and your mans fun and pleasure.. Only reason a guy goes along with havinga baby is because he enjoys that P*** and hes a caward to take control of his wife and teach her what her **** is really for…
Have a nice day ladies…

Just a girl January 26, 2010, 11:16 PM

Tony,

Go to school so you can learn proper grammar & how to spell. When you can do these things, then come back and talk to us. Then, and ONLY then, will you have any chance of receiving even a shred of respect.

You are an insensitive, selfish bastard. Despite this, I pray you never experience infertility. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone; not even idiots like you.

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By any chance is your real name Tom?

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