Infertility Resources and Links

Websites:

When is it time to get help?

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends getting the assistance of a mental health care provider when:

  • You feel "stuck" and need to sort out your options.
  • You are considering third party donation (sperm, egg, or embryo donation) or surrogacy.
  • You are feeling depressed, anxious, or have mood swings.
  • You are constantly preoccupied with infertility and find it hard to enjoy life.
  • You have difficulty with concentration, memory, or decision-making.
  • You are using alcohol or drugs to cope with life stressors.
  • You experience significant changes in your appetite, weight, or sleep patterns.
  • You are experiencing marital conflict and discord.
  • You have thoughts about suicide.

Tips to Keep Your Relationship Strong while Dealing with Infertility

by Valerie Gelb, MFT

  • Work through fertility problems and treatment as a team. Remember you both want the same thing ... a baby!
  • Acknowledge each others experience without trying to change it. Be understanding of each other.
  • Engage in activities you both enjoy. Schedule a regular date night where you consciously choose not to talk about infertility. Remember that you were a couple before trying to have a baby.
  • Identify the ways in which your partner copes with the stress of infertility. Learn to accept these coping mechanisms rather then try to change them. There is not one right way to cope.
  • Communicate openly with each other but put reasonable limits on the infertility discussions. Remember many women find it therapeutic to talk — it is a way of relieving stress. Men, on the other hand, often find that talking about an issue produces stress.
  • As a couple decide what you do and don't want to share with your friends and family regarding your struggle with infertility and family building. Infertility is something you do not have control of and this can produce great amounts of stress. It can help you feel that you have some control over the process when you are able to control the information that is given out.
  • Acknowledge your feelings. Holding everything inside is not helpful. It actually takes more mental energy to hold your feelings back then to express them. Allow yourself time to feel the sadness, anger and frustration over your current situation.
  • Plan things to look forward to. Try not to put your life on hold. Infertility can take over your life if you let it. Fill your time with hobbies and interests outside of infertility.
  • Practice Relaxation. Learning how to relax and calm yourself can help when feelings get intense and during treatment. Find a book or look on-line for a relaxation script or CD.
  • Consider professional help. Many couples find that individual or couples counseling can help them cope with the emotional stress of infertility.
  • Join a support group. Infertility can be isolating and it is very helpful to get with other people going through infertility.

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