Infertility is a problem where a couple is not able to get pregnant after one year of trying (or six months if a woman is 35 or older.) This also includes women who can get pregnant but are unable to stay pregnant.

About 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the Unite States ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant. And, infertility is not always a woman’s problem. About one-third of infertility cases are caused by women’s problem, and the other one-third are due to the man. The other cases are causes by a mixture of the male and female problems. The good news is today there are many (although expensive) ways to cope with infertility.

I have worked with many couples that experience stress in dealing with infertility issues. It can easily have a negative impact on a relationship. These couples experience tension and stress and can easily grow distant from each other. Here are 3 tips on how not to allow infertility issues negatively affect your relationship:

1. Communicate more: Talk openly and honestly, grieve together and operate as a team. Agree to support each other and assert your needs throughout this arduous process. You need to be very sensitive to each other’s feelings when addressing the subject.
2. Schedule Intimacy Dates: To protect your relationship from dealing with the frustration and stress of the problem, schedule date nights and just have fun. Do not talk about these heavy issues or anything difficult when you are on these dates. Take a break from putting pressure and focusing on getting pregnant and enjoy intimacy again.
3. Remind your partner how much you love them: It’s important not to lose sight of and remind your partner how you feel about them. Tell them why you chose and want him/her to be the parent of your child.

There may be issues in your relationship that have not been resolved or worked through which gets activated when dealing with this major issue. Often times when we haven’t talked through issues, they tend to get triggered by other bigger issues. Studies show that couples who keep their feelings hidden are much more likely to have problems related to the stress of infertility. It’s important to be aware of your triggers and not allow it to affect the problem you are both dealing with.

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