Infertility is a challenge for couples wanting to start a family, and deciding to pursue fertility treatments or surrogacy is one way couples rise to that challenge.
So it’s smooth sailing after that, right?
Not so fast. Pursuing infertility treatments or surrogacy can cause new stressors to surface. And those stressors can radically impact a couple’s relationship health.
Here are four powerful stressors that can impact couples pursuing fertility treatments.
Couples bear the weight alone.
Relationships can be stressful, with or without wanting to start a family. But typically, couples have “release valves” for those stressors: close friends to vent to, office mates to focus their minds elsewhere, or family members to provide support.
Infertility is a unique relationship stressor, because often one couples choose not to talk about. Feelings of shame, inadequacy and embarrassment can prevent couples from sharing their fertility struggles with those around them. So they bear the weight of this stress alone. That weight can be crushing for some couples. It can compound other relationship stressors and intensify the challenge of dealing with infertility.
This is why journey support matters. Supporting couples in managing this added layer of internal stress makes a difference. And helping them find the courage and comfort to share their infertility struggle with their circles can transform how they navigate infertility.
Couples can turn on each other and themselves.
Relationships teach us a lot about ourselves. They can help us nurture and refine the parts of us we are most proud of.
The experience of infertility, though, can bring up negative emotions for couples. Shame, resentment and blame can bubble to the surface, and this causes couples to turn on each other or on themselves. Feeling responsible for infertility, resenting a disparity in bearing the weight of the process, or negatively comparing each other’s level of care and commitment are ways infertility can test a couple’s emotional well-being.
This is where journey support can help. Providing a space for couples to process these challenging emotions eases the process. And helping them communicate these feelings to themselves and each other can keep a couple together.
Couples feel the strain on their wallet.
Research has found that money is the most common cause of arguments between couples. It’s a universal stressor for relationships of all kinds.
Infertility adds a unique layer to that stressor. Fertility treatments aren’t inexpensive. Couples can spend tens of thousands of dollars pursuing treatments or surrogacy in order to start a family. This added financial burden can cause intense stress on couples.
Journey support can provide relief. Helping couples talk about money in healthy, supportive ways and giving them tools to manage their individual anxieties and fears around money can help couples focus on supporting each other.
Couples aren’t guaranteed success.
Nothing in life is a sure thing. But for couples pursuing fertility treatments or surrogacy to start a family, this uncertainty can be debilitating. These paths are a huge decision, requiring couples to invest so much of themselves and their resources in order to succeed. Couples are also placing their hopes and dreams of a family in the hands of others, which is no small exercise of trust.
Couples can struggle with the uncertainty of this process. They can find their anxieties and fears exacerbated by not knowing if a baby waits for them on the other side. And if the process fails, the weight of that failure can feel overwhelming.
Journey support can help. Helping couples process the fear of uncertainty and giving them tools to properly prepare themselves for all outcomes can ensure a couple navigates this process successfully.
JSRC Fertility supports individuals and couples on their journey to start or grow a family. We have found that often the emotional impact of undergoing fertility treatment can be overlooked. Our team brings over 20 years of personal and professional experience in understanding modern family building techniques and the specific intricacies of the process. JSRC Fertility’s services are designed specifically to support clients, donor and surrogacy agencies and clinics in attending to the emotional side of the journey. For more about what we do and why it matters, follow us on Instagram.