Going through fertility treatment can be a frustrating time for a couple, so it’s important to put measures in place to protect your relationship. Here are some ideas…
Continuous medical interventions, and the disappointment of unsuccessful IVF attempts, can lead to a complete relationship breakdown. There are lots of ways to prevent this outcome, and speaking to a family solicitor can really help.
That said, there are more ways where that came from to protect your relationship from harm. In this post, we’re going to share our top tips on avoiding relationship breakdown when you go through IVF. Hopefully, then, you’ll have everything you need to make it through this difficult time.
How to Prevent Relationship Breakdown Whilst Going Through IVF
Preventing relationship breakdown during IVF is all about working with your partner and making sure you look after yourselves. With that in mind, here are the best ways to stay sane and stay together during this time.
1. Make a joint decision
Sometimes one partner can want to go through IVF more than the other, so it’s important to make sure you’re both on the same page before you decide to do it. To help you make the decision, try discussing the following questions with your partner:
- Can we afford it? Women under 40 only get one attempt from the NHS, with each attempt after that costing upward of £5,000. Remember, IVF fails more often than it succeeds (some estimates put it at 33 percent or one in 3).
- Can we handle the stress and stay together? IVF typically involves lots of hospital appointments, tests and procedures that many couples find hard to cope with.
If, after discussing these questions and any other issues you have, you decide to go through with it, both of you need to put your full weight behind it. Forget your reservations, don’t pay any mind to who wanted to do it more – you’ve agreed and it’s time to focus on the goal.
2. Avoid playing the blame game
With such a low success rate on the first try, you’re likely to go through more than one IVF attempt before you succeed. With each failed attempt, you might be inclined to blame your partner due to all the pressure you’re putting on each other to succeed.
Remember: it’s no-one’s fault that the IVF hasn’t worked yet. Even if one of you held off on starting the treatment or doesn’t earn enough money to pay for frequent attempts, forget it and focus on being positive about the success of the next attempt.
3. Talk to your partner about your feelings
The woman going through the treatment often feels like not being able to get pregnant makes them ‘less of a woman’. Add this to the fact that they are on a whole host of fertility drugs that can make them feel low and irritable, and the treatment itself can leave them feeling ‘wiped out’, it’s important for the other partner to be a sounding board.
The partner who’s not going through the treatment can also struggle with feelings of helplessness. They can feel like they’re sat on the side-lines, with no power over the outcome of the treatment.
So, discussing your feelings with each other is crucial if you want to make it through a long and difficult IVF process.
4. Take a break
Yes, you’re going through IVF and it’s the most important thing in the world to you right now, but sometimes not thinking about it is the best way to get through it.
Taking a break to go out for a meal or go to the movies, with specific instructions that neither of you talk about the treatment, could be exactly what you need to prevent relationship breakdown.
You could even take a trip away for a whole weekend where you can forget about the treatment. Remind yourselves of why you’re together in the first place, and come back feeling refreshed and ready for more IVF drama.
5. Stay busy
Taking a break is one way to take your mind off your problems, but staying busy can be equally effective.
Spending too much time relaxing can give your brain the excuse to worry about the IVF treatment. Instead, try taking up a hobby with your partner or learn a new skill that can vie for your time and take your mind off the IVF.
6. Accept support
There’s a very real embarrassment that some couples feel about going through IVF. They don’t want to broadcast to all their friends and family that they aren’t able to conceive naturally.
If you’re one of these couples, try to remember that 1 in 7 couples have difficulty conceiving, and the number increases the older you get. So, there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.
Letting your family and friends know what’s going on will take some of the weight off your shoulders. It’ll also take pressure off you both as you will have other people to talk to instead of having to rely on each other for all your emotional support.
For some, you might not feel comfortable telling close family and friends, or you might feel you need additional support beyond them. So, you could also seek counselling or sign up to a local fertility support group to meet people who are also going through IVF treatment. Relying on others could be exactly what you both need to help you cope.
Ready to Save Your Relationship During IVF?
In this post, we’ve managed to cover our top tips for making it through IVF treatment without suffering a complete relationship breakdown.
There are more tips out there if you need additional help but, as long as you remember to communicate to your partner throughout, there’s nothing you can’t survive. Remember, try not to make the IVF the sole focus of your life, and be sure to use all the support available to you, and your relationship should make it through.
Thanks for reading this post and good luck with your IVF treatment.