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Understanding and Coping with Infertility
Ellen Piel Cook describes the experience of infertility as a, â€œbiopsychosocial crisisâ€ She is referring to the multiple domains that are often affected, including the sense of oneself, challenges to the couple relationship, potential tension with family and friends, and impingements on career and finances.
Sense of oneself:
– Gain an increased sense of control through information and knowledge. Donâ€™t be afraid to ask questions, select a doctor who is willing to provide you with the information you seek
– Join an informational and support group such as RESOLVE (a national, non-profit organization with local chapters dedicated to the support of individuals dealing with infertility challenges)
– Recognize when you may need a break from treatment
– Become aware of thoughts and feelings as they come up and explore options for talking with trusted friends/family or seek professional counseling
Challenges to the couple:
– Attempt to spend time together doing and discussing things unrelated to infertility.
– Discuss your bottom line with regard to treatment…. What are the parameters for continuing? What are the possibilities for considering other options?
Consider exploring alternatives, such as the use of a surrogate, donor assisted reproduction, adoption or choosing to live childfree.
– Consider counseling; individually, as a couple or as a member of group. Counseling can help you identify and work through the emotional, psychological and physical challenges associated with infertility and its treatment.
Family, friends and community:
– Decide what social situations are acceptable and which may be too painful
– Be prepared to let close family and friends know when you are having difficulty attending functions
– Utilize the support of RESOLVE through networking with other couples who may be experiencing similar difficulties. Group support can be invaluable. A discussion with other couples dealing with similar issues provides an opportunity for support, exchange of information and social interaction.
– Be patient with yourself and your partner, your reactions are intense right now but will probably lessen with time
Career and Financial Impact:
– Discuss with your partner how this will impact your financial and work worlds. Explore options; understand the parameters of what is workable for you as a couple
– Again, consider how, what and with whom to discuss your situation