Reports published by the CDC suggest that over 48.5 million couples struggle with infertility globally. Out of this, 20-30% of fertility complications are influenced by male factors. Struggling with infertility can be an extremely challenging phase for a person, irrespective of their gender.
If your husband is battling infertility, chances are that the same will influence your relationship dynamics. However, these are the testing times involving one’s dedication to their partner. Due to the already lacking discussions concerning male infertility, most men find it hard to cope with a similar diagnosis.
The incidence of male infertility could be due to several factors. However, as a partner, it is crucial that you support your husband as they navigate through the diagnosis and get the treatment they need to overcome the complications.
This article will highlight some of the most effective ways you can be supportive if your husband is battling infertility.
In this Article
- 1 Does Infertility Impact One’s Relationship? How?
- 2 How to be Supportive of your Husband Who is Struggling with Infertility?
- 3 FAQs
- 4 Conclusion
Does Infertility Impact One’s Relationship? How?
Getting a formal diagnosis of infertility can be challenging for a couple. Not just emotionally, it can also impact one’s relationship dynamics, enhancing the risks of stress and conflicts.
Is it the same with every couple? No. However, is it reported in some couples? Yes.
Before we divulge some of the best ways you can be a supportive partner to your husband, let us navigate through the list of challenges one is likely going to face.
1. Incidence of Sexual Stress
Most couples start planning for a baby when they deem it suitable for their lifestyle and financial status. However, the thought of “Let’s make a baby” can feel like a burden after months of trying with no results.
Engaging in “timed” sexual intercourse is considered to be one of the most common contributors to sexual dysfunction, for both men and women.
2. Budding Disagreements
Most specialists will recommend you seek professional help after trying to conceive a baby for one year. Typically, infertility is when a couple fails to conceive a baby after engaging in unprotected sex for up to a year.
However, the need to see a doctor for fertility treatments is directly dependent on age. If you are 35 and above, the ideal window is 6 months, following which you should consult a specialist.
There are instances where both men and women try to push consulting a professional, leading to further conflicts in the relationship.
3. Fear of a Partner Leaving
Infertility might be a deal-breaker among several couples. So, when a man is diagnosed with infertility, being afraid that their partner might end up leaving them is quite literally at its peak.
The constant fear of “something missing” or “not being enough” is also quite common. Similar conflicts arise for a female partner too.
All of these can lead to the risks of infertility stress, which can inadvertently affect the dynamics of a relationship.
4. Tension, Resentment, and Misunderstandings
Infertility brings along a barrage of emotions, both in the person diagnosed with the complication and the partner witnessing it all.
There might be instances wherein such subdued or bottled emotions might lead to the possibilities of resentment and tension in the couples.
Even studies have found that men and women cope with infertility in different ways. A lack of open conversations and transparent communication can lead to conflicts and misunderstandings in the couples.
Rising differences in opinion are very common in couples struggling with infertility. This is one of the reasons why fostering open communication is crucial to handling the issues proactively.
How to be Supportive of your Husband Who is Struggling with Infertility?
Dealing with infertility can be quite challenging for men. It is often difficult for men to open up about their struggles, emotions, and onslaught of feelings after getting a formal diagnosis.
Most men might struggle in silence, feeling a barrage of emotions, including shame, guilt, and even overwhelming sadness. Some men even feel “less of a man” following their diagnosis.
Being a supportive pillar throughout such testing times testifies your credibility as a partner. Following are some of the most effective ways to support your husband through such testing times.
1. Be Patient with Your Husband
Most men take it hard to accept a diagnosis like this. They might detach themselves and avoid a conversation.
This is where, as a wife, you need to give them the time they need to recuperate from the situation. Sometimes, it is necessary to be patient with your husband instead of constantly pushing them for answers.
You need to understand that getting an infertility diagnosis can invoke a series of emotions in your partner’s mind. So, being detached and aloof or even angry is a way of expressing that built-up frustration. Let them process their emotions and give them the time they need to overcome the challenges.
2. Be Sensitive with Certain Discussions
If your husband’s infertility is related to poor sperm quality or sperm count, chances are that your doctor might suggest looking into sperm donor IVF as an alternative.
Thrusting this information in the face of your husband right after their diagnosis can come off as insensitive. This is where you need to rationalize your emotions and discuss them with caution.
Your husband is likely blaming themselves and even feeling incompetent as a partner. Suggesting sperm donor IVF procedure out of the blue can be a kick to their already beat-up ego and self-respect. Instead, discuss the options gradually.
3. Don’t be Desperate for a Baby
It is okay for you to want to get pregnant and give birth to your child. However, your husband who is struggling with infertility doesn’t need to feel the constant pressure of your wants.
Instead of pushing them to see a doctor frequently and get immediate help, sit them down and discuss how they are feeling. Your husband is likely beat up already and your desperation to have a baby might worsen their mental health further.
4. Tread with Caution
It is easier to lash out at your husband and blame them for things that are wrong in your life. However, that’s where you need to put a stop to your thoughts.
Getting an infertility diagnosis is never easy, especially for men who have a habit of bottling up their emotions. Your husband might feel frustrated with the situation and might not want to vent out to you.
So, constantly pushing your husband to talk about things can do worse than good. Sometimes, instead of being harsh on your husband, you need to put yourself in their shoes and assess the situation.
5. Keep it to Yourself
Infertility struggles in a couple are a couple’s business. If your husband has been diagnosed with infertility, chances are that they might not want to discuss this with their friends or family.
As a wife and partner, you need to respect that. Even if you feel like hashing your dirty laundry to feel heard, the same might not bode well with your husband.
Instead, focus on your relationship and your husband and what the future holds for the both of you. If needed, you might consider talking to a therapist or joining a support group to overcome the struggles.
Can a marriage survive infertility?
Infertility isn’t the devil’s doom. Indulging in open and transparent communication and being supportive of each other can help a marriage tide through the issues of infertility.
How does infertility affect the man emotionally?
Studies have found that men struggling with infertility are subjected to negative emotional responses, with reduced self-esteem.
Is infertility a reason for divorce?
Reports do suggest that infertile couples are 3x more likely to get a divorce if they fail to conceive a baby. This is why communication is key in such complicated cases.
Male infertility opens a series of complications, especially pertaining to one’s self-esteem, capabilities, and the constant fear of being abandoned by their partner. If your husband has been diagnosed with infertility, it is crucial to have open communication, and make them feel loved and wanted through such testing times. We hope this article gives you a comprehensive idea of it all.