If you (or you and your partner) are having difficulties conceiving, it’s important to know that you are not alone. Fertility problems are very common. A recent study shows that 11.5% to 15.7 % of Canadian couples – nearly one in every six couples – have difficulties getting pregnant. Infertility is often defined as being unable to conceive after a year of regular, unprotected intercourse or experiencing repeated miscarriages after becoming pregnant.
Lifestyle choices, genetics, anatomical or gynecological issues, hormones, as well as other general health factors can contribute to in/fertility. While every situation is different, the most common contributing factors are a lack of ovulation and sperm deficiencies, and the likelihood of these issues increases with age. Female fertility begins to decline after age 30 and declines more rapidly after age 35. Male fertility also starts to decline at age 40.
Since family planning can be challenging, it’s important to stay informed and supported. There are many coping strategies and supportive avenues to assist you through this process.
First things first: Resist the temptation to blame yourself
It’s not your fault. People can easily get caught up in negative thinking, blaming themselves for decisions they made in the past or wishing they had had done things differently. As much as possible, focus on today and educate yourself on options that relate to your current situation.
Ask questions to your doctors, specialists (don’t hesitate to get a second opinion) and talk with other people who are experiencing the same issues. Treatments can be complicated and plans can change suddenly. Emotions are certainly part of the process, but do your best to handle medical issues with medical facts, making informed choices.
Long term planning
Make a plan, including a back-up plan, and set realistic goals. Take note of factors that work in your favour in order to determine the best course of action. Decide how much time and money you are willing to spend concerning infertility issues, including how and when to start and stop. Every person’s situation is unique, but most people feel more in control of their lives if they have a solid timeframe on the process.
Most Importantly, talk it out
Speak with your support network about what you are going through – this might include a partner, a friend, a relative, a faith leader or a counsellor. If talking with a partner, recognize that while you may be on this journey together, you may not be experiencing the same feelings at the same time. Try to pay attention to each other’s experience and approach challenges together. Finding support within your community can also help you understand that fertility problems are really quite common. Feeling disappointed is understandable and important to acknowledge.
Many people find that sharing their stories through counselling and support groups really helps and reassures them that they are not alone. Consider seeking professional support from a social worker/therapist or other mental health professional while you navigate the road ahead. In counselling you can find a safe, neutral space to discuss options, explore coping strategies, and to provide you with emotional support as you handle stressful experiences. Counsellors can also connect you with other relevant resources and referrals. Consider inviting a counsellor or therapist into your support network as you move forward in your journey.
For more information, or to request counselling services, contact The Counselling Group today. 613-722-2225 x352