- What advice can we give to a couple who are supporting each other through the IVF journey?
It’s vital to understand what happens emotionally to women/men/couples as a consequence of a diagnosis of infertility. I explain the meaning of infertility to the couple and also try to interpret what infertility means to them as a couple – to clarify their own thinking on the issue. We tend to highlight that the couple, most likely, will have to go through the grieving process, so I tell them what to expect when this happens and explain how the different genders deal with grieving in their own way.
- How can men keep their partners in a more positive mind-set during these procedures by being “Team Us” rather than “You”?
In our clinic I see couples before treatment as part of an information session during which we concentrate on infertility as a couple-based conception process, rather than a woman coming in to have a baby. We also explain that women see a diagnosis of infertility as a narcissistic wound, meaning they tend to dwell on their inability to conceive.
To manage their expectation of the process, we encourage the couple to concentrate on the meaning of hope and the meaning of despair, differentiating between realistic hopes and unrealistic ones, and an optimal outcome. A negative outcome does not mean you’re unsuccessful; it can also be positive in the sense that we might be able to get a better diagnosis during treatment, discover more answers and undergo personal growth. The coping process we teach encourages the couple to concentrate on the now – the only aspect of the treatment plan that they can control to a degree.