infertility awareness week

In the final week of April, RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association hosts Infertility Awareness Week to empower people to have the discussion on infertility and recognize that it is more common than many people know.  

What is infertility?

Infertility is “defined as not being able to get pregnant (conceive) after one year (or longer) of unprotected sex.” Having two or more spontaneous miscarriages is called impaired fecundity.  Although this primarily affects women with no prior births, it is still a common problem seen in young women up to 49 years old.  It does not just a problem uterus owners face, rather it can be an issue found within testical owner.

What causes infertility?

There are many reasons why partners struggle to get pregnant – disruption in either testicular or ovarian cycles (i.e. a tear/obstructions), physical trauma, hormonal disorders, STIs, stress, and even things like smoking, drug use, or alcohol.  Some reasons are obvious or can be found through medical testing while other reasons may be unknown or more complicated – such as emotional or psychological strains in your relationship.  These strains can also be the beginning of a cycle which can further prevent infertility or even miscarriages. However, many therapists suggest continuing to have sex, but why?

Infertility and Sex Life

The pressure to continue to plan out and follow through with sex can seem tedious, cause feelings of inadequacy between partners, and depression may occur (which is hard to deal with on its own).  The pleasure of having sex may be lost due to the lack of spontaneity or because it now feels like a chore.  Therapists alike recommend several tips to help combat this aspect of a couples struggle such as:

  • Focus on your relationship as a couple – yes, your goal is to eventually be parents, but remember you are a couple first
  • Talk about sex – communication is key in any relationship, and being able to discuss likes and dislikes, what is missed, and even somethings you may want to try will help keep your sex life alive
  • Engage in self-care – take a break when needed, take time to yourself, but don’t entirely stop something that also can and does help relieve stress (in other ways); know your limits and boundaries
  • Keep infertility talk out of the bedroom – your sex life should be about love, passion, and intimacy.  Continue to find it or find ways to keep it alive
  • Know that your infertility does not define you as a couple or a family
  • There is always help available
  • YOU ARE NOT ALONE

If you and your partner are struggling, you can talk with your doctor to help find the best resources or treatments available for you.

Resources

CDC – https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm#:~:text=Yes.,to%20term%20(impaired%20fecundity).

Choosing Therapy – https://www.choosingtherapy.com/infertilitys-impact-on-sex-life/

Infertility Awareness website – https://infertilityawareness.org/

Reproductive Facts – https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/sexual-dysfunction-and-infertility/#:~:text=As%20infertility%20continues%2C%20feelings%20of,intimacy%20during%20non%2Dfertile%20times.

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