Couples and Connection: Tackling Infertility Together

October 11,2022 |
Couple sitting together on a couch in a new home.

Getting pregnant isn’t always easy. In fact, millions of couples throughout the US struggle to conceive each year. While there could be several factors in play, one of the most common reasons for difficulty is infertility. Infertility is considered to be the cause when couples have frequent, unprotected sex for at least one year without successful implantation. This can lead to a lot of frustration and disconnect between couples. Although you may be working with your doctor to try to overcome the physical challenges, it’s also important to maintain communication and share your feelings. Doing so can help create a more supportive environment as you navigate difficult waters. For some tips on how to tackle infertility together, consider the following information.


What to Know About Male and Female Infertility

Female infertility refers to the inability to get pregnant or carry a successful pregnancy to term. While many people assume that infertility issues in a couple stem from female-related issues, that’s not actually the case. The reality is that infertility issues tend to be equally split. One third of infertility cases are due to a female-related problem, one third are due to a male-related problem, and the remaining third is due to either a combination of male and female trouble or unknown reasons.

Cases of infertility that stem from the female partner are classified as female infertility or female factor infertility. This tends to affect about 10% of the female population and the risk for infertility increases as you age. Some of the primary causes of female factor infertility include:

  • Polyps
  • Fibroids
  • Uterine issues
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Abnormal fallopian tubes
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Substance abuse
  • Thyroid conditions
  • Pituitary tumors
  • Extreme stress
  • Low egg count
  • Chromosomal issues in the eggs


    Cases of infertility that stem from the male partner are considered male infertility or male factor infertility. This is usually in relation to sperm production and overall quality. Some of the primary causes of male factor infertility include:

  • Abnormal sperm function
  • Low sperm count
  • Chronic health problems
  • Infections
  • Inflammatory conditions
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Illness
  • Injury
  • Pituitary problems
  • Sperm-related immune problems (body makes antibodies against own sperm)
  • Blockages that prevent the delivery of sperm
  • Poor lifestyle choices
  • Substance abuse
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Hemochromatosis
  • Genetic disorders
  • Prostate surgery


As a couple, if you find that you’re not able to conceive after a year of trying without protection, schedule a visit with your doctor. It’s important that both men and women undergo fertility testing to determine the exact source of the issue. Remember, while many people tend to assume its female factor infertility, male factor infertility occurs at the same rate.


Tips for Tackling Infertility as a Couple

There tends to be a social stigma that surrounds infertility, but approximately one in eight couples have difficulty with conception each year in the US alone. Infertility is not uncommon, especially in today’s society. There’s no reason to feel ashamed if you’re having trouble getting pregnant. Instead, it’s important to try to tackle infertility together. To help, consider some of the following tips.

1. Try to Work Together

The most important thing to remember when trying to tackle infertility is that you and your partner are a team. No matter which person is experiencing the infertility, you should approach the issue together and never blame the other person for difficulties with conception. Doing so will only result in long-term resentment and further problems. By shaming one person in the relationship, stress levels will inevitably increase and could even make the problem worse.

2. Plan Fun

Struggling with infertility is not something that many people view as fun—it tends to have the complete opposite effect. This can create a clouded mood that makes you feel guilty or ashamed. However, it’s important to keep your mood up during this time and remain optimistic about the future. To help you achieve this, schedule fun into your calendars. Make a plan to go to the zoo, try the new restaurant you’ve been looking at, or even take a weekend away. Getting out of the monotonous routines of your everyday life can do wonders for your body and may even improve your fertility—especially if infertility is stress related. Spend time doing things that bring you joy.

3. Don’t Restrict Sex to Baby-Making

Many couples who are dealing with fertility issues tend to flip a switch in the bedroom. Every time they get intimate, they view it as a time to try to conceive. Unfortunately, approaching sex with this mentality can put a lot of strain on your sexual relationship and can diminish the intimacy that’s usually involved. It’s okay to have sex for the sake of sex. To help you compartmentalize this, consider dedicating a certain room or place in your home for “baby-making.” This way, you can continue to enjoy sex and grow closer as a couple while still working towards conception.

4. Get Outside Support

Millions of couples suffer from infertility related issues every year. If you’re comfortable with the idea, consider building a support system or joining a local support group. This can help you vocalize your feelings while better understanding your partner’s emotional needs. Since infertility can be an isolating experience, joining a support group is a good way to widen your support circle and may even lead to some new friendships.

5. Adhere to Individual Needs

Everyone handles stress differently. If you’ve been married for a while, you likely have some understanding of how your partner deals with their emotions. However, infertility can unleash a whole new layer of emotional processing. During this time, try to respect how the other is coping. It can feel like an uphill battle, especially if you prefer attention during difficult times while your partner wants space, but making the effort now will help you grow over time. Men and women may also have different feelings toward infertility, or one partner may be more upset than the other. Still, it’s important to acknowledge individual needs during this time.

6. Give Each Other a Little Space

With that being said, don’t be afraid to give each other some distance. Having alone time to process your emotions can help you remain calm and process the situation at hand. You may also have varying ideas of how to move forward with fertility treatment, so don’t be afraid to take some time to consider what you want before you make any decisions. Giving each other room to breathe is just as important as spending quality time together, so don’t think that you need to overcompensate during fertility treatment.

7. Seek Professional Counseling

Trying to handle everything on your own can get overwhelming. Anxieties may come forward and be expressed through anger or irritation. Instead of keeping these problems between you both, consider seeking professional counseling. Infertility is a difficult topic and there are medical professionals available to help you process your feelings and give you more information on the journey as a whole. This is an important action to take, especially if you begin to notice distance in your relationship. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor for recommendations.

8. Maintain Communication

Whether you seek professional help or not, always maintain a degree of communication. You should be comfortable and willing to speak to your partner about how you feel and what thoughts are going through your head. If you can do this without additional help, great. If you’re struggling to talk, see a professional.

9. Try to Stay Positive

Above all, try to stay positive. Maintaining an optimistic mindset can have some pretty amazing effects on the body and will help you continue to enjoy life outside of infertility treatments. If you notice yourself feeling any signs of depression, ask your doctor for a recommendation to see a psychologist. There’s no shame in getting a little help.

As a male, seeing your urologist regularly will help you address any fertility or reproductive-related issues and determine the proper treatment plan. Women should work with their gynecologist, as urologists don’t tend to specialize in the female reproductive system. Alternatively, couples can see a fertility specialist together. To help support your lifestyle, Byram Healthcare offers a wide range of urologic products to alleviate symptoms and take control of your life. Browse our urology care product catalog today and enjoy fast, discreet delivery directly to your doorstep.

Byram Healthcare is a member of the National Association for Continence’s Trusted Partners Program, whose mission is to provide quality continence care through education, collaboration and advocacy. We continue to build partnerships in the clinical community to ensure we focus on what’s best for the patient.