About 1 in 8 women (or 12.5%) experience infertility. Infertility is a disease of the reproductive system. Being diagnosed as infertile does not mean you can’t get pregnant ever. It just means something is preventing your body from getting pregnant on its own. You may need to learn more about your cycle or get help from an infertility doctor, a reproductive endocrinologist to understand and work through the problem.
Infertility is a medical condition that can touch all aspects of your life. It may affect your relationships, perspective on life, or how you feel about yourself. Finding support is important and can benefit your process. Whether it is support from family, friends, medical caregivers, or mental health professionals, it may be helpful to have someone on your side.
When considering infertility treatment options such as sperm, egg, or embryo donation, or gestational carriers, it may be helpful to get assistance from a fertility counselor. Through seeking support, you can also learn more about infertility. If you feel depressed, anxious, or so preoccupied with your infertility that you feel it is hard to live your life productively, you may want to seek assistance from a counselor.
Counselors may be psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, psychiatric nurses, or marriage and family therapists. You can ask your physician for referrals to trained mental health professionals in your area, a list of relevant books and articles, and support resources that deal with fertility-related matters.
There are also infertility support groups that can help you through your journey. Support groups bring people together from different backgrounds, different doctors, and different treatment methods. Hearing a variety of stories could introduce new information to you. Through comparing stories, learning about care providers and fertility clinics can help you discover questions you may not have yet thought to ask your doctor. Additionally, talking to others who are also going through the same experience or have experienced infertility could be a stress reliever and help battle those negative feelings you might have.
To find out about support groups in your area, talk to your doctor or medical professional. There are also online support organizations such as The Fertility Talk, The Broken Brown Egg, Choice Moms, Resolve, and many others.
Your process in coping with infertility may be different than others, and it is essential to allow yourself to feel your emotions. Allow yourself to be grieve. If you have a partner, understand that you and your partner’s process may be different, and communicate with each other about how you feel. Whether you seek support together or individually, allowing each other to process in their own way is essential.
Consider Other Family Building Options
Learning more about alternative means of building a family, such as adoption or donor gametes, can help empower you. Exploring these options does not mean that you are actively pursuing them (undergoing a home study, etc.) but rather learning more about ways to build a family. It is crucial to allow yourself to go through your grieving process before any alternative can be fully embraced as you are on your way to having a child.
While infertility is a journey that you probably did not intend to go on, it is also a learning experience that will teach your skills for other unexpected events in your life. And, if your goal at the end is to have a child, you will. It may not be as you had thought or planned at the beginning of your journey, but nonetheless, your child will be every bit your child in the end.