How does infertility affect a marriage? It’s a major crisis for a couple. And one that can persist for years and years.
Infertility is the loss of a dream, loss of the future. It creates financial stress. I don’t need to tell you that infertility treatment is expensive. Finances can limit choices. The stress can contribute to lack of connection between partners. Sex can become a chore rather than source of enjoyment and connection. They may experience frustration or resentment especially when the partner is not feeling similar or wanting to make the same decisions regarding the infertility. Sometimes there is worry that the partner will divorce/leave them (especially if one partner is the medical source of the infertility) or a sense that the spouse should divorce and have children with someone else.
The challenge is that both partners are experiencing the crisis, making it very hard to support each other. During a personal problem, usually your spouse is a good person to lean on because they aren’t as intimately effected by your problem at work or with your mother. Since you are both struggling with infertility, but not necessarily feeling the same, it is often important to seek outside support from friends, family, counselor, or support group.
Sharon Martin, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist practicing in San Jose, CA. She specializes in helping individuals and couples find peace through their journey with infertility and grief.