Coping With Infertility


Approximately one in eight couples faces some type of infertility issue. It is easy to feel alone with this issue, especially when you are in your 20s or 30s and have been watching lots of friends and family members having babies. However, it is a fairly common problem that affects couples every year and should not be taken lightly. There is no single coping strategy that will work for everyone, but there are a number of things that couples can do to gain support and alleviate grief.

  • Be open with your spouse. I know that this is easier said than done. Infertility is understandably painful and can be difficult to discuss. Infertility itself can cause stress on your marriage. You don't need to add more stress to your life with relationship problems.
  • Decide what you and your spouse want to say to friends and family. If you've been married for any length of time, it's likely that you get questions about whether or not you want to/are planning to have children. This is really no one's business and you can choose to say nothing. However, you may be able to avoid some judgment and unnecessary questions by putting some information about your struggles out there. This doesn't mean that you need to describe your specific issues, fertility drugs, and doctor's appointments with the entire world.
  • Be honest about your emotions. If your heart can't handle seeing another ultrasound or slew of new baby photos on Facebook or attending a baby shower, don't be afraid to say so. Good friends will understand. Send a card or gift in the mail instead.
  • Open up with friends and family members who are in the same situation. Putting the truth out there will often solicit support from people who are going through similar issues and may not want to share everything with the entire world. They will be able to sympathize and converse on a different level than people who have not faced infertility issues.

  • Seek out constructive literature. Don't wallow in statistics and info about procedures and medications. It is important to understand the issues at hand and the options that you have, but you don't need to obsess over this information. If you're looking for more resources, seek out sources that will provide support, hope, and comfort.
  • Find in person or online support forums and groups. There are a wide range of support groups and forums out there for people facing infertility. This is not something that will appeal to everyone, but it's a good option to consider.

Midwest Infertility Support Groups

show route and directions
A markerMilwaukee General Infertility Support Group -
3920 N Murray Ave, Shorewood, WI 53211, USA
[get directions]

Meets on the second Tuesday of each month from 6:00PM to 7:30PM, Shorewood Village Center, Lower Level

B markerChicago General Infertility Support Group -
3751 N Broadway, Chicago, IL 60613, USA
[get directions]

Meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 7:00PM, Anshe Emet Synagogue

C markerIndianapolis Peer-led Support Group -
100 W 86th St, Indianapolis, IN 46260, USA
[get directions]

Meets every second Monday of each month from 6:30PM to 8:30PM, St. Luke's United Methodist Church

Coping with Infertility

  • Allow yourself a good cry sometimes. Some days are going to be really tough. Sometimes something specific related to infertility will upset you. Other days, you may have a series of bad luck or other tough issues and it puts your emotion level over the top. Don't hold your emotions in and let things build to the point that you snap easily. Letting out your feelings with a good cry can release a lot of tension and provide some relief and calming.

The Milwaukee Art Museum hosts a number of Museum After Dark events from 5:00 p.m  to midnight on Fridays.  This is an easy event to attend when you don't have children.
The Milwaukee Art Museum hosts a number of Museum After Dark events from 5:00 p.m to midnight on Fridays. This is an easy event to attend when you don't have children. | Source

Dealing with infertility

  • Enjoy the luxuries that come with a child-free marriage. There are many things that are easy to take for granted when you don't have children from grocery shopping by yourself any time you want to taking a weekend trip on a whim. Fully enjoy all of these luxuries.
  • Take a break from trying. If ovulation tests, charting, and prenatal vitamins are making you weary, take a break from them for a month or two. This may even alleviate stress, making it easier to get pregnant.
  • Count your blessings. Many people who are trying to get pregnant have a solid marriage and a relatively stable day to day life with regular income and a comfortable living space. That's great! Take the time to appreciate all of the great things that you do have in your life each day.
  • Continue to get regular exercise and eat well. Hopefully as a woman, if you've been trying to get pregnant, you have been doing both of these things. There is no reason to give up even if you're facing infertility issues. Feeling lousy due to lethargy or poor diet will not help your general outlook on life. Keep taking care of yourself.
  • Stay busy and productive. It is easy to put things on hold when you are preparing for that positive pregnancy test because you want to make time in your life for your new addition. While it's important to be emotionally and financially ready for a child, you should continue to stay productive and pursue hobbies and interests.


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Comments 37 comments

greatstuff profile image

greatstuff 4 years ago from Malaysia

I like your photo of the empty bird's nest, so symbolic! This is a useful and helpful advice for couples with fertility issues. I would like to add that for men, to wear loose underwear and pants and to sleep using loose pyjamas and no underwear. It is important for the scrotum to be 'away from the body' as sperm will survive better at temperature lower than normal body temperature.

TToombs08 profile image

TToombs08 4 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

A very helpful hub for those that have faced or are facing the difficulties of infertility. Well done, Random, as always! :) VUM!

seajon profile image

seajon 4 years ago from London

Given the world's status as of the moment, how can one like to have a child? Global warming, climate change, recession and all these complexities does the world has to offer, would you want your future child to witness? I don't have to worry about infertility.

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kelleyward 4 years ago

randomcreative, I also like the photo of the empty bird's nest. I experienced infertility with my first child and needed treatment again with my second child. It's one of the most difficult and costly things my husband and I have been through in our 15 year marriage. I remember never really noticing pregnant women until I wanted to get pregnant and then it seemed like they were everywhere. For me it was most helpful to reach out to those who also experienced infertility because I don't think people who never struggled with it can really understand what it feels like. I hated it when people said, just relax you're too stressed or you don't want to go through fertility treatment do you? You could end up with 4 babies. Statements like these were difficult for me to swallow at the time. I learned a lot through infertility and I am a stronger person for it. Voted up! Kelley

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buckwheats 4 years ago

thank you for hubbing about this! my Hubby and I have had this battle and lost 7 babies through IVF (ICSI) it is a lonely and difficult place to be. i stopped going to any and all baby showers to protect my heart. if people didn't like it tough... i voted up!! clicking on adds too!

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, greatstuff! Currently there is no research to support the widely circulated myth about wearing loose underwear to increase fertility odds.

Thanks so much, Terrye!

seajon, I'm sorry that you feel that way. These are tough times, but that doesn't mean that things won't improve in the future.

Thanks, Kelley! You know that your support on this topic means a lot to me. I agree that it's most helpful to reach out to those who have experienced it or are currently experience it. There is a completely different understanding level. Statements like that are inappropriate at best. I know that people's personal filters go out the window when it comes to most things pregnancy and baby related, but I wish that more people would think twice before making comments like that. It's great to be able to come through infertility as a stronger person.

buckwheats, you're welcome. It is such a difficult journey, but putting the truth out there and getting support from like minded individuals in similar situations really helps. I'm so sorry to hear that about you and your husband. :( I hope that your friends and family were understanding of your choice to avoid baby showers. You're right if people don't like those kind of decisions, that's too bad. You do need to protect your heart. Thanks!

vox vocis profile image

vox vocis 4 years ago

Great hub, Rose! Very encouraging, I'd say. I know a few couples who have faced this problem and I've witnessed that it's very difficult to cope with it.

leahlefler profile image

leahlefler 4 years ago from Western New York

This is a fantastic hub. It took a while for us to conceive our first son, and I hated comments along the lines of "just relax," as it placed the fault of infertility on my emotions. Of course, relaxing has absolutely nothing to do with it - there is generally a physical reason behind infertility and it is extremely painful to experience.

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

vox vocis, thanks! I hope that this will be encouraging to those who are experiencing infertility. No matter what the specific issues are at hand, it is generally a very difficult experience.

Thanks, Leah! "Just relax" comments are awful. You're right that there is almost always a physical reason behind infertility. If it were as easy as just taking a vacation or finding ways to de-stress during day to day routines, most people wouldn't have long term infertility issues.

Janine Huldie profile image

Janine Huldie 4 years ago from New York, New York

Such a comprehensive article on infertility and must say I commend you for compiling all of this and hope that someone who is have fertility issues will read this and that it helps them out. I, for one, have a bit of trouble conceiving our first, but was very lucky to finally have not only conceive her, but also our second child as well. So from trying with our first and can relate here, but again not only did I finally get pregnant and give birth to a healthy baby girl, but we just celebrated her 3rd birthday. Voted up and shared!

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Janine! I hope that this will be helpful to those who are having fertility issues. I'm so sorry to hear that you had trouble conceiving your first and am glad that you were able to have two kids. How exciting to be celebrating your girl's third birthday!

shalini sharan profile image

shalini sharan 4 years ago from Delhi

randomcreative i find your hub really useful, it was very brave of you to write on such a topic and give such precious advise

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Shalini! It's an important topic to me. I'm glad that I'm able to share this advice with others.

Ron Hawkster profile image

Ron Hawkster 4 years ago from United States of America

Another way to cope with the depression is to borrow your friend's 14 year old kid with an attitude for a week. If you make it past the first day you will take the infertility as a blessing.

Jokes aside, this is an excellent hub. Poignant, moving, honest, instructive, and intelligent. Thank you for the emotional sincerity it took to put the thoughts down. Voted up and shared.

eHealer profile image

eHealer 4 years ago from Las Vegas

Hello Random, excellent hub. I tried for years and decided to "accept the perks of a child free marriage." It is something you have to adjust to, change your priorities, and be thankful for what you do have. Thank you for such an honest and constructive approach to this topic.

cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

This is a well-thought-out, well-put-together hub. I think this will be a great resource for those who are "trying" and find it unsuccessful. Thanks for sharing this because I know it will be comforting for a lot of people.

Suzie ONeill profile image

Suzie ONeill 4 years ago from Lost in La La Land

I agree with the other comments about the photo of the empty nest being the perfect image for this hub. Thanks for shining a light on a difficult and often painful topic to discuss.

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Ron! This is a personal topic for me, and I'm glad that my thoughts on the issue are helpful for others.

eHealer, you're right that making that decision is a complete life transition. I'm glad that you appreciated my take on this topic.

Thanks, Cyndi! It's a tough journey and people need all of the support that they can get. I hope that this will provide some comfort to those who need it.

Thanks, Suzie! There are a number of infertility books and articles that make reference to the empty cradle or empty nest, and I think that it is fitting here, too. You're right that it is a difficult and often painful topic. Putting my thoughts out there was helpful for me and hopefully it will be for those who read it, too.

Ron Hawkster profile image

Ron Hawkster 4 years ago from United States of America

I'm not surprised that it's a personal topic. The writing shows that. One doesn't have to think hard to realize how infertility can shake the core of one's being. The strongest urge nature put in all beings was to propagate. It is a fundamental moving force. When it's subverted one way or another, through nature's own inadequacies and chance, or through bad luck, it wreaks havoc. In the people that I have seen afflicted with this, it takes a long and turbulent time to get past the devastation. They may eventually come to terms with it but the pain lingers at some residual level permanently. I see great similarities between this pain and the pain of losing a parent or other loved ones. It's actually a variation of it, and in some ways to cope with it requires some (but not all) of the same remedies as dealing with grief. One of the biggest and most moving complaints I hear from people who struggle with infertility is the loneliness that comes from "how nobody understands how this feels."

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

I didn't want to make this article about me and my personal struggles, but I think that it's impossible to write openly about this type of subject if you don't have some experience with it. You're right that it does shake your core. Many people strive to get married and have their own families, and it's devastating when that doesn't happen or takes much longer than planned.

You're also right about both the grief comparison and the time that it takes to move past these struggles. For those who are able to conceive eventually, the experiences still stay with them. The loneliness is a huge component of what makes this such a difficult journey for a lot of people. It is tough to find people in the same boat, and it can be painful to open up about it, even to like minded individuals. Meanwhile, you're often bombarded with inappropriate remarks like the ones mentioned in previous comments from people who don't get it that only make the situation worse.

Ron Hawkster profile image

Ron Hawkster 4 years ago from United States of America

What you have chronicled has the exact right balance. It's neither completely impersonal (which would have the effect of not connecting with the reader) nor is it a personal pity party which would also lose its ability to be helpful. For those who come across it, the article and comments section can prove very helpful which was obviously your goal. So, I applaud you for that.

You have listed some of the positives that come with childless unions. If I may add another one from personal observations, the childless people whom I have come across appear generally younger than parents of the same age. I'm not sure if it's just a pure coincidence as far as those people whom I have come in contact with, or if there is actually something to it, that maybe the stresses of child bearing and upbringing do take a toll and cause a more rapid aging than otherwise.

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

I'm glad that I struck a good balance here. One of my fears with discussing infertility is that it will come across as a big pity party. It's good to let some people know about your struggles, but you don't want to make that your sole topic of discussion at social events or on social media either.

It's great that so many people are adding detailed comments with further suggestions and personal stories that will be helpful to readers, too.

Child bearing and upbringing can age people. It really depends on the individuals, particularly the women. Some women have multiple babies and have no problem regaining their pre-baby figures quickly while others never really do. It certainly is a big life change for any couple so it's understandable that is can have an effect on appearance.

Julie DeNeen profile image

Julie DeNeen 4 years ago from Clinton CT

Another excellent piece of writing. Infertility is absolutely heart wrenching and women need as much support and encouragement as possible.

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks, Julie! I agree. Men need support and encouragement, too, but it seems like it's tougher on women as they get the most comments and questions from people.

aethelthryth profile image

aethelthryth 4 years ago from American Southwest

"For those who are able to conceive eventually, the experiences still stay with them."

As the mother of 3, each of which conceptions took over a year of trying very hard (and trying vitamins, progesterone, moon-phase lighting and all that), while friends in their 20s seemed to conceive instantly, you are so right.

Some days humor is not the thing to do. Some days it is, and for those days, I love the chapter in Taking Charge of Your Fertility of infertility-related humor, like describing the magnetic field which draws all very pregnant women in the vicinity into the view of women with infertility!

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buckwheats 4 years ago

I just wanted to add little note here that there are actually just as many men that have infertility issues, as in our case. It is devastating for men that suffer with this, they feel as though their manhood has been robbed.

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

aethelthryth, so sorry to hear that each of your conceptions was so long and challenging. Watching friends conceive without any troubles during that process makes it that much harder. Those experiences will always stick with you.

You're right about humor. The magnetic field analogy is great. Thanks for sharing that here!

buckwheats, you're absolutely right about the male fertility issues out there. It is every bit as devastating for males as females, and they need support and encouragement, too.

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buckwheats 4 years ago

yes, i think sometimes men are forgotten in this. :)

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

I agree.

Simone Smith profile image

Simone Smith 4 years ago from San Francisco

I hadn't realized that so many couples deal with infertility issues. I suppose it really is important for people to be able to discuss the issue with their partners and have a unified thing to say to nosy people, since the subject of children seems to come up all the time!

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

It's a more common issue than most people realize. As the subject of pregnancy and children does come up frequently, it can be helpful to have answers ready.

Tracy Lynn Conway profile image

Tracy Lynn Conway 4 years ago from Virginia, USA

This is great information on a sensitive topic. While I did not have to deal with this issue, I have often thought of how difficult it might be. I never stop considering my own children to be a blessing. I always try to be so sensitive to others knowing how words can hurt and leave lasting pain. I think your idea to offer a statement to others is empowering. The video ads a personal touch as well.

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Tracy! It's awesome that you have never stopped considering your children to be a blessing and that you strive to be sensitive to others.

cclitgirl profile image

cclitgirl 4 years ago from Western NC

Loved this hub the first time I saw it and had to come back and tell you that it's well-written and such a bright spot on someone's radar that is experiencing these frustrations. Thanks for sharing this.

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 4 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

Thanks so much, Cyndi. That means a lot to me. It's a tough road, and I'm glad that I'm able to provide support for others who are on it.

janshares profile image

janshares 2 years ago from Washington, DC

This is a very practical and helpful article, randomcreative. I like your presentation of this tender issue of infertility. The tips are on-point with down-to-earth delivery. Your points on self-care and support are most important. Voted up and useful.

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 2 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin Author

I'm so glad to hear that, janshares. Your feedback really means a lot to me. Take care!

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