Infertility is a major and growing problem across the world, in particular in developed countries such as the USA and UK and emerging economies such as India.
In 2002, the US Centre for Disease Control determined that 7.3 million American women had problems either conceiving or carrying a baby full term. This can be devastating for all concerned.
What’s more, it is now known that the physiological problems of infertility are not just limited to the female reproductive system, male infertility is growing rapidly as well.
However, while infertility can be traumatic, it isn’t just the anguish of not being able to conceive that is a problem. It is also the pressures surrounding treatment that can affect relationships and psychological well-being.
So, what can couples do to increase their chances of having a baby?
Michael Tansey, a Chicago psychologist who has gone through conception problems with his partner, offers some advice.
First, couples need to accept that they may need help. Often both partners believe that they are in excellent health, so cannot understand why they have trouble conceiving. Often it creates tension within the relationship.
Dr. Tansey suggests that couples should seek medical advice early on rather than leaving it as a last resort. Delaying fertility evaluation is not always the best way forward.
Dr. Tansey also suggests that it is vital that couples try not to fall into the trap of isolationism and withdrawal from social situations. This generally happens during ongoing treatment. Withdrawing from friends and family gatherings can cause further unhappiness and damage to psychological wellbeing.
Couples who are struggling to conceive during treatment often go through arguments with one another. Marital discord is as destructive as social withdrawal.
Finally, choosing the right infertility expert is paramount for couples. Dr. Tansy doesn’t believe that all experts are equal. In other words, some experts are more interested in research rather than treatment and, in some cases, may offer the wrong advice.