How to Support Your Wife Through Infertility – A Guide

How can I support my wife through infertility? How do I support my wife through IVF? Where can I learn how to support my wife through infertility and treatment? You will find all the answers to these and related questions in this article. 

Fertility journeys can be incredibly exhausting, physically, emotionally, and financially. Finding out that your wife is experiencing infertility can be one of the most disheartening periods in a marriage, especially if the news comes at a time when you finally decide to grow your family. If you are a man who recently found out that your wife is going through infertility, this article will tell you everything you need to know about how to support your wife through infertility.

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Written by

Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder and Peer Support Specialist, Sean has been running men's groups for 10+ years. Read Sean's Full Author Bio.

Understanding Infertility 

Infertility is a global issue that affects 1 in 6 people. This is a reproductive health condition that can affect both men and women. One is said to be experiencing infertility when they fail to achieve pregnancy after 12 months or more of regular unprotected sex. Infertility can be either primary or secondary.

Primary infertility is the inability to have any pregnancy, while secondary infertility is the inability to conceive after a previously successful conception. Many factors can cause infertility, including lifestyle factors.

Going through fertility tests and learning that one of you is experiencing infertility can be a difficult time. Couples are often left feeling a great sense of loss, injustice and grief. This is because this usually means their journey to start or grow a family may take longer than envisioned.

How to Support Your Wife Through Infertility 

As a man, finding out that your wife is experiencing infertility can often leave you confused and heartbroken. Most couples immediately jump into problem-solving mode to try to remedy the situation. For some couples, the pressure and stress involved when trying to get through infertility can often hijack a relationship and create a rift.

For other couples, this period usually brings them closer and makes their relationship closer. Knowing how to handle the situation after the fact can go a long way in making the journey easier for your wife and yourself.

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Take time to talk about it 

Even as a couple, how you deal with news about infertility can differ significantly. When left unchecked, it can often lead to misunderstandings and blame game since both of you may feel misunderstood, especially your wife, since the infertility impacts her directly.

Taking time to talk about the issue with your partner is essential. Since it is a continuous journey, especially if you are considering fertility treatment, you cannot limit the conversation to just one talk. You can do regular check-ins on each other’s emotions and create a safe space for expression.

As the husband, you should consider listening without necessarily wanting to solve the situation. Sometimes, all your wife needs is a listening ear. This lets her know she has someone to pour out her emotions to. If you want to help, the best way to do so is by asking her how she would like you to support her best.

Strengthening your communication through this journey will make it easier for your wife to lean on you as her primary support system, which will ultimately strengthen your relationship.

Learn more about infertility 

Spending even more time building up your knowledge of female infertility is essential. Investing time to understand the subject allows you to support your wife from a point of knowledge. It also makes it easier for you to help your spouse pick the best fertility option if or when you decide to go that route. Taking time to learn more about the subject also shows your wife that you are invested in the journey with her.

Consider counseling 

Even when it seems like communication between you and your wife is going great, seeing a professional fertility counselor is often recommended for you as a couple and as an individual. A specialized counselor in fertility matters is specially trained to guide couples through the process of dealing with infertility while acting as an external support system for the couple.

As a husband, it is highly beneficial for you to have trusted external support. This is because being the primary source of support for your wife can take a toll on your mental and emotional health. Having a healthy outlet can go a long way in making it easier for you to continue supporting your wife.

Use nonverbal communication queues

Physical touch is a vital form of communication that is often overlooked. Even after verbally assuring your wife of your unwavering support, you can reassure her using physical touch. Physical touch transcends beyond the bedroom. Randomly kissing her, hugging her, holding hands, snuggling, and giving massages are all excellent ways of communicating through physical touch.

Get back to the things you love 

Before you started trying to conceive, both of you had hobbies, dreams, and interests. It is important to encourage your wife to get back to these things. Getting back to the things that brought joy allows the two of you to focus on other positive aspects, which brings a bit of joy into your life. This also ensures you do not spend every hour or your entire day obsessing over the next steps to take in your fertility journey.

Encouraging your wife to get back to the things she loves, even as you consider fertility treatments, is an excellent way of boosting her self-esteem and morale.

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Stick by her side 

Once the news about her infertility gets out, it is normal to sometimes experience backlash and criticism from even the people closest to you, including some family members. The best thing you can do for your wife during this time is to stand by her side and defend her whenever necessary.

Be present for decision-making 

After learning that your spouse is experiencing infertility, the more challenging part of the infertility journey is having to decide on what to do next. It is easy for you to imagine that leaving the decision-making to your wife is the better thing to do since she is the one experiencing it firsthand. However, this only increases her mental load and can leave her feeling isolated, pressured and stressed.

While she may be the one physically experiencing infertility, the issue affects both of you since the journey to parenthood involves the two of you. Being active in the decision-making process is an excellent way of being supportive and taking the pressure off of her.

Some options include starting infertility treatment like IVF (in vitro fertilization), adoption or remaining child-free if it is your first time trying. The best thing you can do for your wife to make the decision process easier is to be present in decision-making.

During this process, ensure you share your thoughts, feelings, and wishes. Regardless of which option you both agree on, show unwavering support.

Learn more about how to improve the relationship with your wife in this article.

How to Best Support Your Wife Through Fertility Treatment

Fertility treatment options and reproductive medicine offer couples experiencing infertility accessibility to family building alternatives when traditional methods fail. Some practical ways of supporting your spouse through this journey include:

Keeping track of doctor’s appointments

You can ensure you stay on track of the doctor’s visits and appointments to take this load off your female partner. It is also essential to align your schedule with the appointments schedule to ensure you are present for all or most appointments. Remember that this fertility journey is about you, too.

Talk to her about the treatment 

Most IVF options for women’s health involve the use of synthetic hormones. There is a lot of pricking and probing throughout the treatment process, which can take a toll on her physical and mental health. Sometimes, the side effects affect her behavior, which may directly affect you. Being present through the process will ensure you know what to expect.

Take time to ask how the treatment is making your partner feel and what you can do to make the process easier for her. Also, take time to talk about what the doctors say after your appointments. All these are excellent ways of showing her you care.

Allow yourself to feel the emotions 

Seeing your wife going through this process day-to-day can be an emotional rollercoaster and have a toll on your mental health. It is essential to avoid bottling up your emotions during these stressful times while trying to be a supportive partner. The best way to deal with it is to allow yourself to feel the emotions. Communicate how you feel with her and lean into the emotional support she offers. Your feelings are valid, too.

Consider joining a support group 

Even with the support of a counselor and your wife, sometimes you may need an external support system where you can take the load off in a safe space. Finding a men-only support group for fertility-related issues can go a long way in giving you an extra outlet for your emotions. Being the primary caregiver to your wife as she goes through infertility can take a toll on you. Having a safe space where you can go and let it all out while learning healthy coping strategies will make it easier for you to continue offering unwavering support to your wife.

The bottom line 

Infertility can happen to anyone. Learning your significant other is experiencing infertility can take a toll on any relationship. Knowing how best to support her through this journey can go a long way in strengthening your relationship and making decision-making easier.