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Five do's and dont's for men whose partner has fertility problems

6 July 2020

It can be a confusing and stressful time if you’re a man, and your partner is having problems falling pregnant. What do you say? More importantly, what don’t you say? With our top tips, you can navigate this huge minefield to help you become the perfect partner...

Talk to someone

The worst thing you can do would be to stay silent about the problem. The best thing you can do is to get help, whether it’s for both of you as a couple or just for your partner. There are lots of experts who can provide support, and give you the practical steps you’ll need for overcoming whatever the problem may be. Talking about the problem is the first step on the road to solving it.

Be extra supportive

Kind gestures go a long way in a relationship at any time, but especially during a troubled time. Whether it’s a cup of tea in the morning, or even a small gift, letting your partner know that you’re thinking about her, will be enormously significant. "Cooking something for your partner is an extremely moving gesture," says Caleb Backe, a Health and Wellness Expert for Maple Holistics. "Even just handing them a granola bar on the go can make them feel loved and cared for."

Tell her you love her

Just because you know you do and she knows you do, doesn’t mean that she doesn’t need to keep hearing it. It’s very common for whoever has the fertility problem to fear that their partner might leave them for someone who could give them a child, but they're unlikely to ever articulate that fear. Reassuring your partner about your feelings can be hugely significant at this time.

Compromise

Whatever you decide to do, make sure it’s a joint decision that you both agree on. Your partner may not want to rush straight into treatment while you do, or vice-versa, so you’re going to need to find a way to work together on that, and the many other dilemmas that will arise as a result of this.

Change the subject

Once you’ve done the talking, cooking, loving and compromising, it’s time to do something completely different. The constant focus on the issue can start to sound like a broken record, so it’s really important that you give yourselves time off. “It is vital to change the subject sometimes and do an activity or go away on a mini-break to re-energise,” according to Global Health & Pharma.

Call it ‘your problem’

Or ‘her problem’. If you’re trying to have a child together and you can’t, then it is most definitely a problem that is shared between the two of you - saying it’s not your problem will only leave your partner feeling isolated and responsible, when it’s not their fault.

Tell everyone you know

It doesn’t have to be a secret that you’re having fertility problems, but it also doesn’t need to be plastered all over social media. Like everything else regarding this situation, you need to discuss it all with your partner very carefully before talking to other people about it. “The partner who doesn’t want to share may be experiencing shame or embarrassment,” according to verywellfamily.com, so be very mindful of that.

Tell her she’s overreacting

Studies have shown that there can be huge differences between the way genders react to fertility issues. That’s why it’s really important not to fall into the trap of telling your partner that she’s overreacting if she has a strong and long-lasting emotional response to her infertility. Similarly, men can be accused of being insensitive and not caring enough if their coping method is not as emotional, highlighting the importance of communication and openness at this time.

Neglect your sex life

Fertility issues can often have detrimental effects on a couple’s sex life, whether it’s because of stress, or due to the fact that the act has taken on a different, functional meaning. “Reclaim it back from infertility, and make it about intimacy and love again,” says verywellfamily.com. At the very least, letting your partner know that you still find her attractive is a good starting point.

Underestimate it

Research has shown that infertility can cause the same levels of anxiety and depression in women, as you would expect for someone who has received a cancer diagnosis, according to careforthefamily.org.uk. Which reinforces why it’s a good idea to not only talk to each other about it, but to also seek professional help.

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