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Dad's Honest Advice On How To Cope With Fertility Issues

When starting a family doesn't happen automatically, there's more to getting through it than the physical treatment options. 'Scantily Dad' James Doherty gives us his first-hand advice on how to cope with an infertile diagnosis, and tips for getting through IVF treatment as a couple:

My wife and I went through some very dark times after I was diagnosed as infertile. We had been together for 8 years before we finally decided to get married. Our honeymoon period was far from sweet. Our first 2 years of marriage consisted of three rounds of IVF treatment.

It is a miracle that we are still together as the stress that accompanied infertility pushed us to our limits. As hard as it was, it was during the hardest times that we learned the most about the strength of our love. 

Read Next: What You Need To Know About Fertility Issues

Accepting Your Infertility

Accepting your situation without playing the blame game is the first step in protecting your marriage from infertility. My wife and I fought a lot after we found out that I was infertile. It's painful to find out that we could not have a family naturally and it caused us to fight a lot.

My way of coping was to accept that I would never have a family. If you accept the worst possible outcome then things cannot get any worse. I did not give up hope but planning my life and how I would live without a family made things easier for me.

Humans are remarkably resilient creatures and time eventually heals all wounds. Here is an interesting article from Psychology Today about conquering your worst case scenario. Learning to accept the worst was a valuable life lesson that has helped me deal with other stressful situations that life has thrown at me.

Read Next: How To Cope When You're Not Able To Concieve

Communication

Communication is a vital part of any relationship. Being a man, communication is not one of my strong points. I can hold my hand up and say that I communicated terribly during our infertility treatment. This caused countless rows and numerous nights spent sleeping on the sofa.

I did not learn to really improve my communication with wife and with own internal self-dialogue until recently. For anyone that struggles with communication in their relationship then I highly recommend the book Nonviolent Communication.

This book will not just help you through infertility but it will empower you to have better relationships and communicate better. It will teach you how to observe without passing judgement, express your real feelings, communicate your needs and how to request what you really want.

Read Next: 5 Tips For Saving Your Relationship From Infertility

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Devotion

To get through infertility treatment you need to be completely devoted to your partner and to your goal of having a family. Being devoted to your lover and your family goals will give you focus. Knowing that you are committed to each other and your future family will help you to strengthen your relationship.

You have to do everything in your power to look after your partner and make sure that their needs are being met. Make your partner your priority and it will make infertility easier. This a two-way street and you will both have to compromise to overcome the pressure that comes with infertility.

Being devoted to having a family means that you will need to make a lot of changes to your life. You may have to work less, exercise more, change your diet and stop drinking. These are just some examples of the difficult changes that you will have to overcome to have a family.
If you are 100% devoted to your partner and doing everything in your power to have a family then you can do no more. There is no guarantee that you will have a family but at least you gave it your all.

Read Next: How To Take Control Of Your Infertility

Perseverance

We nearly gave up on IVF treatment after the second failed attempt. The stress, fights and pressure almost became too much to handle. After the second IVF treatment, we were left feeling defeated. Sticking together and persevering brought us much closer together.

Thankfully, we did not give up. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves we went on holidays and took time away from fertility. After a couple of weeks, we decided that we would give IVF one last try. For our final try, we put everything into it. We changed clinics, changed our diet, lost weight, tried acupuncture, started meditating and took supplements.

All of these changes took grit and perseverance. If we did not work so hard we would not have the family that we have today. If you are going through IVF then don't give up. If you are lucky your hard work will pay off.

Read Next: 6 Reasons Why Infertile Fathers Make The Best Dads

Final Thoughts

Protecting your relationship is important and you need to talk about every eventuality: What will happen if you cannot have a family? Modern fertility treatments are improving every day but they might not work for you. You may need to consider alternative routes to having a family. Talk to your fertility specialist to see if sperm donation, egg donation or adoption are right for you. 

If you have any questions about infertility or IVF then feel free to reach out james.doherty@scantilydad.com


About the Author

James was born and bred in Dublin, but now lives in Berlin with his wife Olivia. His blog www.scantilydad.com explores the journey from infertility to parenthood, while entertaining parents with funny stories and useful tips learnt along the way.

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