Love, Sex and Infertility – Can They Coexist?

By (embryologist) and (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 05/06/2015

February 14th is the day of love per excellence, and since infertility problems can cause a lot of stress for the couple, we will give you some tips so that you can have a great Valentine's Day.

Many women feel depressed and sad while undergoing a fertility treatment. However, you should not forget you need to dedicate time and effort to your relationship, so that the future baby can grow in an ideal environment and therefore you can have a strong and stable relationship.

Provided below is an index with the 4 points we are going to expand on in this article.

Tips for the infertile couple

There are many gestures that can help a relationship grow and stabilize, such as:

  • Exercise: planned aerobic exercises lower blood pressure, reduce stress and raise self-esteem. All your body benefits from exercise.
  • Beauty: hormonal treatments make women feel bloated and retain fluids. This makes them feel ugly and undesirable. In order to avoid these feelings, we recommend you cut your hair, change your look, or buy new clothes or lingerie. These tips will help increase your confidence.
  • Time: you need to spend time alone with your partner, without TV and computers. You should be close to your beloved one to create intimacy.
  • Connection: it is important to create a good emotional connection with your partner. Talking about the treatment and your fears is important and helps understanding your expectations and your level of emotional involvement. Treatments should not become a taboo topic because they can create a wall between the couple. They also shouldn't become an obsession and the only topic of conversation among both members of the couple.
  • Sex: maintaining an active sex life is beneficial for your health. Sex causes our body to release endorphins, which are biochemical molecules secreted by the brain that play an essential role in our mood. Sexual frequency should not be linked exclusively to periods of fertility, you should have sex as often as possible.
  • Atmosphere: you should create an appropriate atmosphere for sex and leave thermometers, ovulation tests, and prescriptions to the side. You can use music and candles in order to relax and enjoy sex.

Sexual pleasure and conception

When you are trying to conceive, sexual intercourse may occur more often in order to increase the chances for pregnancy. However, for many couples it ends up being monotonous and even obsessive, and that is the moment when sex becomes an obligation rather than a pleasure. In this vein, it is important to distinguish between sex for pregnancy and sex for pleasure.

Sexual frequency should not be solely linked to fertility periods. Ideally, sexual intercourse should be maintained as often as possible. Since sex is not only aimed to reproduction, other aspects such as pleasure as well as self and partners’ satisfaction may also have an impact.

Fertility treatment drugs

Your state of mind is vital and there is evidence that people in better psychological states are more likely to conceive a child.

Generally, assisted reproductive treatments require a certain level of medication to be administered in order to increase the chances for success and hopefully achieve pregnancy.

The type of drug used for ovarian stimulation and thus develop a higher number of oocytes are hormone medications. This means the woman’s state of mind as well as your relationship may be compromised.

Hormonal drugs can cause mood changes, increase stress and, consequently, affect relationships. Self-help groups, associations related to the specific problem of fertility as well as chats and forums for people with infertility are a good way of releasing emotions. Moreover, the experiences of other couples who underwent the same treatments can be very useful.

Besides, it is not unusual that prescribed drugs cause your sexual desire to diminish. Thus, it is important that you explain it to your partner so that it can be understood. You can hug and kiss in order not to feel rejected and continue bonding.

If there are serious problems, you should visit a couples therapist in order to strengthen your relationship while the assisted reproduction treatment continues.

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 Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Cristina Mestre Ferrer
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biological Sciences, Genetics & Human Reproduction from the University of Valencia (UV). Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the UV and the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Embryologist at IVI Barcelona. More information about Cristina Mestre Ferrer
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
B.A., M.A.
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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