How can infertility be prevented from causing problems for the couple?

By (embryologist).
Last Update: 03/14/2023

Fertility problems generate emotional shock in the couple as their life plan is altered. The couple experiences frustration, stress, anxiety and other feelings that first appear when their expectations of parenthood are dashed.

Managing all these emotions can be complicated and, sometimes, there is a lack of communication that leads to conflicts, misunderstandings... that can end up wearing out and distancing the couple.

Therefore, before this happens, it is important for the couple to seek the necessary professional help to face infertility in a much healthier way emotionally and, above all, united.

How does a diagnosis of infertility affect the couple?

The moment when the couple receives the diagnosis of infertility is a turning point in the couple's planned life together. This will generate an emotional shock to both members of the couple, since both see their common life project altered.

It is common for feelings and emotions that affect life as a couple to appear, among which are:

  • Frustration at the change in expectations regarding parenthood.
  • Anger, that feeling of: why us?
  • Blaming or even blaming the other member.
  • Irritability.
  • Uncertainty.
  • Stress and anxiety.
  • Discouragement and reluctance.
  • Feeling of emptiness.

However, the truth is that the couple receiving a diagnosis of infertility may have already experienced some destabilization beforehand.

It should not be forgotten that, before reaching the diagnosis, they have gone through the stress of several months trying to achieve a pregnancy that does not come, the difficult moment of deciding to go to an assisted reproduction clinic and the anguish when performing the fertility study and waiting for the results.

Assisted procreation, as any other medical treatment, requires that you rely on the professionalism of the doctors and staff of the clinic you choose. Obviously, each clinic is different. Get now your Fertility Report, which will select several clinics for you out of the pool of clinics that meet our strict quality criteria. Moreover, it will offer you a comparison between the fees and conditions each clinic offers in order for you to make a well informed choice.

However, each person is different, as is each couple. Therefore, the way of dealing with fertility problems can be very different for each of the members, despite the fact that the problem is a common one. Thus, although the situation is complicated for both of you, the way you react to it may be different.

This can generate feelings of incomprehension in one of the partners (generally, in the one who is more emotionally affected), which can generate the first frictions.

Partner problems in fertility treatment

If the couple, after the diagnosis of fertility problems, decides to undergo assisted reproduction treatment, they should be aware that it is a process that can sometimes be lengthy. This can involve wear and tear on many levels: emotional, physical, economic... but it can also affect the couple's relationship if the situation is not managed properly.

Among the aspects most commonly affected in couples undergoing fertility treatment are communication, sexual desire and social life.

Lack of communication

It is essential that there is good communication between the couple in any situation and, of course, before an assisted reproduction treatment. Treatment should be discussed together, how many times it is going to be tried.... These aspects may vary, but it is important to always discuss them between the two of you to feel that it is a common project.

In addition, communication is key for each partner to express how he or she feels, but also to understand how the other partner feels. This point is especially important, as everyone may experience it differently. Therefore, if there is a lack of good communication, reproaches may arise because one of the partners does not feel understood and supported by his or her partner.

However, there are often communication problems, for example, if you prefer not to talk about it to avoid saying something that might make the other person feel bad. This lack of communication generates doubt and can lead to misunderstandings due to erroneous interpretations.

Therefore, it is important for the couple to talk about the fertility treatment and express the feelings it is generating.

Loss of sexual desire

In the face of fertility problems, sexual relations may also be affected and lose spontaneity. It is possible that, after months of trying to achieve pregnancy naturally, sexual intercourse is seen as only the means to achieve the goal of having a child. In this way, sex loses the part of establishing an intimate and pleasurable moment with the partner.

Similarly, pressure can make sexual intercourse less pleasurable and can also lead to certain sexual dysfunctions such as erection problems.

Finally, assisted reproduction treatments require a certain amount of programming, which also contributes to the loss of spontaneity in sexual relations.

Nevertheless, the couple should try to continue to maintain moments of intimacy that strengthen their bond. To do so, it must avoid falling into viewing sex solely as a reproductive means.


When there are fertility problems, the couple may try to avoid meeting family or friends who are expecting a baby or who have children because they are not comfortable. Similarly, in the course of fertility treatment the couple may isolate themselves to avoid questions and explanations.

On the other hand, it is also possible that certain hobbies may be abandoned for economic reasons, in order to meet the costs of treatment. It is also common for the couple to take advantage of vacation periods to attend consultations and begin treatment.

If to all this is added the down mood and listlessness, it will result in the couple leaving aside social gatherings, but also the enjoyable activities they used to do together.

These moments are important for a couple, as they are a positive reinforcement in the relationship and increase complicity. Therefore, it is interesting to find a way to continue doing these activities and spending time together, even if it is not the most desirable thing to do due to lack of motivation.

Tips on how to keep the relationship intact

Fertility problems do not always mean problems in the couple's relationship, if the situation is managed correctly. In fact, it is possible that the couple's relationship may be strengthened if the couple sticks together to cope and the bond is reinforced.

However, it will be useful to take into account these recommendations:

  • To express what each one feels, not to lose communication.
  • Seek moments of intimacy, show affection, have small details, spend quality time together.
  • Do activities together and avoid looking for an escape route separately, which can lead to estrangement.

However, sometimes it is necessary to go to therapy to learn how to manage emotions related to infertility and during assisted reproduction treatment. These are hitherto unknown emotions, which may require help in knowing how to manage them.

The vast majority of reproductive centers have a psychology department specialized in assisted reproduction to offer their patients the necessary support required before, during and after fertility treatment.

FAQs from users

What are the causes of partner problems when there are fertility problems?

By Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

When a couple faces fertility problems, they will go through an unexpected situation that truncates their life project. This will generate a multitude of emotions such as frustration, guilt, irritability, stress, anxiety, reluctance... which can end up damaging the couple's relationship.

In addition, there is often a lack of communication because, on occasions, they avoid talking about it. Similarly, sexual relations are affected, more programmed and less frequent, as they often lose their pleasure and enjoyment and are seen only as a means of reproduction.

Finally, the couple may also become isolated from their social environment, but also stop doing enjoyable activities together, which means the loss of an important positive reinforcement in the relationship.

For all these reasons, we must try not to fall into these situations, as well as go to therapy if the couple considers it necessary, in order to learn to manage all these emotions.

Does couples therapy help with fertility problems?

By Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez B.Sc., M.Sc. (embryologist).

Yes, couples counselling can be a very useful option when a couple has fertility problems, as this situation can sometimes generate emotions and situations that can wear down the relationship.

Thus, with psychological therapy, the couple will learn to manage these emotions and certain resources so that the couple's relationship is not affected, but strengthened to face fertility problems together.

Suggested for you

If you want to know more about the psychological aspects of assisted reproduction, we recommend you to visit the following article: Psychological Aspects of Assisted Reproduction.

On the other hand, if you want to read about whether to tell your family and/or friends that you are going to undergo fertility treatment, you can access this link: Do we tell that we are undergoing fertility treatment? To whom?

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FAQs from users: 'What are the causes of partner problems when there are fertility problems?' and 'Does couples therapy help with fertility problems?'.

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 Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Graduate in Health Biology from the University of Alcalá and specialized in Clinical Genetics from the same university. Master in Assisted Reproduction by the University of Valencia in collaboration with IVI clinics. More information about Silvia Azaña Gutiérrez
License: 3435-CV

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