The good news is getting pregnant and having a baby after fertility problems will improve your marriage (or so the research shows). The bad news is NOT getting pregnant can negatively affect your relationship – and even cause it to end prematurely (again, according to the research).
More good news is that not all couples are affected the same way – no matter what the research says! My husband and I had fertility problems, and were one of the unfortunate couples who never got pregnant and will probably never have children. Our marriage was not negatively affected by our fertility problems.
So, if you’re struggling with fertility problems and worried about how it will affect your marriage, know that nothing is written in stone. I want to share this research information about how getting pregnant after fertility problems affects marriages because it’s interesting – but it won’t be true for everyone.
Pregnancy, Fertility Problems, and Marriage
Some couples have babies after fertility problems, and get divorced. I know a woman who struggled for three years to have a baby. After three rounds of IVF (in vitro fertilization), she had a son. Her son is now 12 years old, and the dad recently announced that he’s leaving. He wants a divorce.
There is no guarantee that getting pregnant after fertility problems will improve your marriage. That said, however, here’s a summary of recent research that describes how some relationships are affected by pregnancy and childbirth after fertility problems…
Previous fertility research shows that problems getting pregnant can have negative physical and psychological effect on couples – especially women. In fact, there is evidence that unsuccessful fertility treatment may lower quality of life, increase stress levels, anxiety and depression for couples who want to get pregnant.
If you have fertility problems and are scared you’ll never conceive a baby, read How Fear of Infertility Treatments Affects Getting Pregnant. Don’t let fear affect your fertility treatments.
Yet, there are other studies that report fertility problems may bring couples closer together through a perception of “joint hardship.” If both partners feel like they’re in it together, trust each other, and try to understand the other’s perspective, then their fertility problems can actually improve their relationship.
New fertility research shows women who have a child after fertility problems are more likely to remain with their partner following infertility evaluations. Findings in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica indicate that after 12 years of follow-up, nearly 27% of women were no longer living with the partner, which they had at the time of fertility evaluation, if they did not have a child.
Here’s the bad news about fertility problems and marriage: “Prior studies show that fertility problems may cause marital or sexual distress for couples, which may potentially lead to separation or divorce,” says Trille Kristina Kjaer, of the Danish Cancer Society Research Center in Copenhagen, Denmark. “Our study investigated if women who did not have a child after a fertility evaluation were likely to end the relationship with that partner.”
The question this research study didn’t address was why couples who did not have a baby after experiencing fertility problems did not stay together. Was it the fertility problems, or their way of coping with infertility? Would they have broken up anyway?
It’s possible that if my husband and I have a child, our marriage may not be as good as it is now. Children bring stress and a myriad of emotions and problems (as well as good things, too, yes I know). I believe some couples are actually saved from something when they experience fertility problems and can’t have children. Sometimes we don’t know how lucky we are. I believe in God, and that my life is unfolding for a reason and a purpose. That is why I can find many, many ways to be happy as a childless couple.
The bottom line is that fertility problems affect different couples in different ways, no matter what the research says.
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