Coping With Infertility
Both women and men sometimes need help to cope when faced with fertility problems. The experience of infertility can leave you feeling inadequate as a partner to your spouse, frustrated at your inability to do something which most people take for granted, and financially burdened by the expenses associated with fertility testing and treatment.
Furthermore, if treatment fails, the idea of using donor eggs or sperm, hiring the services of a surrogate, or going through the adoption process, can also be very intimidating.
Emotional Coping Strategies
Men and women may differ in their methods for coping with infertility. It's rare, however, to find a case in which being honest, and talking about the feelings of both partners doesn't help. Men, on the one hand, may feel their masculinity is somehow "in doubt." Women may fear that their partners will start to feel trapped in a childless relationship - these are just some examples from the huge spectrum of emotions triggered by fertility problems. Remember that reputable fertility clinics and adoption agencies provide counseling and support to the couples they help, so make the availability of such a service one of your key criteria when looking for help to overcome your fertility problems.
Having a child through surrogacy can be a tense and legally very complicated experience - it has, however, been a very successful method of building a family for many infertile couples. There are a lot of decisions to be made when it comes to surrogacy, and the pressure involved can be immense. How do you find and vet a surrogate? How do you make sure that everyone concerned understands their obligations? Couples are strongly advised to seek legal guidance to help them cope with the surrogacy experience.
Using a sperm donor or an egg donor to become pregnant can give rise to emotional and legal concerns. For example, does a child born of a sperm donor have a right to know who his real father is? Does the biological father have rights? Who can you turn to for advice and clarification of these issues? Couples may also be concerned about their ability to bond with a child who has been conceived through sperm or egg donation. It's important to inform yourself of the issues surrounding a donor pregnancy, to plan for potential problems, and to seek support if these problems do occur.
Adopting a child is a very challenging experience, not least because this option is often considered only after a grueling marathon of fertility treatments has already been tried, but without success. Adoption agencies have very stringent criteria which must be fulfilled by potential parents, and couples may have to wait a long time to adopt a newborn. This can be emotionally draining. Some couples consider international adoption as a way of speeding up the process, but even this presents its own unique set of legal hurdles to jump. Couples considering adoption therefore need legal advice and emotional support from friends, family and perhaps professional counselors also.