Female Infertility is Common
Tracy Palmer had always wanted a big family for herself. But when she got married eleven years ago to her college sweetheart Max, she put off her family plans for little while. A busy lawyer making her way up, Tracy had this fear at the back of her mind of getting pregnant . . . till she decided about five years ago that it was time for her have a baby. But, when nothing happened even after a year of trying, Tracy and Max saw a doctor. She was diagnosed with endometriosis. Years of treatment followed, with no success. Today, Tracy is a different person. She and Max are still together. But, if you asked them, they would tell you that something in them died the day they realized that the treatments had failed.
Infertility is a very common women’s sexual health issue, particularly with women today bearing children closer and closer to the point of menopause. About 10% of the couples in USA are affected by infertility. In Australia too, infertility rates have been increasing at an alarming rate, with statistics showing that one in six women are struggling with infertility! Dr. Sandra Cabbot and Naturopath Margaret Jasinska, in their book Infertility: The Hidden Causes, say: “Infertility is a sign that something is not right with you or your partner’s health. A healthy body is a fertile body. Our bodies are cleverly designed to, and when that does not happen, there is always an explanation.” Despite this, the cause of infertility in 20% of the couples who seek treatment cannot be determined.
Infertility can have a number of far-reaching consequences for a person, including a broken marriage. It has been found that women who are diagnosed an infertile have feelings of guilt and anger overriding their relationships and interactions. But, it is up to each woman to decide on whether to allow infertility take over her life, or face it and fight it. If you are among the latter, we encourage you to read on.
Causes of Female Infertility
Like the causes of most forms of women’s sexual health issues, the causes of female infertility are many, including:
- Damaged fallopian tubes
- Hormonal imbalance
- Cervical problems
- Uterine abnormalities
- Unexplained infertility
Female Infertility and Your Sex Life
More often than not, infertility affects a woman’s feelings about herself and her relationships with others, especially her spouse. And predictably, it affects her sex life with her partner. It is not uncommon for couples to report decreased sexual urges, and low satisfaction during the course of infertility treatments. In fact, this has been the case with almost 60% of the couples who were undergoing infertility treatment. Women usually report decreased sexual craving, difficulty getting aroused, lack of orgasm, and painful intercourse. Some of them even associate these with the invasive and sometimes-humiliating medical investigations and fertility treatments. Even worse, most of them feel that intercourse is now just mechanical, and no longer a way to express affection for each other.
Female Infertility and Stress
Infertility is not just a strain on your relationship with your partner; it can also put a major dent in your finances. Like most women’s sexual health treatments, fertility treatment has the potential to be very expensive. Adding to this, is the fear of desertion that many women have. They constantly worry that their partner might leave them for a fertile partner who could give him babies.
Ways to Cope with Female Infertility
To begin with, you must resolve to not let infertility destroy your life. Women’s sexual health treatmentshave advanced a lot. They may be expensive and invasive; but if you really want to have a baby of your own, then go ahead, grin, and bear it. Remember this – two-thirds of couples treated for infertility are able to have babies. Here are a few tips that will help you manage the stress of infertility:
- Let it out: Yes, we know how you feel because you are not alone. So, let out your feelings. Jamming up your emotions will neither help you, nor your loved ones. Allow yourself to feel your sadness, anger, and frustration. Express them. But, do not let the emotions overpower you.
- Share it: Let your partner know how you are feeling. As a couple, you can also seek professional counselling as well as the help of support groups. Talking to family members or friends who have had similar problems also helps.
- Keep it cool: Have you ever tried yoga or acupuncture? If not, now might be the right time for you. Try anything that will help you relax and keep your mind calm, including reviving a hobby or breaking away from the routine.
- Talk to your partner: When you met, you and your partner most probably did not have kids. So, do not assume that he will stop loving you because you cannot have kids. Keep an open mind and talk about your feelings together, and think about your future plans.
- Learn: Learning as much about infertility as possible will help you understand the treatment better, and will prepare you to deal with the situation better.
- Keep sex exciting: Do not let your sex life become monotonous or boring. Instead, think of ways to make it as exciting as ever for the both of you.
Whatever you do, do not let infertility take over your life. Fill your life and relationship with positive things. And if things do not work out, you could also consider adoption or surrogacy.