Fertility journeys can be incredibly exhausting– physically and emotionally–and knowing how to support your partner can ease their experience. We want to ensure that you and your partner have the tools necessary to discuss your fertility and future options; below we outline different ways you can show up for one another, emotionally and logistically.
Your partner may need to talk about their experience—a lot. For some people, talking things through allows them to process their emotions and having someone listen, without offering advice or solutions, can be validating of their experience.
- Ask your partner what they need
There is a misconception that in relationships people should automatically understand and anticipate their partner’s needs. In reality, no one can read minds, and even the most thoughtful and intuitive of partners sometimes need direction. If your partner is going through infertility, don’t be afraid to ask them what they need or the kind of support they crave.
- Adapt your lifestyle alongside them
When someone is going through fertility treatment such as IVF, there are usually restrictions on what they can consume, such as alcohol and tobacco. If possible, adapting your lifestyle to mirror theirs can be affirming and a concrete way of showing support. If they can’t drink, for example, try not to do so around them. Even if your partner doesn’t request this type of support, offering to abstain with them will display engagement and investment in your journey as a family.
- Be engaged
Fertility can be demanding and often involves lots of appointments, check-ins and tracking. Being there physically for your partners appointments and actively engaging with their experience can take some of the burden off their shoulders. During doctor’s visits, you can take notes or even remind your partner of questions they meant to bring up. If you can, familiarize yourself with the language used when discussing treatment so that your partner can refer to terms freely and without having to explain.
- Sperm analysis
All too often, the onus of infertility is placed on women, despite the fact that male infertility plays a role in 20-30% of fertility problems. For males whose female partners are undergoing fertility treatment, one concrete way to show support and rule out any alternative variables is to have a semen analysis performed. A semen analysis will measure semen volume and pH, as well as sperm concentration, morphology and motility, all of which can impact the likelihood of sperm fertilizing the egg.
- Blood test
Similarly, to sperm testing, blood testing is an easy way men can rule out any possible causes of infertility. Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) testing in men can determine sperm count, and luteinizing hormone (LH) can be tested to ensure testosterone production is being stimulated. Tests for prolactin and androgen are also used to determine the cause of low libido or erectile dysfunction.
- Keep them on track
When undergoing fertility treatment, there are typically multiple medications, supplements, procedures and appointments to manage. Helping your partner stay on top of all these moving parts is a valuable demonstration of support and frees up some space for them to prioritize self-care, which is especially important during treatment.
If you are a Progyny member undergoing fertility treatment or are just interested in learning more about your options, contact a Patient Care Advocate (PCA) directly at 888.597.5065. PCAs are knowledgeable about the benefit and are there to provide emotional support to members throughout their journeys.