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Understanding Emotions Around Infertility

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 09-03-2009

Here’s a good article in the New York Times about infertility and the couples who have to give up on fertility treatments, sometimes after trying for a decade or more. What I found especially interesting was the article’s take on infertility as a kind of loss. The loss is as much for a baby they will never have as for the person they thought they would be. This is something that we all deal with as we grow older and learn we likely won’t be a rock star or president, but it is particularly poignant when the thing you’re giving up is being a mom, or even a dad.

“The person has to go through a process of mourning for what this was going to be in their life and who they were going to be in this life,” said Mardy S. Ireland, a psychoanalyst from Berkeley, Calif., who specializes in childlessness.

Ten percent of all couples have trouble conceiving, sometimes because of a physical problem and sometimes for unexplained reasons. But as reproductive technologies have advanced, many couples are being given help and hope.

It is unclear how many women are involuntarily childless. The stigma attached to infertility and living without children pressures many women to remain silent about their struggles, Mrs. Tsigdinos said, adding, “It’s not something you want to drop into conversation at a cocktail party.”

That dull ache unites women at all stages of their quest for children, and a growing online community helps them cope with the many facets of infertility. Mrs. Tsigdinos, a marketer for a venture capital company, began her own blog about the flip side of successful treatment, at www.Coming2Terms.com, when she could not find resources to help her cope with the decision to stop infertility treatments.

From After Years of Fertility Treatments, Facing Life Without Children – NYTimes.com