Celebrating Valentine’s Day for couples going through IVF treatment

Anya Sizer of the London Women’s Clinic offers advice to couples undergoing fertility treatment on how to use the event to help ease the stress of undergoing assisted reproduction.

Couples with fertility problems can celebrate Valentine’s Day too

Valentine’s Day is nearly upon us again, and the shops are full of oversized bears, love-hearts sweets and comedy boxer shorts, all designed to show the one you love just how much you care. As with many other special days in the calendar, when you are going through fertility treatment, Valentine’s Day can seem like one more thing to avoid and one more pressure.

But Valentine’s Day can be a helpful reminder for couples going through infertility treatment. A reminder that underneath all the injections, scans, clinic visits, etc, there is an ‘us’ that can so easily be overlooked.

Stress is inevitable when undergoing infertility treatment

Couples are often surprised by the toll infertility is taking on their relationship and wonder if this is normal. What I have found, both personally and professionally, is that it is almost inevitable that it will put a strain on even the strongest of relationships. We should expect fertility treatment to be tough, but we should not lose sight of why we are doing it in the first place. We must not lose sight of the other person.

Tips to help couples undergoing assisted reproduction to get through Valentine’s Day

A few tips then to help you this Valentine’s Day if fertility treatment seems to be taking over your life and relationship:

  • Try not to expect too much from each other. You are both going through a tough time and will need all the support you can get. There may be times when one or both of you finds it all too much and feels they have nothing left to give. Get the external support you need, whether from friends, family, a good counsellor, a support group, or online communities. You don’t need to do this alone.
  • Focus on the aspects of the other person that you love and make it an essential part of treatment to have fun together. Go and see a mindless film, watch a DVD and have a glass of wine (it is allowed on special occasions) - anything that lifts your spirits and brings a smile to your face.
  • Ask your partner what they need right now and how you can best support them. You may well feel most loved through talking, and they may well feel most loved through being built up as a person and respect. It is all too easy to assume the other person will want what you want. They may surprise you.
  • Know that, although this Valentine’s Day may not be ideal and that you may well not be where you want to be in life, you are moving forwards towards that end goal, and who knows where you will be this time next year.

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