Impasse: When Couples Disagree Over Infertility Treatment

When Couples Disagree Over Infertility Treatment: The Impasse

Whether you are just planting your feet on the path to the fertility journey for the first time, or if your shoes are well worn, we all brace ourselves for the infertility tempest headed in our direction. The problem is that there is one squall that so many tend to overlook–the impasse. What happens when couples disagree over infertility treatment?

It’s not uncommon for couples at varying times to be on different parts of the same page on their journey. But, what if you aren’t on the same page, or even in the same chapter?

Recently, I was coaching a woman who has dreamed of being a mom her entire life. In fact, it is no secret to anyone that knows her. After trying to conceive for over 2 years, and not a single pregnancy, the alarm bells and sirens are on full blast in her head. She quickly made appointments with her OB-GYN for diagnostic testing. She pleaded with her partner to do the same. Her pleas were met with the dreaded, “just relax and it will happen.” She felt that her partner just doesn’t “get it.” For her, it’s like her partner is a monolith standing in the way of her dreams of parenthood. Not only does she feel alone, in many ways she feels let down.

On the other end of the spectrum, I chatted with a woman who feels stuck on a never ending hamster wheel of fertility treatments that have spanned over 5 years. Her partner made it clear that he wants to “keep going, until they have a child of their own.” After enduring failed treatments and repeated miscarriages, her body feels worn down and her spirit fatigued. Caught between heeding her own calls for a time out and not wanting to deny her partner his desire to have a biological child of his own, her relationship is stuck in infertility quicksand.

As if the usual pain and heartbreak on the fertility journey wasn’t enough, these women have the added burden of feeling as if they are at an impasse in their relationships. It’s easy to see how without a plan, or proper support, the situation can quickly go from just plain stressful to implosion. My heart aches just writing the words!

Like everything else associated with the fertility journey, the issues here are complex and scary, but when you hack through the fear, confusion, shame, and ego, the endgame is the same. You face the impasse by speaking your truth, PRONTO.

When couples disagree over infertility treatment

The Strategy

They key here is to replace guessing, wondering, and projections with facts. Even if you aren’t quite at impasse, these strategies can help you through the scary moments when things aren’t in perfect alignment. Remember that you and your partner are a team. At times it may not feel like it, but be open to giving them the benefit of the doubt. Whether they have expressed it or not, they are hurting. Magical things can happen when you approach this with an open mind and heart. You may realize you aren’t at infertility impasse at all! Here is a starting point:

  1. Get clear on exactly where YOU are at on this journey. Not sure where to start? Check this out.
  2. Organize your thoughts about how you feel, so that you can communicate with your partner effectively–there’s nothing like disorganization with a dash of hysterics to put your partner on the de-fense. Your feelings are VALID and yes, this is an emotional topic, but give yourself the best chance to be heard!
  3. Make sure you truly understand your partner’s perspective on infertility. Here’s some questions to get the convo started.
  4. Be a good listener! You’d be amazed at what you can learn about your partner when you really listen to what they have to say…watch for body language, don’t interrupt, and let them speak their mind.
  5. Raise the issue of defining your fertility finish line. Blame my blog post if you have to!
  6. Educate yourselves about all of your family building options. We are often at odds with our partners when we don’t have all of the information we need to make educated decisions about next steps. Eliminate this possibility with facts, not folklore.
  7. Invite a fertility coach into your conversation. An experienced coach, who knows exactly what it’s like to be on this road, can help you work together to create a journey that reflects your values and can help you sort through the alphabet soup of muck that can make infertility treatment so scary, confusing, and overwhelming. Have someone in your corner who wants to see you BOTH win!
  8. If your infertility impasse is unearthing old, deep seeded, emotional wounds, it may make sense to compliment your fertility coaching with the services of a licensed therapist.
  9. Remember that you and your partner deserve to be happy.

If you need an ice breaker to get things rolling, just casually mention that you happened across a fantastic site by an awesome fertility coach that “really got you thinking…” It won’t be the first time and it certainly won’t be the last, that I managed to spark a conversation… 🙂

No one on this journey should get lost in the shuffle and impasse is the last place you want to be. Don’t let fear or ignorance keep you or your partner silent. We only have one shot at this life and we all deserve to take a crack at happiness. As nasty as infertility can be when it comes to our relationships, it also provides rich opportunities for getting clear about who we and our partners are. For some, infertility impasse has led to a permanent parting of ways. While for others, it is a chance to rediscover what really matters. What it means for you and your partner depends on who you are as a couple. Do the work!

What are you going to do if you and your partner are at impasse about your fertility journey?

Leave Me A Comment About Your Plan of Action Below.

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With Love + Respect,


© 2014 Rosanne Austin, From Maybe To Baby