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Many couples feel disappointed and frustrated with the results of infertility tests, which can lead to increased stress levels. Stress is only worsened if you are undergoing frequent testing and trips to your provider for fertility treatments, or if you are pressed to stick with a precise sex schedule. Perhaps you are feeling problems with your self worth, and you might also blame your partner or yourself for the problems.

If you feel overwhelmed by your emotions and infertility stress, take small steps to cope. First, set realistic goals for yourself. If you are planning on becoming pregnant in two months, think again. Infertility can take a long time. Set limits for the time and money you will spend on treatment, but also be lenient and expect to wait. Take care of yourself and your partner, and eliminate any identifiable stressors.

Infertility is going to affect your social day-to-day interactions. Listening to your co-workers gripe and gloat about their own children can become painful. Watching others play with children, even seeing families on movies and television can be difficult to handle after you have been diagnosed with infertility. These are all perfectly normal reactions, so don’t feel that you are a “bad person” if you experience jealousy, sadness or anger when faced with other images of familial and parental bliss. You might also feel upset and hurt by seemingly insensitive comments from others, such as “You can always adopt!” or nosy inquiries about your reproductive organs. Most people should be sensitive to others’ needs, but some people aren’t. It’s best to treat these questions lightly, and to answer with information about your personal plans at your own will.

Some couples dealing with infertility decide to keep this a private issue. Others find invaluable support from friends, family or others experiencing infertility. Counseling and infertility support groups are often important resources for dealing with the emotional aspects of infertility.

You may also feel confronted with ethical concerns when faced with your endless options for treatment. For example, some infertility medications increase the risk for certain health complications and disabilities in the child. Couples might want to discuss their feelings about these risks openly and explore other options before attempting to defy those risks. If you decide to use a surrogate or a familiar sperm or egg donor, it’s best to contact an attorney who specializes in infertility treatments in order to take any necessary legal precautions, and to draw up a contract about rights and responsibilities. Even if the treatment option of donor insemination feels like a disappointment now, it may be a positive memory later on, when reflecting on your child’s conception. Discuss your fears and concerns with your provider, your partner, and also with a trained counselor to make sure that the option is right for you, and that you can get acclimated to the idea.

If your treatment becomes too stressful emotionally, or if you are losing hope after three years of treatment, you may want to consider adoption. Adoption is a viable and satisfying option that may help you to overcome the emotional and social strife associated with infertility. Adoption will give you new hope and renew your plans for developing your family.