How couples can feel more empowered with joint fertility testing

How couples can feel more empowered with joint fertility testing

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5 mins

There’s no denying: It takes two to make a baby.

Historically, discussions about fertility struggles have centered around women. However, fertility status is a shared situation, and can involve one or both partners. And reproductive issues are impacting couples more now than ever.

Both partners are “intertwined” in the fertility process from the beginning, explains Cindy Golubisky, Clin Ops & Fertility Clinician at Hera Fertility. There are a lot of tests and a lot of anxiety and anticipation — and not much privacy.

“There's that whole uncovering of what the culprit could be, and then dealing with it together. And that sometimes can be very disheartening.”

Couples facing infertility can experience significant psychological distress. In fact, a recent study found that women who end up undergoing fertility treatment and aren’t successful are three times more likely to divorce or end cohabitation with their partner than those who do. The path can be emotionally — and financially — draining.

Which is why joint fertility testing can be especially beneficial. It offers couples a chance to navigate the course together — so they can learn together, support each other and make decisions as a unified team.

And joint testing can be even more helpful for couples — and their fertility care team — if they’ve been trying to conceive for a while, and haven’t been successful.

Understanding joint fertility testing

Joint fertility testing is exactly what it sounds like: Both partners undergo physical evaluations to determine the factors affecting their ability to conceive. Think of it as a deep dive into each partner’s health that provides a complete picture of fertility status.

Fertility investigation tests can take several forms. Often the starting point is blood work, image testing (e.g. ultrasounds) and internal exams (e.g. an HSG) for females and semen analysis for males. Couples are asked about any genetic diseases, lifestyle patterns, alcohol and drug use, etc. For example, some medications may impair the reproductive system. It's important to discuss your medications with your provider prior to trying to conceive.

Even these first steps might feel overwhelming. It’s an intensely personal experience that can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. However, navigating the process together can help a couple feel like they have more control over the situation, that they are both invested in the process, the solutions, and each other.

Feeling united in purpose and vision

Many couples who choose joint fertility testing find that the journey binds them even closer — right from the moment they decide to undergo the process.

“I've seen couples come back together again” during the process, Golubisky explains. In the beginning there can be blame or feelings of pressure and hopelessness, but many partners find ways to come back to their love for one another and find support.

This shared experience can nurture a profound sense of togetherness — one that also serves as a solid foundation for any challenges that lie ahead.

When both partners actively participate in the testing process, they gain a comprehensive understanding of both their individual and collective fertility health. Issues can lie with one partner, both partners, or may even be unexplained. But having that shared information can help couples make the most informed choices and feel more in control about what comes next.

Increased respect

Respect is the cornerstone of any successful relationship — joint fertility testing can deepen this value. Respect acknowledges the individual contributions of each partner, and recognizes that each plays an essential role in the fertility journey. Both people’s experiences, concerns, and feelings are equally significant.

Respecting each other’s emotions and experiences nurtures an environment where open conversations and genuine understanding can thrive. It encourages partners to listen attentively, empathize deeply, and validate each other's thoughts and feelings, creating a space where both voices are heard and valued.

Enhanced emotional support

Infertility can cause tremendous strain on a relationship, but going through the process can be beneficial, too. One study found that despite the strain that infertility can create, going through fertility treatment “can actually bring benefit to a couple's relationship, because it forces them to improve communication and coping strategies."

Which is why it makes sense to start that bonding process early in your fertility journey with joint testing.

When both partners can be involved in testing, and be aware of different coping styles, a more immediate and uniquely intimate support network opens up. Having each other to lean on can create an environment where each can express their vulnerabilities without fear of judgment.

Partners can become each other's pillars of strength, offering encouragement and comfort during moments of uncertainty, embarrassment, anxiety, or stress — sharing the emotional burden together.

Couples engaged in joint fertility testing often find themselves naturally extending compassion to one another. They become attuned to the emotional highs and lows of the fertility journey and respond with genuine care and sensitivity. This shared compassion helps couples build a safe and nurturing space where they can openly express their fears, hopes, and insecurities.

Joint fertility testing offers so much more than diagnosing conception issues of two people. Couples can discover true supportive partnership, not just in the pursuit of parenthood, but also in the celebration of each other’s strengths.

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