Dealing with Others

• The many decisions and uncertainties associated with fertility diagnosis and treatment often bring about great stress in the life of the couple.

• In most cases, women and men react very differently to stress; those differences can lead to additional conflicts and frustrations.

• Here are some actions that you and your partner can do to help deal with these difficulties:

• Understand: Emotions and disagreements may become magnified during this trying time.

• Communicate: On a regular basis, discuss your emotions and fears with your partner. It won't always be easy, but having each other's support now is critical.

• Support: Know that you are both doing your best during this stressful time, no matter how you each deal with it on the outside.

• Participate: Go to doctor appointments together, and use a teamwork approach to deal with the decisions, tests, and procedures that you will both endure.

• Enjoy: Make dates to have "fun sex" during nonfertile times of your cycle, find new hobbies or activities that you can do together, and focus time and energy on your relationship.

• Get counseling: Seek professional counseling to help you get through the many challenges that you both face.

• Lesbian couples are finding greater acceptance in society, and more are choosing to make public their decision to have children together.

• Unfortunately, lesbian couples often must deal with additional difficulties not encountered by heterosexual couples, such as finding a sperm donor, dealing with closed-minded family and coworkers, and obtaining legal rights to clearly define both parenting roles.

• Single women may face additional hardships, such as finding a sperm donor, having financial and career concerns, and receiving criticism from various aspects of society.

• Dealing with family and friends can be quite difficult, even if they have good intentions. Their insensitive and harsh words may make you feel bad, causing you to suffer in silence, feeling lonely and isolated.

• If they are truly loving friends and family, once you explain your situation to them, they'll come around and become your top supporters during this difficult time.

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