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Men and women in couples undergoing fertility treatments typically respond differently to the stresses resulting from infertility and infertility treatment.

Men and women in couples undergoing fertility treatments typically respond differently to the stresses resulting from infertility and infertility treatment. Different – ​​and sometimes even opposing – approaches almost always create conflict and can result in an “independent reaction”, in which each partner feels isolated, negatively influencing the relationship at a time when partners need understanding and understanding more than ever. of mutual support.

In this article, Prof. Tahir Masood Ahmad, clinical psychologist and part of the Genova Infertility Centre team, highlights some of the differences between men and women when responding to the challenges of fertility treatment.

Differences in what partners focus on

Prof. Tahir Masood Ahmad refers to a book called Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps, a controversial recent book about the differences between how men and women think and communicate.

This is a rather funny book, as it states that, given the same reading, men will hear the title and women will interpret the paragraph.

Men also can compartmentalize aspects of their lives. Thus, they can separate work from sport and keep their career separate from their social life. As such, they are also able to separate their fertility journey from other aspects of their lives.

Women, on the other hand, are less likely to separate or compartmentalize different aspects of their lives. As such, having or not being able to have a baby or undergoing fertility treatment impacts every aspect of women's lives, and because of this, they tend to be more consumed by the fertility journey.

Different communication styles

It is also common to find couples undergoing fertility treatments who differ in their communication styles. Female partners tend to want to talk about their fertility challenges more often, even every day. Male partners often feel like they've talked about it before and feel like it's the same thing over and over again.

Share the journey in different ways

Likewise, when it comes to talking about fertility challenges and treatment, men and women have different tendencies.

Men are much less likely to share this information, even with close family and friends. They tend to keep the experience rather private and also internalize the stress.

Women – although not all – are more likely to share the experience with family and friends, obviously discreetly. Even so, this difference can lead to relationship difficulties, and couples should negotiate their expectations about what and how much information to share with others as early as possible.

Differences in key concerns

In addition to worrying more about the impact of fertility treatment on the couple's finances, men also tend to worry more about the impact of infertility on their wives.

Many of the male partners of couples receiving treatment at Genova Infertility Centre are quick to say that their wives have changed and their lifestyle has changed, and they want to draw the line somewhere, because they got married to live happily together with their partner, come what may.

Women tend to worry about the more abstract values ​​associated with having a child, such as a sense of belonging or a sense of accomplishment. They are also more likely to change their lifestyle when it comes to socializing, drinking, eating, and smoking to ensure a better chance of conceiving. This is because they tend to be more involved in the fertility journey and willing to push the limits, including being more willing to investigate invasive assisted reproductive therapy (ART) before men.

All of this can lead to a woman feeling like she's making all the changes and putting in all the effort and can cause feelings of resentment.

Different perspectives

Among couples receiving ARTs such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF), male partners – often more solutions-oriented – tend to react more optimistically. They focus on pleasing and encouraging their partners, looking into the future, and affirming that there will be a child, whether it happens naturally or through IVF in Lahore. Men also tend to take one step at a time and only discuss the next step in the fertility journey when they get there. As a result, many women feel that their partners are not eager to go further on the fertility journey, but often it is simply that men only begin to commit to the next step when it is put on the table by the fertility specialist or decision point. team up.

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