Leading up to Valentine's Day, couples who experience difficulty conceiving often express a heightened sense of pressure and stress about not being able to get pregnant. These feelings can be so frustrating that many couples try to hide or avoid their fertility troubles and delay seeking the help of a fertility specialist.
In fact, a survey conducted by Merck found that 91 percent of couples seeing a fertility specialist wish they had gone sooner. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) guidelines say if you're over 35 years of age and have been trying unsuccessfully to conceive for six months, or under 35 and have been trying for a year, it may be time to have a fertility evaluation.
For this Valentine's Day, Alice Domar, PhD, renowned fertility expert and executive director of Mind/Body Services at Boston IVF, shares five tips for coping with infertility:
Take some time to brush up on your infertility knowledge with your partner.
Avoid places that will cause you emotional pain or distress, like going to dinner at a family restaurant where there might be young children.
Set a game plan on how you and your partner will answer questions if family or friends call to ask if you've been trying to conceive while the spirit of love is in the air.
Spend some time doing the things you love as a couple—take this day as a time to celebrate "us" instead of focusing on your trouble conceiving.
Know it's OK to change the subject if anything related to infertility or having children comes up.
If you think you fall into one of the categories outlined by ASRM, don't let embarrassment, fear or emotional barriers stop you from seeing a fertility specialist sooner. You can visit Merck's Fertility Guide to test infertility knowledge, find a specialist in your area and download a discussion guide for when you see a specialist.