Infertility has increased dramatically over the past 60 years, with an estimated 3.5 million people in the UK experiencing difficulties conceiving at some point during their reproductive life. And not all are currently in a relationship, which raises the question of how and when you discuss infertility while on the dating scene.
Here is our guide to the dos and don’ts of dating with infertility.
Get support and advice
If you know or suspect you have issues with your fertility, it is always a good idea to get yourself checked out by your GP or a fertility clinic, even if you are single or not yet ready to try for children, so you know exactly what the situation is, what help is available and what your options are. This way, you can be clear in your own mind how you feel about your infertility, and what you are prepared to do in the long-term if becoming a parent is what you want to do.
Pick the right time to raise the issue
The dating scene is about having fun as well as potentially finding a life partner, so it’s not necessary to wear your heart on your sleeve about your infertility from the get-go. In fact, being too upfront on a first date can be off-putting. Instead, wait until you think there is longer term relationship potential for you both before deciding to have the conversation. But don’t wait too long as it is important information your new partner needs to know.
Take your ages into account
Fully declaring you have issues with your fertility in your early 20s can be different to disclosing information to a new partner when you are both in your 30s and even early 40s, as expectations will be different. A desire to have a family in your 30s is more of an essential (and more pressing) consideration for many people, and it is only fair to tell a potential partner that you may not be able to have children.
Feel ashamed or blame yourself
Infertility can be caused by a range of issues and, in around one in four cases, no known cause can be found, so it is important not to blame yourself when dating with infertility. So, when raising the subject of infertility for the first time when dating, it is important to feel confident and comfortable in the amount of information about your particular case you want to share.
Expect them to want the same as you
Especially if you think they are ‘the one’, it is essential that you don’t ignore your date’s response to your infertility news, even if it’s a reaction you didn’t want. They may be unwilling to take on what may lie ahead in terms of potential IVF treatment or consider other options such as adoption. Or children may simply not be on their life agenda. Listen to what they say without trying to change their opinion or try to convince them otherwise.
Feel pressured to compromise
Letting your date know you have fertility issues can change the whole dynamic as it brings in some theoretical forward planning at a time when the relationship may not be fully committed. So don’t be tempted to tell your date what you think they want to hear, especially if it’s clear you are not on the same page. If trying for children – in the near or long-term future – is important to you, then you may have to accept this is not the new relationship for you.