Preparing for IVF: Questions for Your Partner

Medically reviewed by Linda Streety, RN, BSN

Undergoing fertility treatment to grow your family involves many decisions, especially if you choose to try in vitro fertilization (IVF). If you are making these decisions with a partner, it’s important to be on the same page about what treatments you are willing to try, what resources you are able to put into fertility treatment, how much time and effort you want to put into the process, and how you will support each other through the process. To help you have those conversations, we’ve put together a list of questions that you and your partner can answer together.

It’s also okay not to have all the answers right now! As you gain more information and experience, your answers may change. Starting the conversation and keeping it going throughout the process will remain important toward staying connected to your partner and on the same page.

Is IVF the right choice for us?

IVF offers many people the chance to have biological children, either because they are facing infertility, are pursuing single parenthood by choice, or are in a same-sex relationship. IVF is also intensive physically, emotionally, and financially, without a guaranteed outcome. Aligning with your partner on your goals and priorities before you begin IVF can help you determine whether IVF is the best choice for you to grow your family. It may also help to do some research about IVF before this discussion to help set expectations and understand your chance of success.

What are some of your worries and questions about the IVF process?

Sharing your concerns openly can help you make sure you’re on the same page, and also help you determine some questions you may want to ask your fertility clinic. Some concerns may include:

How many of our resources – time, energy, money – are we able to give to IVF?

IVF offers a lot of hope and possibility but it’s also an intensive process that can require a lot of your resources. Most IVF patients need more than one cycle to have a baby. This is especially the case if you or your partner are of advanced maternal age, have low ovarian reserve, or another condition that may make it hard to get pregnant with IVF and stay pregnant.

Having a conversation about your priorities and goals as individuals and as a couple in addition to your goals toward building a family can help you make decisions about how long you would like to continue with IVF. This is especially important if your IVF journey ends up being longer than you had hoped. Knowing if your partner has the “okay, I’ll give it just one try,” or wants to pursue IVF as long as possible is important at this stage.

How can I best support you throughout IVF?

What you and your partner need to feel supported and cared for may be very different! Talking about what each of you needs can help you stay connected throughout the IVF process. Some ways you can offer support to each other include:

  • Accompanying the person undergoing IVF to appointments.
  • Learning about IVF so you can anticipate what’s next and offer support.
  • Preparing and administering medications together.
  • Learning about different sperm retrieval methods and supporting your partner through retrieval.
  • If possible, taking time off around egg retrieval and embryo transfer so you can accompany your partner to the procedure and care for them afterward.
  • A nightly check-in on how each of you are feeling.
  • Maintaining a weekly date night to reconnect, just the two of you, and take your mind off the process.
  • Hugs and words of encouragement.
  • Simply listening. Often there are no “fixes” to some of the frustrations and concerns that come with IVF, and it helps a great deal to have someone to talk to.
  • Keeping the freezer stocked with ice cream (or pizza).

Some of these might not seem like much, but knowing what your partner needs to feel loved can help keep the IVF experience a positive one.

Who are some trusted friends and family members that we can talk to about our experience?

IVF can be intense, and it can be hard to share all your concerns and feelings with just your partner when they are also deeply invested in the process. Having friends and/or family members that you feel comfortable talking to can help lighten the load on your partner and give you an outlet to work through some of your thoughts. Online communities of people who have also gone through IVF can also help, especially if their diagnoses, concerns, and/or life stage are similar to yours.

It’s important to agree on who you want to share your experiences with, though. IVF can feel deeply personal, and it is up to the two of you to decide who you want to let in on that journey. This is especially the case if one of you is very private and the other is an open book!

What should we say to people who ask intrusive questions?

Speaking of letting people in, let’s face it: people ask a lot of nosy questions about pregnancy. You may be completely comfortable answering those questions openly and frankly. It may also be painful to answer questions during a process that can feel tiring, uncertain, and very intimate. Aligning with your partner on a strategy for answering those questions can ensure that people only know as much as you’re both comfortable sharing.

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