The Power of Shared Understanding: Why Open Conversations are Crucial for Couples Considering Fertility Treatments

Embarking on a journey of fertility treatments can be both hopeful and challenging for couples struggling with infertility. While these treatments offer the possibility of conceiving a child, it’s essential to have open and honest conversations about the road ahead, ensuring that couples establish a realistic outlook and discuss contingency plans in case initial fertility treatments are unsuccessful. Let’s explore three reasons why having these conversations is crucial and delve into some important questions to consider regarding alternative options.

Managing Expectations:

One of the primary reasons to discuss a plan for unsuccessful treatments is to manage expectations. Fertility treatments can be emotionally and physically demanding, and preparing for the possibility of failure is vital. By openly addressing this possibility, couples can establish a realistic understanding of the outcomes they may face allowing them to navigate the emotional rollercoaster of fertility treatments with a stronger foundation and reduce the potential for disappointment or resentment later on.

Financial Considerations:

Fertility treatments can be expensive, and the financial burden can increase with multiple treatments. Having a conversation about a plan for unsuccessful treatments helps couples make informed decisions about the financial investment they are willing and able to make. Couples can set realistic boundaries and prevent themselves from being overwhelmed by financial strain by discussing the number of treatments they are comfortable trying. It also opens up the possibility of exploring alternative options that may be more financially viable, such as adoption or utilizing donor gametes or embryos.

Exploring Alternative Paths:

While fertility treatments have advanced significantly, they may not be successful for everyone. As uncomfortable as discussions of infertility and fertility treatments may be, couples need to discuss and consider alternative paths if initial treatments are unsuccessful. This includes discussing options such as utilizing donor eggs, donor sperm, or donor embryos and exploring the possibility of traditional surrogacy, gestational surrogacy, or adoption. Each of these options has its unique set of considerations, and having conversations about them beforehand can ensure that couples are on the same page and ready to embrace these alternatives if needed.

Questions to Consider:

Here are some questions to discuss with your partner to help guide your conversation about a plan for unsuccessful fertility treatments:

How many fertility treatments are you both comfortable attempting before considering alternative options? Discuss your emotional, physical, and financial limits to establish a shared understanding.

How do you feel about utilizing donor eggs, donor sperm, or donor embryos? Explore your thoughts and feelings on genetic relatedness and the potential impact on your future family dynamics.

Are you open to the option of traditional or gestational surrogacy? Discuss your comfort levels, legal considerations, and any personal concerns that may arise.

Is adoption an option you would consider? Discuss your thoughts and feelings about adoption, including the possibility of adopting domestically or internationally, as well as any preferences regarding age, ethnicity, or special needs.


Starting fertility treatments can be a significant step for couples struggling with infertility. While maintaining hope and optimism is important, it is equally crucial to have open conversations about the possibility of treatment failure and alternative paths. By discussing a plan for unsuccessful treatments, couples can manage expectations, make informed financial decisions, and explore alternative options that may lead them to fulfill their dream of becoming parents. Remember, having a shared understanding and supportive communication throughout the process is critical to navigating the challenges and complexities of fertility treatments.

I am a fertility psychologist in Los Angeles and offer complimentary 15-minute initial consultations. If you are a woman or couple seeking infertility counseling, you may click here to schedule an appointment.

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on Linkdin
Share on Pinterest

Leave a comment