According to research done by Indiana University, women's sex lives suffer during IVF. Their libidos and enjoyment of sex lessened, and many had difficulty with orgasm. Painful intercourse and dryness were also reported. As IVF treatment progressed, the sexual problems worsened. Read more about the study here.
Of course, none of this is a surprise. Infertility in general has already been shown to have a negative impact on the sex lives of men and women. Couples going through IVF are likely under even more stress than those not yet experiencing intense treatment. And don't forget all the hormones rushing through a woman's body during IVF, many of them having side effects similar to menopause (hence the dryness and painful intercourse.)
It doesn't appear that they looked into men's sexual problems during IVF, but I'm sure men suffer as well as women, and not just as a reaction to their female partner's struggles. (In fact, I wrote about a different study on the effect of timed intercourse on men.)
It's unfortunate that couples may think their sexual problems are unique to them, and they need to know they are not alone in this.
In my opinion, this is an area where professional support from a counselor can be helpful. While I think it's a good idea for fertility doctors to discuss sexual side effects of IVF and infertility, the fertility doctor isn't really going to be a place you can vent. On the other hand, counselors who are familiar with infertility can provide a sounding board and offer reassurance that what they're going through is normal.
Have you experienced sexual difficulties as a result of IVF or infertility? Were you surprised by the effect? How did you cope? Please feel free to leave a comment below with your experience (and feel free to use a pseudonym.)
More on sex and infertility:
- How TTC Changes Your Sex Life
- How to Improve Your Sex Life When TTC
- Quiz: Test Your Conception Sex Knowledge
- Free eCourse: 6 Days to Better Baby Making Sex
- A Complete Guide to Baby Making Sex
- When to Have Sex While Taking Clomid
- Does Lying on Your Back After Sex Really Help?
- Does Position Matter when Trying to Conceive?
- Is Female Orgasm Important to Get Pregnant?
- How to Cope When Trying to Conceive Overwhelms You