“You need to have an end point”

Sara-Jayne King speaks to clinical psychologist Mandy Rodrigues about the psychological impact of infertility on women and men.

– Between 48 million couples and 186 million individuals live with infertility globally

– Fertility Show Africa gets underway online this weekend for those struggling to conceive

Image: Β© archnoi1 /123rf.com

It’s the most natural thing in the world for a couple to want to expand their family.

But what happens when you discover that you might struggle to do that naturally?

Infertility affects millions of people of reproductive age worldwide with the World Health Organisation suggesting that between 48 million couples and 186 million individuals live with infertility globally.

This weekend the Fertility Show Africa gets underway online and is billed as the “essential fertility event for those struggling to conceive or on a journey to parenthood.”

Joining Sara-Jayne King on Weekend Breakfast ahead of the show, Saskia Williams, CEO of the Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa and clinical psychologist Mandy Rodrigues has worked in the field of infertility for more than 20 years.

RELATED:[LISTEN] Documentary explores silence around infertility in black communities

Rodrigues says the emotional toll of infertility can be extremely taxing, both on individuals and couples and may affect each partner differently.

Men and women cope quite differently. It can create a void in the marriage.

Mandy Rodrigues, Clinical psychologist – SASREG (Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy)

The men tend to withdraw, although they are also more optimistic and more solution-driven.

Mandy Rodrigues, Clinical psychologist – SASREG (Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy)

They don’t want to address the elephant in the room and we have this phenomenon called ‘independent coping’.

Mandy Rodrigues, Clinical psychologist – SASREG (Southern African Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy)

CEO of IFAASA Saskia Williams, says he and her husband finally realized their dream of becoming a family, via adoption.

She told King, they had a psychological and financial limit on how many times they would try IVF before going to their ‘Plan B’ of adopting.

She suggests other couples do the same:

“You need to have an endpoint. You can’t live your life like this, just on and on forever.

Saskia Williams, CEO – Infertility Awareness Association of South Africa

RELATED:‘Adoption isn’t all rainbows and unicorns, adoption is trauma’ – Adoptee

RELATED:The lifelong complexities of being adopted


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