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Dating with Fertility Issues

When do you let an intended mate know you are fertility-challenged?

Most of us are not aware that we have fertility issues until we try to have a baby the old-fashioned way. Repeatedly. With no result. And while we go into long-term relationships and marriages hoping for the best, sometimes things just don't work out. So we try to find love again.

So what happens when you know you have fertility issues and you start dating again? At what point do you give "informed consent" that you are fertility-challenged? Do you bring it up after the appetizer? Before dessert? The third date? After dating for a month? And how much do you disclose? After all, you're dating this person - you haven't really talked about spending the rest of your lives together (although it does look really promising with this one).

And you could argue, why disclose it at all until you definitely know that this is turning into a long-term relationship? In this day and age, there are many options available to couples who are not able to carry a pregnancy to term. And you may be wondering, won't you look a little too eager when you bring this up on the third or fourth date?

The time for disclosure depends on your comfort level and your mutual feelings that the two of you are headed towards a long-term relationship. The timing is unique to each person and each relationship. Sometimes you know within the first date that this is The One, and you feel the timing is right for talking about your fertility issues. Sometimes it takes months, or longer. You may have well-meaning friends and family give you advice on when you should talk about your fertility issues. Forget all that. There's no "right" time to disclose fertility issues to a potential mate. Do what feels best for you.

And the reason for disclosure is this: there are people who are not interested in adopting, using assistive reproductive technology (ART), in-vitro fertilization (IVF), gestational carriers, or surrogates. Or they just aren't interested in having children. There can be many different reasons why a person would choose not to go down those paths. And while you may not agree with how they see things, they see things that way nonetheless. Wouldn't you rather know now if you disagree with someone on such an important issue?

Relationships can be challenging enough without disagreeing on baby-making options. Wouldn't you rather know now if someone is not interested in adoption or ART before getting into a long-term committed relationship? I'm not saying you need to get into the nitty-gritty of why you have difficulties with fertility. A simple, "I have fertility issues" will suffice. You'll know by your intended's response whether you want to discuss it further. Trust your instincts.

And don't try to change someone's opinion about this, or figure you'll change their mind in time. When someone tells you who they are, believe them. People don't make choices like this on a whim. Chances are that they've thought it over. Many times the frustration in trying to "change" someone ends in heartbreak for both partners.

And sure, you may not find the right person right away. And yes, your heart may get broken. That is universal whether you have fertility issues or not. It just has an extra-large sting to it when you break up due to fertility issues. You may decide to go ahead with parenting on your own - that is certainly an available option.

When you do find The One, the fertility stuff is a non-issue for your partner. Sure, it may take extra time (and resources) to have kids, but your significant other is willing to go there with you because they love you. Sure they know the details of your fertility struggles, but they see it as a journey the two of you can take together. And one of the best things to hear when you have fertility issues, besides "Congratulations, you're parents", is "We'll find a way."

Copyright 2012 Sarkis Media LLC