Lisa Riley’s relationship survived IVF – will yours? What if you had to choose between your relationship and IVF?

When celebrities like Emmerdale’s Lisa Riley speak honestly about their IVF experience, it’s a chance for us all to understand the unique challenges of this process. What can we learn from Lisa’s journey?

Staying positive despite infertility

Sadly Lisa was not able to get pregnant with IVF, and she has ended her treatment with no view to trying again. She has an inspiring take on this stage of her life, and it’s well worth considering, even for those who haven’t come to the end of their fertility journey. 

What if IVF doesn’t work?

No one who is undergoing IVF wants to consider for a moment that it might not work out – but statistically, the process won’t be successful for everyone. While we can’t see the pain and turmoil this may have caused her in private, she has made a very positive statement about her life as it currently stands:

“I am so blessed with my wonderful nephews and nieces and godchildren and we have taken full ownership of our life. I may not have 2.4 kids and a dog but I have a beautiful bloody life. I wouldn’t change it for the world, I’m so lucky.”

Anyone who undergoes fertility treatment will know – it’s possible to be very brave and positive sometimes, and at other times feel as if you’re completely falling apart. However, focusing on the good things in your life, that will still exist whether you manage to get pregnant or not, is a healthy way to keep things in perspective. This is particularly important in a relationship.

Feeling gratitude for your partner and your life together

This is not an easy thing to do when fertility treatment is so all-consuming (and often expensive), but it is worth counting your blessings often, as cheesy as that might sound! Appreciating your partner and taking time to enjoy your life together, can really help to balance out the immense stress of fertility treatment.

Case study: trying to get pregnant for 12 years

man and woman holding baby shows betwee them illustrating relationship and IVF

Carla from Leicestershire, who has been trying for a baby for 12 years, and is about to start her first ICSI cycle, recommends staying open and honest about your feelings, as problems can fester in a relationship if they are not shared openly. She has found fertility counselling as a couple particularly helpful and recommends planning nice things to do together that are nothing to do with fertility. 

“Men and women process things differently, and if needed, you can say you need more emotional support from your partner. In time they get more in tune to you, and you no longer have to say it – it just happens!”

Regarding the different communication styles between men & women, Carla also sensibly points out that some men like to have fertility discussions in one go, and then that’s it for that occasion. They can then process it & move on with their day without “filling their brain with fertility stuff.”

Recognising the stress that IVF can cause in a relationship

Lisa Riley was very honest and open about the effect that IVF and fertility issues, in general, had on her relationship. This was one of the factors that influenced her decision not to undergo further treatment.

She said that her partner Al had “Lost the girl he fell in love with” due to the stressful nature of the treatment, and many IVF couples can relate to that statement.

The stress of IVF does eventually pass, and a strong relationship can often survive all kinds of stress.
No relationship is completely bullet-proof, however. Hormones, physical pain and discomfort, the rollercoaster of emotions and the financial pressure of IVF can take a toll on even the strongest partnerships.
It’s up to every individual and couple to make their own decisions about whether to keep going on their fertility journey, change course, or simply stop when they have gone as far as they can.
Both Lisa Riley and our case study Carla have thought deeply about their relationship when they have made decisions about their fertility treatment, and they are both being true to themselves as they deal with their fertility struggles.