I have the good fortune of speaking with my colleague and friend today, Dr. Erica Berman, who developed a specialty of working with couples who are going through infertility treatment. 

Even if this isn’t your reality, the subject applies to almost any relationship, as it really highlights the challenges couples can face. When dealing with something as involved as this process, it can affect all aspects of a couple’s life, including schedule, finances, sex lives, communication, social life, physical health, family, and the list goes on. 

The reason this can apply to all of our relationships is that it is an example of a perfect storm of demands on the attachment bandwidth. There are, of course, other factors involved in a human relationship. One of the gifts of my conversation with Erica is that she zeroes in on some of the specific challenges that couples need to consider when going through this process.

The infertility treatment process is something really hard for others to understand so it’s important to talk about it and to walk around in the complexity of it, and bring to light the normal and understandable ways that this confounds relationships that can often bring up a lot of fear and confusion. These challenges that creep up in our lives put our models of relationship and self to the test. Not only should we expect them, but we should also treat them as part and parcel of the maturational process. 


I wanted to do this podcast to continue my goal of bringing us together in our human experience. My hope, though, is that by stretching ourselves to inhabit the complexity of experience of others and challenges in life that rip us from our comfort zones, that we will be better equipped to love and be loved, and less prone to turn on ourselves if life hits a bumpy road.


I didn’t expect Erica’s intensity at times, particularly around the lack of understanding that men have for this invasive, and often exhausting process in women. I got worried that some of my male listeners may feel put into a box. But I think it’s important to hold the tension and realize that the truth is like most truths – complex and multifaceted. 

Hopefully, Erica’s insight, experience and truth will wash over us because it feels important. And sometimes, things need to be uncomfortable to affect change. There’s growing to do so we can be more sensitive to each other, and get over our own limitations and understanding. 

In this episode, you will hear:

  • How Erica got into the infertility space
  • Why there’s conflict between couples going through infertility
  • The common challenges related to infertility
  • Why Erica tries to normalize the process when talking to couples
  • The #1 reason couples go see fertility clinics
  • The stigma around male infertility issues
  • Expanding your mindset of what family really means
  • Why fertility treatment is a very draining and emotional process
  • How to effectively communicate with your partner and show empathy
  • The need to detach from traditional ideas such as gender roles

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Mitchell Smolkin is a sought-after clinician, speaker, and author. For media and interview requests please contact his publicist Randy Phipps at randy@rpcommunications.net. For all other inquiries, please send mail to info@mitchellsmolkin.com.