Psychology of Infertility

The psychological impact of infertility should not be overlooked in couples undergoing fertility treatment. Studies have shown stress contributes to infertility, and there is also a psychological component to fertility treatment as well.

 

Stress & the Psychology of Infertility

We now know stress plays a key role in infertility. Recent research has revealed that stress can delay conception in otherwise healthy women.Stress can also occur as a result of infertility. One scientific study showed that the stress women feel due to infertility is comparable to that experienced by individuals suffering from a serious medical condition such as cancer or heart disease.

 

Psychology of Infertility for Women& Men

It is not unusual for couples struggling with infertility to experience feelings of loss, anxiety, depression and isolation.  The psychological impact of infertility is very real and affects both men and women, although somewhat differently.

In women, infertility may trigger self-esteem issues, guilt and sadness. A woman may also have anxiety related to fertility treatment therapies and procedures. Hormonal changes can super-charge emotions, making it difficult to handle even small hurdles and challenges.

Men diagnosed with male factor infertility may seethe diagnosis as a threat to their masculinity or worry they won’t be able to continue their family genetic line.

Relationships can suffer if couples start to see sexual intercourse as a mandatory requirement performed on schedule rather than a loving act. Financial strain, different opinions on how far to continue fertility treatment and shifts in the dynamics of the relationship can also contribute to the stress and psychological challenges of infertility.

 

Psychological Counseling during Infertility Treatment

To help couples cope with the emotional stress caused by infertility treatment, reproductive endocrinologists sometimes encourage patients to seek mental health assistance. The following symptoms indicate the need for psychological support:

 

 

Psychologists who specialize in helping individuals and couples who are experiencing difficulty in coping with infertility treatment can offer tremendous support and guidance to such patients.

Trained mental health professionals help patients in various ways, including learning to navigate the emotional challenges of fertility treatment by:

 

 

If you are experiencing difficulty dealing with the psychological impact of infertility treatment, ask your fertility specialist to recommend a mental health professional who specializes in infertility. You can also locate a support group near you by contacting a national organization such as Resolve or The American Fertility Association.

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