Infertility can be a stressful experience. Not being able to achieve pregnancy through natural means and not having the experience of parenthood can be a challenging phase in a couple’s life. In almost all cases, infertility, and the eventual treatment to achieve pregnancy, can cause stress, which, if left unchecked, may cause severe mental issues, including depression. It is vital to find mechanisms for coping with infertility since stress and fertility are related.
Coping with Infertility: Identifying the Problem is Half the Battle Won
Infertility is defined by the inability to achieve pregnancy after a year of unprotected sex. Infertility is fast becoming a global public health issue. In the U.S., around 1 in every 5 women (19%) of childbearing age suffers from infertility. Infertility also affects males and roughly half the cases are attributed to male infertility.
Infertility usually starts with confusion and frustration. As a couple, if you have decided to start a family and are trying to achieve pregnancy, the inability to get pregnant can be a frustrating experience. Couples usually approach fertility specialists after a year. Most women believe that the problem lies with them. But many couples fail to realize that male infertility is also a possibility and can be a contributing (or sole) factor.
The first thing you should do is to identify the problem by consulting your fertility specialist. The clinic will assess the causes of infertility by running a few tests. These tests include male and female infertility tests. Male infertility can be detected through semen testing and other tests, while female infertility tests include blood tests and imaging tests (X-ray and ultrasound examination).
A lot of clarity can come once the problem is identified and your fertility specialists create a strategy to help you achieve pregnancy. At Dreams Fertility, we understand that no two cases are the same, and after a careful and meticulous assessment, we design a customized strategy for your fertility treatment so that you can realize your dream of starting a family.
How Mental Stress can Hamper Your Fertility Journey
Infertility treatment can be a bit overwhelming to some people or couples, therefore causing stress. Persistent stress can impact your mental and physical well-being. And because you are trying to achieve pregnancy, which in itself is a complex physiological process, if you are mentally and physically not in the right shape, it may have a negative impact on your ability to achieve pregnancy. And that is the reason you need to find coping strategies to manage your stress in order to ease the process of achieving pregnancy through assisted reproductive technologies.
Apart from the personal stress an individual or couple may experience due to having to seek fertility treatment, there are other things that might compound their stress level.
Society has placed some norms on how a woman’s life should be. There is a timeframe for getting married and having kids. If the baby isn’t coming, friends and family members, even well-meaning ones, will eventually say things that may add to stress.
Both partners respond differently to infertility. And because the popular perception is that infertility is a “woman’s problem,” it invariably puts extra stress on the female partner. In many relationships, the partner “at fault” becomes a source of passively directed anger and resultant relationship strain.
Infertility treatment is costly and can put a major strain on the finances of the couple. The average price of a single IVF cycle costs anywhere between $10,000 to $25,000. At Dreams Fertility, we offer custom treatment options with clear and transparent pricing. We offer a one-of-a-kind exclusive financing program with multiple loan plans, including 0% and low-interest terms exclusively for our patients. Our financing program is built with the latest technology that integrates with our clinical system to help make your experience seamless and easy throughout your entire treatment. We also have special packages for teachers, active and former military, police officers, and firefighters.
The Relationship Between Fertility and Mental Health
It is no secret that our mental and physical health are inextricably linked with each other. This follows that when we are stressed, our mental health suffers, which, eventually, affects our physiological health, making it harder to achieve pregnancy. Abnormal hormone production that affects ovulation and an imbalanced immune function may result in decreased fertility.
In short, infertility leads to stress, and stress makes it difficult for assisted reproduction to succeed. While the exact ways in which a disturbed mental state may affect fertility are still not well-established, some studies have revealed that women who are able to manage their stress better during their fertility treatment have a better chance of a successful outcome and achieving pregnancy.
Ways to Cope with Infertility-Related Stress
The first step after you have been diagnosed with infertility is to acknowledge that treatment will be, somewhat time-consuming and a bit overwhelming. Acknowledgment of this fact will help you prepare yourself mentally for the treatment road ahead. Also, it is okay to feel grief about the situation and acknowledge these feelings as natural. If you do not express your feelings, it may cause further mental distress that could lead to physical problems. Do not waste time and energy blaming yourself (or your partner) for the problem. Infertility may be due to a myriad of reasons. Use the time and energy to find meaningful solutions to solve the problem.
2. Team Up With Your Partner
Remember that you’re not alone in this. Your partner is feeling as bad as you are and you have to team up with each other, be honest with each other, and support one another through the entire journey. Having a least one person by your side gives you a lot of comfort and assurance to move confidently forward. Also, try to re-establish intimacy with your partner. It is easy for romance and intimacy to be forgotten or lost during this time. Intimacy doesn’t have to be sexual – moments of togetherness are often enough to strengthen the bond, feel loved, and break emotional barriers.
3. Build Your Circle of Support
Research suggests that individuals who discuss their infertility with a group of close people and seek help and emotional support from friends and family they trust, deal better with emotional distress. While having the support of your partner is important, it might not be enough as infertile couples can use added support from friends who will understand their struggles to start a family and provide advice, comfort, and strength. You can also reach out to support groups that can be a treasure-trove of information and added support from people going through similar experiences.
4. Practice Self-care
Appreciate the fact that you are the most important person in this journey. Infertility treatment and assisted reproduction, as mentioned, can quickly get overwhelming. Under such circumstances, taking care of yourself – your mental and physical health – is paramount. Get enough sleep, eat well, find time to exercise daily, try meditation and other calming exercises, and find quality alone time and time to spend with your support system – your close friends and family.
5. Consult a Specialist
While you should most importantly consult a fertility clinic, you must also consider seeking guidance from a mental health professional to help make sense of your feelings and get clarity on managing stress, reexamining goals, and setting realistic targets. A fertility care team will help you understand your exact problem and then chart out a strategy to solve it. At Dreams Fertility, our expert team with years of experience solving a variety of fertility challenges will create a customized program to address your specific problems. We will be your team throughout your fertility journey – a team you can trust and rely on completely. We will make you a proactive partner in your journey, and you will be in control of all the decisions you take based on our expert guidance.
Coping with infertility is vital because fertility and mental health are connected. And positive mental health goes a long way in resolving many physiological issues that may hamper your chances of getting pregnant.
The advances in assisted reproductive technologies, like IUI and in vitro fertilization, have made it possible for difficult cases of infertility to end in the birth of a child. Many couples have experienced the joys of parenthood, coming a long way from the distress they experienced when they first learned about their infertility issues. At Dreams Fertility, we use the latest medical protocols specifically customized for your personal needs and our years of experience treating all kinds of infertility cases to help you realize your dream of welcoming a child into your life.
To understand the Dreams difference, schedule a consult with a Dreams Fertility physician today.
Dr. Luis Murrain joined Dreams Fertility in 2021, providing specialty services in Fertility and Reproductive Genetics. With a shared vision that everyone deserves to have the family of their dreams, we are dedicated to helping all of our patients. We believe that families come in all shapes and sizes, and all of them are beautiful. We are proud to have a long history of providing services to all, including gay, lesbian, and transgender individuals and couples on their road to parenthood.