Learn about the mental health effects of infertility and how to manage them
Patients at our Connecticut fertility center often ask about the mental health effects of infertility. It’s common for patients struggling with infertility to experience shock, sadness, anxiety, frustration and resentment. These emotional struggles can lead to loss of self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of control, in addition to increasing the chance of isolation and tension between partners. While the mental health effects of infertility can feel overwhelming, there are various tools that can help patients reduce stress and manage grief.
Patients experience the mental health effects of infertility in various ways
Understandably, patients unable to become pregnant, or those navigating recurrent pregnancy loss, experience numerous mental health effects. However, each person has a unique mental and emotional response to infertility, and should remember that there is no right or wrong way to feel when trying to build a family.
Depression or anxiety. According to the American Psychiatric Association, up to 40% of women experiencing infertility have a psychiatric diagnosis, such as depression or anxiety. They also find that men and women experiencing infertility have higher levels of anxiety and depression than the general population.
Social and self-stigma. A study published in the International Journal of Fertility and Sterility reported that the social- and self-stigma many women with fertility challenges experience can significantly affect their psychosocial wellbeing and self-esteem.
Isolation. It can be common for those facing infertility to self-isolate as a response to the mental health effects of infertility.
Tension in relationships. Those struggling to conceive sometimes pull away from their relationships with loved ones who are pregnant or new parents. This emotional response to infertility can lead to resentment and tension in some relationships, including the relationship between partners.
However insurmountable the mental and emotional turmoil of infertility might feel, there are numerous resources and practices that can support patients on the path to parenthood.
In addition to providing leading-edge fertility care, our Connecticut fertility center strives to lessen a patient’s stress by always treating them with respect and compassion.
Discover the quality resources and self-care practices that support those with an infertility diagnosis
While it’s common for patients with fertility challenges to put the nurturing of their emotional well-being at the bottom of their to-do list, dedicating time to their emotional response to infertility can have a profound impact. Even doing just one small act of self-care a day can make a difference. These acts of self-care can take many forms.
Counseling. Receiving support from a mental health professional who specializes in infertility can provide patients a safe outlet for their emotional response to infertility. This specialist can also provide customized tools to manage stress, sadness and the other emotional aspects of infertility.
Support groups. Support groups for those struggling to conceive can help individuals feel less alone in their grief and connect with others who can suggest additional resources.
Basic health needs. Committing to eating a healthy diet, drinking at least eight 12-ounce glasses of water every day, and regularly engaging in mild to moderate exercise can lower stress, boost the release of “feel good” hormones and enhance a patient’s overall health.
Mindfulness practices. Patients can soothe the emotional strain of infertility by exploring practices such as meditation, deep breathing, journaling and yoga.
Above all, our Connecticut fertility center urges patients to prioritize their needs and be gentle with themselves as they manage their emotional response to infertility. Our primary goal, through effective tests and treatments, is to help patients reach that amazing day where they welcome a new baby into their family.
Contact us for more information about our fertility services.