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Dealing With the Emotional Side of Infertility

Dealing With the Emotional Side of Infertility

This entry was posted in Health FAQs and tagged , on by .

Infertility can be a long and lonely road that doesn’t seem to have any end in sight. Additionally, it’s not something exclusive to those women who have never successfully become pregnant; infertility can affect anyone at any point in their childbearing years. For example, some women who became pregnant with ease earlier in life may later find that pregnancy seems impossible to achieve.

Regardless of how long infertility has lasted when attempt after attempt is unsuccessful, it can be an upsetting experience. For some women, it can seem as if they are destined to continue living the same experience over and over. Science tells us, though, that no matter how many failed attempts you experience, there’s still a chance of conception.

Let’s explore the emotional side of infertility and learn how hope and optimism can prevail.

The Emotional Roller Coaster of Infertility

Amidst all the ups and downs of hopeful optimism and feelings of defeat, women who experience infertility can find themselves at their lowest point. The repeated disappointment alone is enough to affect anyone’s mood, but when you add irrational feelings of failure, guilt, and shame, infertility can start to weigh heavy on your overall well-being. Furthermore, these are just the feelings we impart on ourselves.

Consider the external pressures from partners, parents, friends, news and entertainment media, and even social media; just going to the grocery store can be upsetting when it seems like everyone can reproduce but you. In this way, infertility can affect a woman’s mental health, confidence level, and self-worth.

Unfortunately, this is not an ideal environment for conception. While these feelings are common and are likely temporary, they can be detrimental to both your physical and mental well-being. Staying healthy and positive is optimal for anyone trying to conceive, but the time after an unsuccessful attempt can leave you exasperated and forlorn, awaiting the next window for conception to open.

Then there’s the two-week wait before you can take a pregnancy test. These two weeks can seem like an eternity, especially if you are hyper-obsessed with conceiving and worrying about every possible sign your body is giving you that might indicate you are pregnant. The anticipation and worry over failing again can easily lead to sadness or even anxiety and depression.

Suggested Reading: How to Treat Infertility

Techniques for Dealing with Infertility

If you feel that the emotional rollercoaster of infertility is causing or contributing to anxiety, depression, or both, it is recommended you speak with a professional counselor about how you are feeling. In addition, there are strategies for coping with the emotional stress of infertility that can help you deal with the emotional ups and downs of infertility. There are several recommended techniques that can help ease the emotional impact, alongside scheduling an appointment with Arizona Gynecology Consultants to provide a fresh perspective and insight into your infertility. In the meantime, try some of the following suggested practices.

Identify Feelings and Fears and Acknowledge Them

Keep a journal of your feelings and be honest with yourself. If you’re angry or sad, find a way to express your aggression in a healthy manner. It’s okay to cry; just don’t allow the sadness to consume you. Your feelings are legitimate, and you should not suppress them. Rather, you should release them when you need to and then move on about your day.

Put another way, after you’ve recorded your thoughts and feelings regarding your infertility in a journal, make a point of addressing them briefly and then leaving them there. Constantly rethinking your infertility is not healthy, so set aside a 20-minute time period each day to discuss how you feel with your partner or a friend. When you’re finished, try not to overthink it for the rest of the day.

Explore Healthy Hobbies and Pastimes

Physical activity and enjoyable hobbies

One way to keep your mind off your infertility and improve your mental health is to find active ways to spend your time and make it a point to do things you enjoy. Physical activity and enjoyable hobbies can improve your mood and morale. Physical activity can also be a great way to improve your physical health, expend energy during the day and help you sleep better at night, all of which can help improve your chances of conception. Finding ways to help others can also promote positive feelings and generate happiness within.

Create More Intimacy

If your relationship with your partner has been narrowed down to scheduled sex when it’s time to ovulate, consider the value of creating intimacy. Maintaining intimacy with your partner throughout the month can involve focusing on pleasure, not just conception. Work on maintaining closeness before, during, and after sex, as scheduled sex that is based only on ovulation can lead to feelings of abandonment by both partners. What’s more, intimacy doesn’t have to end with sex. Make a point to spend time being close both in and out of the bedroom to stay connected within your relationship.

Know Infertility Is Not Your Fault

Sometimes, it seems like everyone else can get pregnant without even knowing what luteinizing hormones are, let alone needing to take them to trigger ovulation. It can seem like your body is failing you, and it can be easy to blame yourself for your unsuccessful attempts to conceive. Remember: you didn’t do anything wrong. Allowing negative self-talk to take over and tank your self-esteem is not conducive to conception. The best way to expend your energy is by educating yourself on the facts about infertility and practicing new ways to cope with unsuccessful attempts.

Self-Care Is Essential

Taking time to relax, eat properly, exercise, and sleep well are all ways you can optimize your chances of getting pregnant. A worn-out body that is depleted of energy, vitamins, and nutrients does not create an ideal environment for conception. Take prenatal vitamins and make sure you are getting plenty of folic acid, then participate in activities for health, relaxation, and enjoyment, however that looks for you.

Stay Optimistic But Realistic

It is important to maintain a sense of optimism despite the challenges and setbacks of infertility. Set realistic goals that can provide you with a sense of achievement and also improve your chances of conception, such as eating better or getting more sleep. Achieving these short-term goals can make you feel accomplished and improve your outlook on your situation.

Find Your Flock

Joining a support group

One of the most effective ways to cope with any hardship is to find others who are experiencing the same issues. Joining a support group with other women experiencing infertility can minimize the loneliness and desperation many women feel when trying to conceive for long periods of time. Hearing that others are feeling the same things you are feeling can help you confront the stigma, self-guilt, and shame so often associated with infertility. You can also exchange ideas and learn new things about treatments and methods that can increase fertility. Plus, the ability to relate to another individual is a powerful mood booster.

Explore Your Options – Because You Do Have Options

If you’ve been struggling with infertility on your own, schedule an appointment with a knowledgeable gynecology practice like Arizona Gynecology Consultants. Your doctor can hone in on specific circumstances that may explain why you have not been able to get pregnant. Identifying and addressing an underlying issue may be all it takes to get on the path to optimizing your efforts to get pregnant.

Extenuating Infertility Stressors

While the above tips are great ways to adjust the way you approach thinking about infertility, there are a number of external factors you have much less control over that may create stress. These involve social stressors, financial stressors, and relationship stressors.

Social Stressors

Social stressors include a variety of ways people can make you feel when attending social events at which they are faced with a number of reminders about their infertility. For example, your parents or your partner’s parents may point out how long you’ve been trying to get pregnant in front of others or place pressure on you to have a child soon. Other family members may comment on how everyone else in the family has had a child except you. Social stressors could also involve facing friends, family members, and even strangers who have successfully carried a child while you are still waiting to get pregnant.

If you have discussed your infertility experience with others and have not established your boundaries, they may ask you for updates when you least expect it. In many cases, women aren’t prepared to talk about infertility in casual or public conversations and often would rather not address the subject.

Talking with friend

While it’s important to talk about your experiences and how you’re feeling, and you certainly have nothing to be ashamed of, if you don’t feel comfortable talking about infertility, set boundaries and don’t discuss it. Whether it’s your family, your in-laws, other friends, or strangers, politely change the subject or honestly let them know you would prefer to talk about it at a different time. Depending on your comfort level, you might suggest they call you later to discuss it in private.

Talking to your partner about how you both will respond to friends and family mentioning your infertility will make sure you’re both on the same page. Furthermore, talking about it beforehand and having a plan can allow your partner to save you from those moments when the conversation gets uncomfortable. Just remember to set a firm, clear boundary and stick to it.

Financial Stressors

Depending on your insurance, the root cause of your infertility, and the treatments you choose, infertility can certainly add a medical expense. Of course, the cost is worth it, but that doesn’t eliminate the extra expenses infertility can incur. Whether you realized ahead of time the financial changes fertility treatment would create for your budget or had no idea the potential cost of treatment, infertility almost always means you’ll need to reconsider your budgeting tactics.

If left undiscussed or unaddressed, the financial burden of infertility can weigh heavily on a relationship. Financial changes are normal with any change in your health, but it’s important not to let them come between you and your partner. Talk about ways you can offset the cost of infertility treatments and be practical about budgeting for medical bills. It is also important to maintain sight of the financial costs of infertility and keep in mind the potential expenses related to the multiple-birth pregnancies that are common with treatments like in-vitro fertilization (IVF) may end up costing you more for delivery down the road.

First and foremost, be sure to begin your infertility journey with some clarity regarding the cost of fertility treatments. The average cost of IVF is about $12,000, but depending on the geographical region, it can be significantly higher or lower than these averages. Also, this does not include testing or diagnosis costs. Spending this much money out of your household budget can understandably create stress and problems for couples dealing with infertility. It is important to keep an open line of communication and talk to a professional counselor if it seems to be a problem too big for the two of you to handle.

Relationship Stressors

Pressure from the outside world and from each other can bring about a great deal of stress in a relationship. Make sure you set aside time to nurture your relationship with your partner outside of infertility in order to maintain a loving and intimate relationship throughout your infertility experience. Remember that your partner might be feeling some of the same feelings you are feeling. However, they may not share your exact feelings, and that’s okay.

Relationship Stressors

The important thing is to acknowledge your partner’s feelings are valid and don’t get upset if they don’t have the same reaction you do when attempts fail or new treatments become available. Tell your partner how you feel and be honest about it. If you find you’re having trouble communicating with your partner about your infertility experience, you may want to talk to a mental healthcare provider to obtain marital counseling to get through this difficult time in your relationship.

Fertility Resources

There are so many great resources for women and couples going through infertility. These resources can provide information, support, and help in a variety of ways and cover many facets of the infertility journey. They can also be a great way to educate yourself, your partner, and your friends and family about infertility and what you’re going through personally.

Here are our favorite resources for those experiencing infertility:

Arizona Gynecology Services

maintain hope and positivity through

Above all, make sure you are constantly checking on your mental health, both for yourself and your partner. If you feel overwhelmed, depressed, constantly anxious, or unsafe, speak to a professional immediately. If you’re looking to gain a new perspective on your infertility journey, seek an appointment for Arizona gynecology services. Our approach to infertility and treatment options can help you maintain hope and positivity through one of life’s most daunting journeys.

References :

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3043157/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/baby/glossary-of-fertility-terms
How Stress Can Result in Infertility

The Connection Between Stress and Infertility

This entry was posted in Health FAQs and tagged , on by .

It’s common for women to become stressed as their attempts to conceive continue, but many women are unaware that stress may directly influence their ability to become pregnant. In theory, becoming pregnant is a remarkably simple process. However, for the more than one in five women in the US who continue to experience infertility after a year of trying to conceive, pregnancy can become a complex issue.

Your friends and family may have offered advice with good intentions, and you may even have tried their suggestions to no avail, causing you to become more and more stressed as pregnancy does not occur. What you might not know is that this stress may be contributing to issues with your reproductive health.

Understanding Stress

Stress is defined as our natural physical and mental response to a worrying situation or event. Of course, everyone experiences stress at some level, and we all react to it differently. In any situation you find difficult or uncomfortable, you should expect to feel some amount of stress. Stress isn’t always bad, but chronic stress can cause physical and mental health issues and may even prevent you from participating in activities you enjoy.

When you add the stress of not being able to conceive to the regular stresses in your daily life, it’s easy to see how stress and infertility can be a vicious cycle. These issues can cause women to experience negative mental health symptoms like depression or anxiety or even isolate themselves from friends and family. When dealing with stress and infertility, it’s important to find healthy ways to manage stress and address the root cause of your infertility.

It’s important to note that you are not alone. Nearly 12 percent of married women have problems conceiving or sustaining a pregnancy. The same study notes that women should have a strong support system throughout their treatment for infertility. While difficulty conceiving can be stressful, with proper counseling and support, you can improve your overall mental and physical health and boost your chances of achieving pregnancy.

How Stress Impacts a Woman’s Reproductive System

It is important to note that while stress itself isn’t the sole cause of infertility, it can significantly affect your overall health, including your reproductive system. For example, you must be ovulating to become pregnant; however, when you become stressed, stress hormones are released and begin to disrupt the signal between the brain and ovaries. This can interfere with ovulation, preventing you from being able to conceive.

Stress can also disrupt or halt your periods, and this irregularity can make it difficult to time your attempts to conceive. In addition, you may experience stress-related conditions that affect the pH balance in the vaginal area, leading to yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis, and more. These conditions may not directly cause infertility, but if left untreated, they can seriously affect your reproductive health.

There are several other aspects of your reproductive health that may be affected by stress over infertility.


Sex can be a great source of stress relief, and for couples not using in vitro fertilization (IVF), it is essential for conception. However, work, infertility, and other life matters can prevent you from having the time or energy to have sex, increasing your stress.

planning sex around your ovulation

One solution to consider is to stop planning sex around your ovulation with the goal of becoming pregnant and go back to having sex for mutual pleasure, connection, and fun. Reducing the pressure surrounding sex can help you get back to enjoying this time spent with your partner and reduce the stress it causes. Another idea is to change up the timing of when you’re having sex with your partner to keep things fun and allow yourself to have sex when you want it versus when you believe you should have it.


Lack of sleep can impact anyone’s mental, emotional, and physical health. As mentioned, stress and lack of sleep can cause irregularities in your menstrual cycle, which can cause difficulty conceiving. Not sleeping enough can also make you more tired throughout the day and can cause depression and anxiety, leading to decreased libido.

If you’re struggling to sleep enough due to stress, there are a few strategies to consider:

  • Avoid using your phone or computer right before sleeping
  • Drink herbal tea before bed and avoid caffeine
  • Use your bed strictly for sleeping and sex
  • Don’t include a TV or workstation in your bedroom

By improving your sleep, you’ll feel more energized throughout the day, and your menstrual cycles may become more normal.


It’s incredibly common for stressed individuals to eat more favorite foods in an attempt to cope. However, gaining weight as a result of increased stress and poor diet may affect your fertility. While the cause is still not fully understood, overweight women are less likely to conceive. Weight also impacts male fertility, as being overweight can cause a male’s sperm count to drop.

Eating Healthy

On the other hand, being underweight can also impact your reproductive system. If you’re significantly underweight, you could suffer from amenorrhea, which means you lack a menstrual cycle. Without a menstrual cycle, you won’t ovulate, meaning you can’t become pregnant.

To combat the excessive weight gain or excessive weight loss that can prevent pregnancy, consider addressing stress and eating a balanced diet. Look for whole foods like lean proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats.


Exercise is known to promote a healthy weight while also functioning to reduce your stress. If you can exercise for at least two and a half hours every week, you’re doing enough to stay healthy. If you’re overweight, diet and exercise are great strategies to keep your weight in a good range to improve your fertility. It’s equally important not to overdo your exercise routine, as too much can make you tired and sore, both of which can affect your ability to conceive.

Exercise can provide several benefits even outside of improved reproductive health, including:

  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Improves sleep
  • Reduces your odds of suffering from heart disease
  • Improves your energy throughout the day
  • Releases stress

What to Avoid When You Want to Conceive

While humans have created many ways of reducing stress, not all of them are healthy, particularly if you’re looking to become pregnant. Avoid these common ways of combating stress if you’re trying to conceive.


Alcohol should be avoided when trying to conceive. It may be natural to want a drink when you’re stressed, but alcohol can increase women’s risk for miscarriage. For men, alcohol can negatively influence sperm count. Both you and your partner should refrain from alcohol while trying to conceive.


Smoking is another common way people relieve stress, though it is much less prevalent than it was in the past. However, smoking and exposure to your partner’s smoke can negatively impact the vital hormones essential for reproduction and can actively damage components of the reproductive system. In addition, nicotine can damage the DNA in your partner’s sperm.


While you don’t need to avoid caffeine entirely, you should avoid drinking a large amount daily. High caffeine intake may cause you to take longer to become pregnant and can also increase your risk of miscarriage. In addition, pregnant women are advised to abstain from high doses of caffeine because it may lead to low birth weight. If you drink more than one or two cups of coffee per day, cutting back may help.

Suggested Reading: Infertility Q&A

Reducing Stress to Increase Chance of Pregnancy

Infertility can be a daunting situation for any woman, and it’s normal to have questions or concerns regarding how you’re approaching it. As mentioned, when you feel stressed while experiencing infertility, it’s important to make lifestyle changes to decrease stress and increase your odds of getting pregnant. Fortunately, there are several other things you can do to manage your stress and improve your fertility.

Speak With a Counselor or Therapist

The last thing you want to do when you’re stressed is to bottle it up and let it get worse. If you need to speak with a professional about your emotional and mental state, consider meeting with a counselor or therapist. This gives you the freedom to fully express how you’re feeling about your infertility and what’s causing you to stress and begin to address ways to tackle both.



Many women choose to participate in yoga to release stress and improve physical health. Performing certain yoga postures releases tension in the body and encourages you to focus on your breathing, both excellent methods of reducing stress. Yoga also teaches you to take care of your body, which is easy to forget in your typical daily life.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of focusing on the present moment, not prior mistakes or potential situations. By focusing on something in the present moment, you spend less time worrying about what may happen in the future. Pregnancy and infertility can both become stressful for women, and it’s easy to ruminate over thousands of possibilities but focusing on what’s truly important right now can provide you with perspective and reduce stress.

Write Down Your Thoughts

Write Down Your Thoughts

It’s natural to want to bottle up your emotions and thoughts pertaining to infertility, and you may not be processing these thoughts rationally. By writing them down, you’re able to see what you’re thinking from a different angle. If you’re meeting with a therapist, you can bring in your writing for the therapist to better understand how you think.

Writing daily can help you process what you’re going through and identify negative thought patterns as well as ways you’re exacerbating your stress. Keeping your thoughts contained within can only increase your stress, and if you’re not quite ready to talk about them with others, write them down in a personal journal.

Suggested Reading: What Can You Do About Low Estrogen Levels?

Schedule a Wellness Exam to Learn More

A wellness exam can illuminate factors that may be affecting your conception journey. Arizona Gynecology Consultants are proud to assist women with various women’s health problems, including infertility. We’ve seen the effects stress can have on reproductive health, which is why we’re committed to helping women manage their stress levels, identify the root causes of infertility, and manage both.

There’s no shame in infertility, feeling stressed about conceiving, or anything else related to women’s health. Having trouble conceiving is common and doesn’t mean you’re less than anyone else. For women who have spent years trying to become pregnant, stress may be among the underlying reasons for your struggle. Stress and infertility are challenging to address, but we can help.

We’ll assess your situation and work diligently to provide the resources and education you need to stay healthy and pursue pregnancy, however that looks for you. If you’d like to schedule a wellness exam, contact our team today.

References :

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6016043/
  2. https://www.webmd.com/baby/features/infertility-stress
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4456969/
  4. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/infertility/index.htm
  5. https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2019/08/stress-anxiety
  6. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S1743609515301442?via%3Dihub