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physological impact of infertility

The Psychological Impact of Infertility

According to CDC about 19% (1 in 5) of the population in the US struggle with infertility. Long-term failure to have a child could cause severe emotions such as grief, anger, anxiety, and embarrassment. Coping with difficult healthcare decisions and the emotions involved in the process can affect several areas of one’s life. It can affect marital, friends and family relationships. It is critical to learn how to manage feelings, seek the help you need, so perspective on life is as positive as possible. Coping with the emotional struggles of medical treatment and anxiety about results, as well as choices, is one of the most stressful facets of infertility treatment. Inability to get or keep pregnancy can be the most difficult emotional crises that a family encounter together.
Here are some possible psychological effects of infertility challenges that both men, and women, may experience:

Social Isolation

The news that you may be infertile may hurt your status quo, developing a feeling of embarrassment. This can be further agitated if people around you wait for ‘the news’, resulting in anxiety and nervousness. As a result, people dealing with infertility, or miscarriage often choose to isolate themselves from their social groups to avoid embarrassing questions and discussions.


Loss of Self-Worth

Not being able to procreate when wished can leave an individual feeling a void in their lives, as if an aspect of their life is incomplete. According to Karine Bertram, a psychotherapist in New York, “this often results in guilt, and people start blaming themselves for the loss, therefore affecting their sense of self-worth. This sensation only aggravates with time, leading to severe emotional disorders such as depression, mood swings, and loss of interest in routine activities.” However, effective intervention is necessary to mitigate the risks of emotional disorders.


Uncontrolled Anger

It’s not uncommon to experience anger at random pregnant females or parents with little kids. Sometimes frustration affects marital life. This happens because anger is usually an expression of sadness. Where there is anger, sorrow looms.


Dealing with infertility

Coping with infertility is an intense experience, so it is crucial to acknowledge those emotions rather than suppress them. Once the couple realizes that they are unable to have a child naturally, it becomes difficult to share the feelings constructively. In that case, it’s helpful to consult with an infertility expert and a mental health provider to help the patient to become more open to evaluate the family-building alternatives. Overcoming treatment failure or miscarriage is challenging, and there is no shame in seeking support if you and your spouse are experiencing significant stress and remorse because of this journey.


How a Psychotherapist can help

Some studies have shown a relationship between anxiety, depression and infertility. It is still unclear if one causes the other, but some studies have shown that anxiety can prolong the time needed to achieve pregnancy. You probably heard people saying that after they felt mentally stable, or had decided to adopt, they became pregnant.

A psychotherapist can help:

  • To restructure the patient cognitive thinking
  • To normalize this traumatic experience
  • To provide support and stress management tools to decrease anxiety or depression
  • To understand the impact of the relationship of mind and body
  • To help patient to consider alternatives
  • To make this challenge less burdening and traumatic to marital life.

Support Groups are also helpful, addressing the sense of loneliness and helplessness, increasing hope and self-esteem.

January 20, 2023