The stress of infertility

Finding out you have a fertility problem is stressful. There are various physical and emotional issues you must face and it may be one of the most difficult times in your life. Recognizing the impact infertility and its treatment can have on your emotional well-being is important so that you can take steps to manage your feelings and build your relationship with your partner.

For some couples, the diagnosis of infertility may come as a surprise. For other couples, they may have already suspected or known that they would have difficulty conceiving a child. But despite how unprepared or prepared a couple is about the news, the diagnosis of infertility can be stressful and cause a variety of concerns.

There may be many doctor appointments, which can cause missed days of work or other activities. Couples may feel apprehensive about fertility treatment, out of control over their situation, pressure from family or from each other, and financial stress. These factors make infertility a distressing situation.

Going through the uncertainty of a given fertility treatment can be an emotional roller coaster ride for some couples. For example, you and your partner may be full of high hopes at the beginning of a treatment cycle only to be disappointed when the outcome is negative. Just being concerned over whether or not the fertility treatment will be successful can add to the stress. Some couples may also disagree on what fertility treatment option to try.

Another concern that can add to the stress of infertility is the feeling of losing control. Many people have a plan in their lives to achieve their goals. With fertility problems, there is a possibility that no matter how hard a couple tries, they may not become pregnant – this can make a couple feel a loss of control over their bodies.

Family members may pressure the couple to have children, too. Deciding whether to tell their families about their infertility is also an issue that can add to the stress a couple is experiencing.

Infertility can cause a strain on a couple's relationship, as they may also experience pressure from each other. There may be fear that one partner may leave to find someone who is able to have children. One partner may feel more motivated to succeed in fertility treatment than their other half. Having sex at specific times to increase the chances of conceiving can also be frustrating and stressful to the point that the man may not be able to ejaculate.

Financial stress may be another worry that couples seeking fertility treatment may experience. Fertility treatment can be expensive and insurance may not cover the costs of treatment.

Fertility problems and fertility treatment may not be what you had in mind when you first decided you wanted to have a baby. Realizing that this is a trying time for you can help you cope with the stress you may be feeling.

When going through such an emotional time, it's important to remember that you are not alone. Talk to your partner, learn how to cope with stress, and seek out support through group or couples counselling.

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