We have often heard, read and learned about how infertility affects the mental well-being of a person. Infertility is a medical condition that can impact every part of the body, including the mind. Millions of people and couples have fertility issues that can significantly impact their mental health. Some cases have also come up when couples are undergoing infertility treatment, as the procedure is stressful.
A woman’s inability to get pregnant can cause depression, stress, anxiety, and anger, leading to signs like low self-esteem, self withdrawal from social life, and poor quality of life. The fertility medications administered during the rounds of infertility treatment can also add to the mental stress.
In short, it is not only infertility that is stressful, but the hormonal medications also negatively influence mental health, causing sleep disturbances, hot flashes, sex drive issues, depression, anxiety, and more.
In this Article
- 1 Infertility and Mental Health: The consequences
- 2 Why is Mental Health Important?
- 3 How to Improve Mental Health during fertility treatment?
- 4 Conclusion
- 5 Frequently Asked Questions
Infertility and Mental Health: The consequences
Infertility brings in signs of sadness and loss for many aspiring couples. And rounds of unsuccessful infertility treatments add to the agony and pain. In a study of 200 couples, who visited the fertility clinic, more than half of the women and 15% of the men expressed that infertility was the most upsetting experience of their lives.
For men, their less expressed emotional pain is much higher than their less experienced physical pain. And for women, it’s the pain and the social stigma they face due to infertility.
A woman, due to her varied reasons for infertility, takes in hormonal treatment that can affect her mood. Though the effect varies among individuals, mostly they undergo sleep disturbances, depression, sex drive interruptions, and anxiety, among many other symptoms. According to a new study, women undergoing fertility treatments may be distressed with the situation and develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While their body undergoes tremendous physical stress and transformations, their psychological stress levels are increasing. In such situations, try to seek help from family, friends, and support groups. Also, connect with a fertility counsellor or a psychologist who can help you move out of uncanny situations.
Why is Mental Health Important?
Infertility treatments are extensive hormone medications that can impact the psychological conditions of a person. A systematic review by Gameiro et al. revealed that the mental burden stemming from the treatment has been one of the main reasons for the discontinuation of infertility treatment. And many other studies have time and again shown how infertility, infertility treatments, or interventions influence extreme psychological constraints.
The infertility treatment process is not an easy ride. It will have hiccups and bumps of physical, mental, emotional, and financial stress. For a few, fertility treatment may be a short ride with the early benefit of having children, while for some, a long-enduring process.
In any scenario, a stable mindset and being mentally strong and fit are the key elements for a successful fertility treatment journey. And so, reviving the mental status, bringing a positive attitude, and strengthening emotions are pivotal.
How to Improve Mental Health during fertility treatment?
Infertility is a medical problem that can affect every part of your being. It can negatively impact your approach to life and how you feel about yourself while straining the relationships with your near and dear ones. Infertility must not be treated just as a reproductive condition but needs a holistic treatment approach.
- The first thing you need to do is accept the way you are and accept and come to terms with the condition you have.
- If you are facing a rough patch with your loved ones or family, fixing your relations is another necessity.
- Seek help from your family, friends, support groups, medical team, and experts, who can help you while you deal with extreme emotional distress.
- For many, fertility counselling has proven to be of great help, especially when considering donor treatment options.
- If you are an avid reader, books can be a great source of insights, knowledge, and relaxation.
- If you are a workaholic, you must take a break from work and try to reconsider things before you move ahead with the rounds of infertility treatments.
- Support groups and educational sessions help you cope with depression, loneliness, and other mental sufferings. It also helps learn and share personal experiences with people dealing with fertility issues.
- Hobbies are an excellent way to stimulate your creative mind and suppress the emotional string. Inculcating a new hobby or participating in group activities like music therapies, cooking, yoga sessions, gardening, and painting classes, can be beneficial.
- New things are always fascinating. Try new things, consider new aspects, and expand the common horizons that may help you and your partner rebalance your lives and prepare for fertility treatment.
Infertility can negatively impact mental health in couples aspiring to have children. And infertility treatments involving sequential events of fertility medications, assessments, and check-ups can cause depression, loss, agony, and grief that can negatively impact fertility outcomes. Hence, mental health counselling is an important aspect of fertility treatment while the patient can also work out to cope with the psychological distress.
Do not hesitate to connect with your fertility counsellor or doctor to know more about ways to combat mental health issues during fertility treatment.
Frequently Asked Questions
Review literature on the prevalence of psychological symptoms in infertility showed that 25% to 60% of infertile individuals experience psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Fertility counselling is known to play a significant role in treating infertility. The fertility counsellor counsels the couples during their fertility treatment process to create transparency between the medical care expert and the patient. These counselling sessions help reduce distress, and emotional turmoil, favouring a smooth fertility treatment.
Rounds of unsuccessful fertility treatments can cause deep grief, loss, depression, and distress among women and couples undergoing fertility treatments.