How To Deal With The Emotional Impacts Of Infertility

Photo Credit: Nataliya Vaitkevich via

Whilst a lot of people dream for the perfect family unit and having kids when the time is right, many are faced with a harsh reality when it comes to that stage in their life. More often than not people go through conception and pregnancy with little to no complications but sometimes there are couples which run into issues. A lot of the time this happens even before conception and stems from an inability to conceive. Whilst many are shocked by infertility and see it as a hugely damaging piece of news, it is actually way more common than you would think and can be overcome with treatment.


Infertility is often seen as a hugely negative thing in peoples lives, and it can be. But it also doesn’t need to be. Culturally cast aside as a taboo subject, infertility is generally viewed as rogue and an usual stroke of misfortune. The reality is that infertility affects 1 in 7 couples at some point in their lives. It is caused by a multitude of reasons and issues but can be overcome a lot of the time with the right treatment and seeking the right help. Unfortunately, it is not always sunshine and rainbows. There are cases of complete infertility or an inability to respond to treatment which can be painful, sad and hurtful for those going through it.

Physiological issues

The main reason for infertility is usually down to physiological issues. Men and women differ with regards to some causes but generally leading a healthy lifestyle free from substance misuse or obesity helps to aid fertility. When it comes to infertility in general, it is often women who face the brunt of the stick for the condition. Despite this notion, men are just as likely to be suffering from infertility. They often show signs of infertility in their testicles and hormonal changes which can lower sperm counts. For women, their menstrual cycle is often the biggest indicator of infertility. Changes in your period can cause infertility amidst a whole host of other issues. However, the biggest indicator that you or your partner are infertile is after trying to conceive for more than 12 months. If you have failed to do so within 12 months it may be time to head to the doctors, sooner rather than later, to address any potential infertility issues. Infertility can be a direct cause of external physiological issues, but infertility – and the emotional trauma it sometimes brings – can exacerbate individuals’ poor physiological condition also, with many infertility treatments being tough on the body. Accepting that infertility is a physiological issue will aid in coping with the psychological fallout of your condition.

Stress and Mental health deterioration

Whilst often stress can be a big factor in causing infertility, it too can become a big issue when you find out you are infertile. It is of course bad news when couples find this out. Despite the outlook being good for many that are told of their infertility, there is always the chance that this could leave a couple without children. For many this is devastating news and only serves to increase stress around the situation. Grieving the loss of being unable to procreate can be very tough for people. Huge feelings of shock, grief, depression and anger can arise as a result. This can cause relationship breakdowns not only between the couple but those close to both members of the couple. It can lead to further sexual dysfunction, marital conflicts and breakdown of relationships with friends and family. But there are therapies and treatment to help those with infertility and more specifically how to deal with the emotional impact of infertility.


Whilst infertility itself can be tackled using help such as IVF and ICSI treatment, surgery and medication, these options often leave the individual even worse off, with various side effects and a lot of studies show that when undergoing this treatment emotional and mental health issues are often exacerbated. Stress, anxiety, grief and depression can all be attributed to the actual treatment of infertility. Whilst there is no direct evidence to suggest that those going through infertility are more likely to be depressed than anyone else going through a chaotic time in their life, people who have previously suffered from mental ill health battles such as depression and anxiety will often feel these flare up. To deal with the emotional battle of infertility it is common for doctors to suggest therapy – both counselling and psychotherapy, relaxation and healthy living techniques alongside the administering of medication to help. The issue with using these services is that it often interacts both emotionally and physically with infertility treatment so causes clashes with physical health. An example of this is counselling being effective at increasing your chance of infertility being effective at confronting some bad mental health issues you may be suffering from but at the same time, confronting them is in itself a big stressful step which could exacerbate your state and make your chances of fertility less. It’s important to digest the information, identify your feelings and take some time out to realise the situation. This illustrates just how delicate a balance it can be to strike when someone is suffering from infertility.


Whilst it can be a really tough battle and may take several months, most people who suffer from infertility find some sort of resolution. Whether this be solace in not having children, adopting or actually managing to conceive and have children. Many are left scarred from the experience but come out the other end of the tunnel.

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