The difficulty of having children generates a major crisis in the life of a couple.
It is unclear whether stress affects fertility, but infertility has been shown to cause high levels of stress. The way each one reacts to stress can amplify the problem and generate either a huge emotional pressure during the treatments, or on the contrary, giving up.
Infertility often means a silent struggle associated with isolation, depression, anxiety, lack of control, feelings of guilt or shame. Infertility stress is comparable to that of cancer and lasts for years. Many couples do not tell family and friends what they are going through.
Reducing stress helps on multiple levels. It allows the objective analysis of options, rational decision making, maintaining health and family and social relationships. Stress management will improve quality of life, well-being and a sense of control during treatments.
Strategies for coping with stress caused by infertility
- Identify solutions and get actively involved in achieving the goal
- Think rationally at the expense of emotional reactions
- Avoid stressors – e.g. environments in which there are pregnant women
- Involves the partner – the reaction of one partner influences the other
- Find motivation and support to change your lifestyle and habits
- Get involved in time-consuming activities that bring satisfaction or well-being
- Focus on what is good and positive in the world and in your life!
The most recommended methods of stress reduction
- Aerobics, running, hiking
- Listening to music
- The read
- Massage and muscle relaxation techniques
- Participation in support groups
- Psychological or behavioral therapy
- Keeping a written or video diary
How do you help friends or relatives who are experiencing infertility?
- Don’t tell them they’re too stressed
- Don’t tell them to relax
- Ask them what they do and how you can help them
- Listen to them and be available to them
- Suggest concrete ways to relax
How do we know if a person is at risk for emotional problems?
SCREENIVF – validated tool for assessing risk factors for emotional problems
Where can you find support?
- The family
- Dedicated books or movies
- Support groups
- Specialists in counseling or psychotherapySupport groups for patients with fertility problemsSOS Infertility infertility.com
Fertility Europe fertilityeurope.eu
Resolve US resolve.org
Organizations that support single women to become mothers
Choice Moms choicemoms.org
Single Mothers by Choice singlemothersbychoice.org
Website to support men with erectile dysfunction
Frank Talk FrankTalk.org
When do you need counseling or specialized psychotherapy?
- Diseases that can affect fertility – cancer, chronic diseases
Medical procedures involving donors
Procedures with little chance or repeated previous failures
Depression, anxiety, excessive sadness, feelings of guilt
Excessive concern for the problem of fertility, which affects life
Blockages in making further decisions
Social isolation and loss of interest in activities
Problems in the couple’s relationship
Difficulty concentrating, appetite, sleep, weight
Tendency to overuse alcohol, energizers or medicationsSharing feelings in a safe environment with a person who does not judge you has a strong therapeutic effect.Do not hesitate to ask for the help of specialists!