Does Stress Cause Infertility?
Many women and men with infertility face comments from family and friends that suggest a link between stress and infertility. Comments such as, “You just need to relax, and it will happen,” are increasingly common and put those dealing with infertility in a tough spot, torn between explaining why their diagnosis is due to a legitimate medical condition or going along with the idea that the only reason they haven’t conceived is because of stress. This can be deeply frustrating, and difficult to demonstrate to well-meaning family and friends.
Stress and infertility
Stress can play a role in infertility, but it is likely not the only reason you cannot conceive. Most infertility is due to a medical condition of the female, male or both partners. However, stress can further compound attempts to conceive. Stress, anxiety and depression affect everyone differently, and some people are more prone than others to bodily reactions to stress. Stress affects our hormones. For women, this may mean you are ovulating less or differently while under increased stress. For men, stress affects sperm production. You can imagine how stress may negatively impact attempts to conceive if both partners are equally stressed or anxious about getting pregnant.
What you can do
There is good news: in addition to treatment for infertility and infertility-causing medical conditions, there are concrete steps you can take to help ease your stress levels. Of course, this will vary from person to person – everyone’s lives are different, and we all face different demands from our careers and personal lives. Simple steps like getting more sleep, consuming a well-balanced diet, staying active, and spending more time outside are all proven stress relievers. Many fertility specialists also recommend that those seeking fertility treatment join a fertility support group, whether in person or online. Fertility support groups allow you talk as little or as much as you’d like about your experience in a setting where your fellow group members know exactly what you’re going through and can provide advice through each step of your family-building journey.
If you believe stress may play a role in your inability to conceive or wish to discuss further how stress can affect your treatment plan, we invite you to contact Washington Fertility Center directly to learn more.