The Psychological Toll of Infertility

The road to family building is unique and can also be complex for many individuals and couples. 1 in 6 heterosexual couples struggle with infertility worldwide.

Infertility is something that touches almost every aspect of a person’s life. Whether the struggle to grow your family has been a short journey or a lengthy one, you likely have encountered feelings of overwhelm along the way. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine states that “involuntary childlessness due to infertility can profoundly impact people’s lives, causing medical, social, economic and psychological harm.”

Difficulties with fertility can interfere with your sense of well being and can evoke significant feelings of loss. While everyone’s experience is unique, there are quite a few things that many individuals and couples describe as consequences of their fertility struggles.

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • social isolation
  • relationship problems
  • anger
  • jealousy / envy
  • diminished self-esteem
  • sexual dysfunction

A recent study published in April 2022 showed that relationships, daily activities and overall mental health is affected by infertility. It also revealed that 60% of the participants believed that a diagnosis of infertility and treatment impacted their mental health while 1 in 3 indicated that their relationship suffered because of their infertility. Infertility challenges have real consequences and if not managed well can lead to long term mental health struggles.

Besides the gut wrenching experience of not being able to build a family how and when you want, people facing fertility challenges have additional stressors to contend with.

  • learning about various treatment options
  • making decisions for treatment
  • assessing costs and risks of treatment
  • dealing with effects of treatment failure
  • deciding when to stop treatment
  • learning how to talk about your challenges with family and friends
  • lack of support
  • addressing and managing grief and emotional ups and downs

Wherever you are on your family building journey, know that you are not alone. You are deserving of community and support. Don’t hesitate to contact me so we can work together on building a toolbox of coping skills to better manage the stressors associated with fertility challenges.

Kerri-Anne Brown

Kerri-Anne Brown

Hi, I'm Kerri-Anne and I'm a licensed mental health counselor in Orlando, FL. I help individuals and couples who are living with fertility challenges, perinatal loss, birth trauma and difficulties with postpartum adjustments. Please feel free to reach out anytime.

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