Stress and its role in infertility

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How Stress Affects Your Fertility and What You Can Do About It

If you are trying to conceive, you may have heard that stress can affect your fertility. But how does stress impact your reproductive function, and what can you do to reduce it? In this blog post, we will explore the link between stress and infertility, and share some tips on how to cope with the emotional challenges of infertility.

What is stress and how does it affect your body?

Stress is a natural response to any demand or challenge that you face in life. It can be positive or negative, depending on how you perceive and cope with it. Stress can help you perform better, adapt to change, and overcome difficulties. However, too much stress or chronic stress can have negative effects on your physical and mental health.

When you are stressed, your body releases hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline, which prepare you to fight or flee from the stressful situation. These hormones affect various systems in your body, including your immune system, cardiovascular system, digestive system, and nervous system. They also affect your endocrine system, which regulates your hormones and reproductive function.

How does stress affect your fertility?

The exact relationship between stress and fertility is not fully understood, but there is growing evidence that stress can interfere with your ability to conceive. Some of the possible mechanisms are:

– Stress can disrupt your menstrual cycle and ovulation, making it harder to predict your fertile window and time intercourse accordingly.
– Stress can affect the quality and quantity of your eggs and the development of your follicles, which are the sacs that contain the eggs in your ovaries.
– Stress can impair the implantation of the fertilized egg in your uterus, or increase the risk of miscarriage.
– Stress can reduce the blood flow to your reproductive organs, affecting their function and health.
– Stress can lower your libido and sexual satisfaction, making sex less enjoyable and less frequent.
– Stress can affect your partner’s sperm quality and quantity, as well as his libido and sexual performance.

Research has shown that women with infertility have the same levels of anxiety and depression as women with cancer, heart disease, and HIV¹. Anxiety and depression can also prolong the time needed to achieve pregnancy and decrease the success rate of assisted reproductive technologies (ART) such as in vitro fertilization (IVF)².

How can you cope with the stress of infertility?

Infertility can be a very stressful and isolating experience, affecting your self-esteem, your relationship with your partner, your family and friends, your work, and your finances. However, there are some strategies that can help you cope with the stress of infertility and improve your well-being.

Here are some suggestions:

  • Learn as much as you can about your condition and your treatment options. Knowledge can empower you and help you make informed decisions. Ask your doctor any questions you have and seek reliable sources of information.
  • Communicate with your partner about your feelings and needs, and support each other. Infertility can affect both of you differently, so try to understand and respect your partner’s perspective and coping style. Talk about your expectations, fears, hopes, and plans. Keep your intimacy and romance alive, and find ways to have fun together.
  • Seek professional help if you feel overwhelmed, depressed, or anxious. A counselor, therapist, or psychologist can help you deal with the emotional and psychological aspects of infertility, and teach you coping skills and relaxation techniques. You may also benefit from medication, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety drugs, if prescribed by your doctor.
  • Join a support group or an online community of people who are going through the same situation. Sharing your experiences, feelings, and tips with others who understand what you are going through can help you feel less alone and more hopeful. You can also learn from their stories and get practical advice.
  • Practice self-care and healthy habits. Take care of your physical and mental health by eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and avoiding smoking, alcohol, and drugs. Find activities that make you happy and relaxed, such as reading, listening to music, gardening, or meditating. Treat yourself to a massage, a spa, or a vacation. Do something that gives you a sense of purpose and fulfillment, such as volunteering, learning a new skill, or pursuing a hobby.
  • Seek help from your family and friends. Let them know how they can support you and what you need from them. You can also set boundaries and limit your exposure to situations that trigger your stress, such as baby showers, pregnancy announcements, or insensitive comments. Remember that you are not alone, and that there are people who care about you and want to help you.


Stress and infertility can have a complex and bidirectional relationship, affecting each other in various ways. However, stress does not have to be a barrier to your fertility. By learning how to cope with the stress of infertility, you can improve your chances of conceiving and enhance your quality of life.



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