How can reducing stress improve fertility?

Reducing stress can improve fertility because stress hormones have a lot to do with fertility. Stress plays a big role in the emotional aspects of infertility. Sometimes when women finally relax after they've been fighting the battle of their fertility, unexpectedly they end up pregnant.

Dealing with infertility can create a great deal of stress and frustration. Thus, it is important that you keep the following in mind:

  • Be prepared to experience many unfamiliar and uncomfortable feelings. Understand that psychological reactions to infertility are very real and related to the stress of diagnosis, treatment and lack of pregnancy. Experiencing infertility can be overwhelming. So can treatment.
  • Understand that men and women cope with stress and infertility differently. While a woman is physically and emotionally dealing with the effects of treatment, her outlets may involve many people. She may want to talk a lot about her experiences with her partner or others who will listen. Men, on the other hand, may be less likely to express their emotions outwardly, despite their deep concern for and commitment to their partner. This may be perceived as being emotionally and physically distant.
  • Know that marriages and relationships will either be strengthened or pulled apart by infertility treatment. What happens depends on your relationship prior to treatment. Are you able to discuss intimate feelings? Do you have a good marriage? A good sex life? Are you a cohesive unit as a couple?
  • Realize that infertility and its wide range of treatment options can be overwhelming. There are many complicated issues, such as preserving embryos by freezing them for future use, adoption, donor eggs, surrogacy, multiple pregnancy and fetal reduction, in which a woman carrying multiple embryos is induced to miscarry one or more. Educating yourself and your partner as much as possible about treatment options makes it less likely you'll be overwhelmed.
  • Understand that treatment may not be successful. It's typical for couples at the beginning of treatment to do whatever it takes to achieve a pregnancy. Eventually, however, some realize that emotionally and financially, there is a limit.
  • Before deciding to pursue a different course, like adoption or remaining childless, you must resolve your issues around your infertility. You must explore your options and decide what you are willing to do. This means getting to the point where you both can grieve and put closure to the fact that as a couple you are not going to be able to have a biological child.

What seems clear from many studies is that removing the stress, or learning to better cope with it, has a positive impact on fertility. For example, recent reports on the efficacy of teaching women how to elicit a relaxation response to previously upsetting situations using mind/body techniques support the notion that thoughts influence the body’s physiology. Stress is typically not the sole cause of infertility. But it is an irrefutable contributor to fertility problems in many cases.

The contents of this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Nor does the contents of this website constitute the establishment of a physician patient or therapeutic relationship. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.